On Wednesday I posted about principal Daphne Beasley of Hollis F. Price Middle College High School in South Memphis, who outed two gay students who were in a relationship to their parents and to other students at the school via a publicly posted list of students who were involved romantically.
As a result of Beasley's actions, the gay students have been the target of verbal harassment and even discrimination from teachers. The ACLU sent a letter to Memphis City Schools, demanding they reprimand Beasley, and compensate and apologize to the two students whom Beasley outed. The ACLU says Beasley violated the students' constitutional rights to equal protection, freedom of expression and association, due process and privacy.
Well, Memphis City Schools responded today via a statement, and they claim that Beasley did nothing wrong and that what she did helped to facilitate “a safe, nurturing and disciplined learning climate.” The schools claim that Beasley “did not list any information other than students' names on her personal call list, and she certainly did not specify the sexual orientation of any student. Additionally, the list was never posted publicly anywhere at the school.”
Well, according to the ACLU, “Beasley hung the list up on the wall of her office, in plain view of teachers and other students.”
Read the statement from Memphis City Schools, AFTER THE JUMP…
***MEMPHIS CITY SCHOOLS STATEMENT in response to outing of gay students***
“Memphis City Schools is committed to providing its students with the best possible learning environment. Hollis F. Price Middle College is an accelerated high school, which is located on the historically black LeMoyne-Owen College campus. Eligible students may enroll in college classes in pursuit of completing the first two years of college while attending this high school.
Because we have high school students on a college campus, we have to carefully monitor the activities of our students. We are at all times proactive in assuring that our students are provided a safe, nurturing and disciplined learning climate. Unfortunately, in fall 2007, we received numerous complaints from LeMoyne-Owen College faculty and staff that some of our student couples were involved in explicit sexual behavior in public view on the college campus.
In light of this information from LeMoyne-Owen faculty and staff, the principal of Hollis F. Price made several general announcements to the student body that this behavior would not be tolerated. Regrettably, the improper behavior continued. Therefore, the principal felt it appropriate to notify the parents of those children she knew to be involved romantically. This was done in an effort to gain the support of the parents in reinforcing the message that such behavior is in violation of Memphis City Schools' Student Code of Conduct. The principal did not list any information other than students' names on her personal call list, and she certainly did not specify the sexual orientation of any student. Additionally, the list was never posted publicly anywhere at the school.
It is the position of Memphis City Schools that the principal did act in an appropriate manner in order to correct a serious issue at the school and that Memphis City Schools has not subjected either of these students to discriminatory treatment.
In the coming days, we will submit a formal response to the ACLU. We look forward to working with them to amicably resolve this matter.”
***END OF STATEMENT***