HRC Calls on Tennessee School District to Take Action against Anti-LGBT Principal

by HRC Staff

Haywood High School Principal Reportedly Told Lesbian Student She Was Going to Hell


Washington– The Human Rights Campaign – the nation’s largest lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) civil rights organization – is calling on the Haywood County School Board to immediately look into reports that Haywood High School principal Dorothy Bond has made a number of offensive anti-LGBT statements, including telling a lesbian student she was going to hell because of her sexual orientation.

HRC launched a petition this morning calling on members and supporters to speak out against the incident, and within the first four hours the action garnered 5,000 signatures.

“All students should feel safe and welcome in their schools – and they should be able to trust the school officials whose job it is to ensure their well-being,” said HRC President Joe Solmonese. “It’s shocking and unacceptable that someone charged with running a school would tell LGBT students that they were going to hell or had any less worth than their straight classmates. Tennessee already has a legislative environment that promotes outright hostility to LGBT people – to see it occurring in the state’s public school system is deeply troubling. The Haywood County School Board must look into this immediately.”

According to the ACLU-Tennessee, multiple complaints came in following a February 9 assembly during which Bond reportedly said LGBT students were “ruining their lives” while discussing the school’s public display of affection policy. Other reports indicate this isn’t the first time Bond has extolled anti-LGBT sentiment – one parent told a local media outlet that Bond once said any boy who had his hair braided must be gay.

This also is not the first anti-LGBT incident in a Tennessee school this year. In the fall, the principal at Sequoyah High School in Madisonville shoved a straight ally student who was advocating for the formation of a gay-straight alliance in the school. Faculty members at the school had been intimidated against sponsoring the club, thus obstructing its formation. And the legislative environment is equally troubling – from a “Don’t Say Gay” bill that would essentially ban acknowledgement of LGBT people in schools, to a failed discriminatory bathroom bill that blatantly singled out transgender people, to a law passed last year that prevents municipalities from having non-discrimination protections that are stricter than those at the state level. Tennessee’s non-discrimination protections do not include sexual orientation or gender identity.  

The Human Rights Campaign is America’s largest civil rights organization working to achieve lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender equality. By inspiring and engaging all Americans, HRC strives to end discrimination against LGBT citizens and realize a nation that achieves fundamental fairness and equality for all.

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