An Oregon school is accused of punishing an LGBTQ kid by making him or her read passages from the Bible, as well as retaliating against another LGBTQ student when he or she complained of harassment, the Oregonian is reporting.
The allegations against the North Bend School District came to light when local newspaper the Coos Bay World learned of a letter sent March 6 to North Bend School District Superintendent Bill Yester. The letter, from the Oregon Department of Education (ODE), says that the Department confirmed that a student was made to read passages from the Bible as punishment.
It is not clear when the punishment took place, nor what the student’s alleged infraction was. An unnamed school administrator carried out the punishment.
According to the Coos Bay World, the administrator had at first denied carrying out the punishment. However, the administrator later admitted to it when interviewed by the ODE. What’s more, the administrator’s own supervisor confirmed that the punishment took place as described.
The district’s alleged hostility to LGBTQ kids extends even further than just the forced Bible-reading incident, the letter claims.
According to CNN, the district also failed to protect LGBTQ kids from bullying. For example, in one incident, a student says she was hit in the head with a skateboard by another student who made homophobic comments. When the victim complained, the school resource officer allegedly said that homosexuality was a “choice,” and violated the officer’s personal religious beliefs. And in a classroom, a teacher allegedly said that gay marriage is “the same thing” as marrying a dog.
— KEZI 9 NEWS (@KEZI9) May 12, 2018
“There is substantial evidence to support the allegation that the district subjected LGBTQ students to separate or different rules of behavior, sanctions, or other treatment.”
The school district was ordered to hold a mediation session with the victimized students to come to an agreement moving forward. The sides failed to reach an agreement, and the school district will instead go before the ODE on May 24 to determine if the district complied with state anti-discrimination laws.
Speaking to KEZI-TV, North Bend High School student Brittany Vickoren said that the anti-LGBTQ problem isn’t school-wide — it’s a select few students and teachers.
“There are teachers and there are staff that have chosen to take a different approach to things, like discriminate against students, and do different things, and ignore students when they have come with complaints. Of course it’s not every single person and it’s not just one person.”
In a tweet, the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) said that it is involved in this case, calling it “blatantly un-Constitutional.”