The Southern Poverty Law Center filed suit in federal court today to stop pervasive anti-LGBT bullying and harassment committed by students – and even faculty members and administrators – within the schools of Mississippi’s Moss Point School District.
The lawsuit was filed on behalf of Destin Holmes, a district student who endured such severe harassment she was eventually driven out of school. She temporarily left the district in March 2012 to be homeschooled after the then-principal at Magnolia Junior High School called her a “pathetic fool” and told her, “I don’t want a dyke in this school.”
The principal. Not a classmate, but the principal. One who is supposed to have a fully developed prefrontal cortex, and thus supposed to be able to control sadistic impulses. (Also, one would think it would be part of the job description, however implicitly. “Calling the students names? Right out.”)
During her time at Magnolia Junior High School, students and district staff called Destin slurs such as “it,” “freak” and “he-she.” Destin heard such insults as many as 20 times a day. She also was denied access to the girls’ restroom by a teacher. Another teacher even refused to allow her to participate in a classroom activity where teams were divided by gender because Destin – according to the teacher – was an “in-between it.”
The lawsuit describes how Destin and other students perceived as LGBT were subjected to anti-LGBT slurs on a daily basis and were physically threatened or attacked by peers. While many of these abuses occurred in front of teachers or were reported to school officials, school personnel did little to stop the abuse.
The harassment took a severe toll on Destin. Even after she threatened suicide, school officials failed to take appropriate action. When a social worker providing mental health services for Destin met with the then-principal about the need to stop the harassment, the principal said he wouldn’t follow the social worker’s suggestions because “when you are in my school, you follow my lead since I allow you to be here.”
That principal seems to be confused. He seems to think he’s a dictator rather than a junior high school principal. Junion high principals don’t have as much arbitrary power as dictators have. This junior high principal doesn’t seem to know that.
Destin talks about it.