The Memphis High School Senior Who Appealed to Bring His Same-Sex Date to Homecoming Has Now Been Suspended

The Memphis High School Senior Who Appealed to Bring His Same-Sex Date to Homecoming Has Now Been Suspended September 28, 2015
Lance, personal photo. (Originally found on petition.)

Late last week I wrote about Lance Sanderson, a gay high school senior from Memphis who was being prohibited from bringing a date to his homecoming dance.

Despite fairly wide coverage of this, both locally and to some degree nationally—as well as much direct appeal to the school to allow this, inspired by Lance’s petition—unfortunately he ultimately wasn’t allowed to attend, however.

As I pointed out in my previous post, a crucial point to remember with all this is that Lance attends a Catholic high school; and as such the school admins not only have the legal right to dictate “acceptable” behavior at all official school events, but are also bound to the norms and rules of the larger Catholic educational body of which the high school is a part.

(Of course, I reiterated that I think that this sort of discrimination is highly unethical, even considering these factors; and despite the unfortunate situation, I see this as a good opportunity to call greater attention to the wider issue of religiously-motivated discrimination.)

That being said, though: in a Facebook post, Lance has now written that “I went to school this morning and was told to stay home for the rest of the week.”

This seems to introduce a somewhat new element into things. Now, I’m uncertain as to the exact trajectory of events here; and I suppose that in the course of the media spotlight on Lance, he could have said or done something that was more clearly in violation of the school’s rules, and that this is what warranted the suspension. However, I can’t help but wonder if there are blurred lines here—that the school’s decision was motivated by the negative media attention in general.

[Edit:] I’ve now written a new post that gets into the issue of what we might done about all this, despite the limited options here in light of the fact that Lance attends a private Catholic school: So You Don’t Like the Catholic Approach to Homosexuality; Now What?

[Update:] A slightly more detailed explanation from Lance himself:

Today I arrived at school around 6:30am. I sat down to complete my assignments for the classes I planned on attending today. At 7:30am, I was speaking to a teacher when an administrator walked into the room and told me to gather my books and come to the office. When I arrived at the office I was told that the administration “had 890 other students to worry about” and could not deal with me. I was told to go home for the week.

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