An LGBT high school student bullied by her peers was told by the school police officer she was going to hell for being gay.
North Bend High School, a small rural high school in Oregon, is under fire after multiple reports of abuse and discrimination against LGBT students.
Previously Progressive Secular Humanist reported that the North Bend School District, located about 200 miles south of Portland, is facing serious discrimination charges, including allegations that at least one LGBT students was forced to read the Bible as punishment, as well as allegations that LGBT students were subject to “separate or different rules of behavior, sanctions, or other treatment.”
Now another student is telling here story of harassment and abuse from religious conservatives, both students and staff, at her public high school.
Writing for the ACLU, Liv Funk tells her story of physical and emotional abuse while attending her public high school. Funk describes a culture a bigotry and homophobia, where homophobic slurs were tolerated by classmates and staff.
Funk describes one particularly disturbing incident:
My girlfriend and I were walking to her car. The principal’s son was in his car and accelerated very close to us, yelling “faggot” out the window as he drove away.
Funk reports the principal failed to take action after his son’s abusive behavior on campus, and that the harassment only got worse, writing:
I went to the principal a few times that year, but he never did anything. And then more physical stuff started happening.
Funk reports that at one point another student hit her with a skateboard:
Two boys were on the path yelling slurs, and I told them they were being offensive. I told them I was gay and had a girlfriend and that they may not want to say that.
One of them said, “Well, I fucking hate homos,” and then he whacked my ankle with his skateboard. I reached out to stop him from hitting me again, but he grabbed his skateboard again and smashed my right hand.
My hand hurt so bad and swelled up like a balloon. Eventually, my mom had to take me to the doctor.
He said that if I’m going to be an open member of the LGBT community that I should prepare for things like this. The officer said that being gay was a choice, and it was against his religion. He said that he had homosexual friends, but because I was an open homosexual, I was going to hell.
As previously reported, the Oregon Department of Education (ODE) recently sent a letter to North Bend School District Superintendent Bill Yester expressing their concerns about the multiple reports from LGBT students who say the school’s administration did nothing to intervene during incidents of bullying and harassment. The letter from the ODE states:
There is substantial evidence to support the allegation that the district subjected LGBTQ students to separate or different rules of behavior, sanctions, or other treatment…
In conclusion, the department finds that discrimination on the basis of sex and sexual orientation may have occurred.
The district faces a special administrative hearing in North Bend on the matter Thursday, May 24.
As for Funk, she concludes her post for the ACLU on an upbeat, positive note, writing:
I’m graduating now, but I still want systemic change at North Bend High School. I want what happened at North Bend to remind the country that public schools should be safe places for students in every way. If you are being discriminated against by staff or students at any public school, or anywhere, I want you to know that what’s happening is not ok and you’re not alone.
You are not weird. You are not sick. You are not a problem. You are loved. You have the right to learn, flourish, and be accepted for who you are.
Bottom line: A young gay woman and other gay students were bullied and harassed at their rural Oregon public high school by both students and staff, with the school police officer telling the young lesbian she would be going to hell because she is gay.