Good News: An Oregon high school police officer and principal have been fired for anti-LGBT discrimination, including telling gay students they were going to hell, and forcing them to read the Bible as punishment for being gay.
Willamette Week reports:
North Bend High School principal Bill Lucero and school resource officer Jason Griggs are being removed from their jobs in the district’s settlement with the American Civil Liberties Union of Oregon. The firings come after complaints from former and current students, including Liv Funk and Hailey Smith, about suffering anti-LGBTQ harassment and discrimination from classmates and administration.
North Bend High School, a small rural high school in Oregon, has been under fire since multiple reports of abuse and discrimination against LGBT students surfaced earlier this year.
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.”
In addition, after another LGBT high school student who was bullied by her peers reported the misconduct to Jason Griggs, the school police officer, Griggs refused to act on the complaint, and instead lectured the student on the evils of homosexuality, telling the gay student she was going to hell for being gay.
More on the toxic environment at North Bend High School via Vice:
When Liv Funk and Hailey Smith, two female students at North Bend High School in Coos County, began dating, they started to face discrimination — and even threats to their safety — from students and staff alike. For example, one teacher equated homosexuality with bestiality, and the school’s police officer told the young couple they were going to hell.
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 that North Bend High School principal Bill Lucerol 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…
Commenting on the story, Mat dos Santos, legal director at the ACLU of Oregon, said that the action should send a clear message to everyone in the North Bend School District:
If you break the law by discriminating against LGBTQ students or engaging in religious proselytization at school, there are serious consequences.
Bottom line: This is good news. It is always wrong when adults use their authority to bully and discriminate against kids, and there is nothing more despicable than government employees at a public school forcing their ignorant and harmful religious superstitions on students simply trying to get an education.