It appears that a principal at Ponce de Leon High School felt that he had made an important discovery himself in Florida. Principal David Davis was shocked when a student came to him about being harassed about being a lesbian. It was not the harassment but the lesbian part that shocked Davis who immediately lectured the girl on her immoral lifestyle, told her to stay away from children, and then outed her to her parents.
Davis’ outrageous treatment of the girl, known only as Jane Doe, prompted a quiet protest from other students. Showing far more sense and compassion than the school, the students became to well gay pride symbols in solidarity. Davis responded by allegedly questioning the sexuality of the other students and suspending some of them.
The American Civil Liberties Union successfully sued the district and Davis was demoted. What is most alarming is that you cannot be fired for engaging in raw discrimination and harassment on the basis of sexual orientation — not to mention interjecting your own religious views into a school setting.
The result makes more sense when you read the response of Steve Griffin, Holmes County’s school superintendent: “We are a small, rural district in the Bible Belt with strong Christian beliefs and feel like homosexuality is wrong.” Griffin always keeps a bible on his desk and has framed Scriptures in his office to greet students and parents who want to speak with him. Given his boss, it is curious that Davis wasn’t promoted over the incident.
Due to the leadership of Griffin and Davis, the small school district will pay not just $325,000 in fees but its own legal costs and fees. Notably, the school district fought the case, seeking to establish that this was not a violation of the rights of these students. It appears that Griffin does not have a copy of the Constitution featured on his wall.
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