In Memphis, Tenn., people are shaking their heads over the decision of Daphne Beasley, the principal of Hollis F. Price Middle College High School in South Memphis, who published the names of gay students who were “couples” on a list with heterosexual couples. The result was to “out” the students — a potentially dangerous course.
Beasley was apparently obsesses with public displays of affection and demanded that her staff put together a list of “couples,” which she then put in an area where both teachers and students could read it. One couple was composed of two boys, Andrew and Nicholas, who had just started dating.
Nicholas has complained about being singled out by students due to the listing. The result is that Beasley appears to be more concerned with public displays of affection than public displays of alienation . . . or more likely public beatings. How exactly do we find these people to teach our children? Given the recent beatings of gay and lesbian student, click here, Beasley’s action was both reckless and ridiculous. It is like the list that gossipy teens put together in sleep-overs. Yet, when posted, it becomes a virtual hit list for homophobic bullies.
Both constitutional and tort actions are possible here on the basis of privacy and negligence (as well as the negligent infliction of emotional distress). Hopefully, the boys will file and create a deterrent for other hopelessly clueless educators.
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