Principal Fired At Oregon High School For Anti-LGBT Discrimination

LGBT students were allegedly made to read Bible passages, and were subjected to physical and verbal harassment the school did nothing to stop.

The principal of an Oregon high school has been fired in response to anti-LGBT discrimination. The firing comes as part of a settlement with the American Civil Liberties Union of Oregon, representing two female students alleging abuse by staff and students.

Additionally, the school will be required to work with the ACLU to implement training and policies aimed at preventing future discrimination. This includes creating a “Diversity and Inclusion Committee,” to celebrate Coming Out Day and Ally Week at the school, and issue an annual diversity award.

The school will also have to ask the North Bend Police Department to remove Jason Griggs as the school’s police officer, due to his alleged role in helping to create an unsafe learning environment for minority students.

North Bend High School seniors Liv Funk and Hailey Smith, as well as other current and former students, reported a pattern of harassment from students and faculty directed at LGBT students taking place over several years.

Last month, the Oregon Department of Education launched an investigation into the school’s possible anti-discrimination law violations, including making students read from the Bible as punishment. The district will remain under Oregon Department of Education supervision for five years, according to the ACLU.

Funk and Smith outline the abuse they allegedly suffered, including verbal and physical harassment that went ignored by administrators, in articles published on the ACLU’s website.

Smith writes that when she told the now-terminated principal, Bill Lucero, her civics teacher “called me out in front of the whole class and said same-sex marriage was ’pretty much the same thing’ as marrying a dog, the principal told me ’everybody has the right to their own opinion.'”

“The next day, the teacher apologized, but as I walked away, he said ’don’t go marrying your dog,'” she adds.

Funk alleges that she had been attacked by two fellow classmates outside of school, who made anti-gay comments before hitting her twice with a skateboard.

She says when she went to Griggs to report the incident, he told her she should expect to be attacked as a member of the LGBT community and that being gay was a choice. Griggs also is said to have told her being gay was against his religion, and that she was going to hell.

Funk and Smith further allege that the principal’s son sped his car toward the pair, who were dating at the time, as they stood together in the school’s parking lot.

“We thought he was going to hit us,” writes Smith. “Instead, he drove right up next to us, yelled out ’faggot!’ and veered away. It was terrifying.”

“At that moment, it just kind of switched something in me,” she continues. “I realized that discrimination and people’s opinions here are really so strong that somebody could get hurt. I could get hurt just for being myself.”

When the school again failed to take action, Funk and Smith sought legal aide.

“This is a tremendous achievement for our clients and all the current and future students of North Bend,” said Mat dos Santos, legal director at the ACLU of Oregon. “It sends a clear message to everyone at the district: If you break the law by discriminating against LGBTQ students or engaging in religious proselytization at school, there are serious consequences.”

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