Skip to comments.HS Lesbian Sues Over Locker Ban
Posted on 12/18/2002 6:23:47 AM PST by Lorenb420Edited on 05/26/2004 5:10:44 PM PDT by Jim Robinson. [history]
December 18, 2002 -- LOS ANGELES - A 15-year-old student who was banned from the girl's locker room at her school because she is a lesbian filed a federal civil-rights lawsuit yesterday in a case that tests the rights of gay students.
(Excerpt) Read more at nypost.com ...
"Ashly Massey claims she was "humiliated and denigrated" when she was barred from gym class for more than a week and sent instead to the principal's office by administrators at Coombs MS in Banning, Calif. They claimed that other girls would be uncomfortable getting undressed in front of her."There's a world of difference between what "would" happen and what "did" happen, is there not?
This, of course, puts the responsibility of whatever disease or malady may arise squarely on the one making the choice, where "sexual orientation" leaves enough wiggle room for the queer to say "Oh, I couldn't help getting AIDS from having sex with other men, because it's my orientation...I was born that way". It also allows this little girl the wiggle room to claim she's some kind of special class of citizen, and therefore entitled to protection from the mean straight girls who pick on her in the locker room, or whatever she's alleging. On a broader scale, it gives queers throughout our society the wiggle room to push for "gay" marriages, spousal rights, adoptions, inclusion in "hate crimes" laws, and protected class status.
Finally, I know it pi**es queers off to use the term "sexual preference", so that's reason enough for me to say it.
Yes, words mean things. The Left is using the Orwellian Newspeak tactic of changing the language in an attempt to remove thoughts, concepts and philosophies they don't agree with from our collective psyche, and to advance their agendas. This is but one example, but there are many, many more (how many TV ads mention the word "Christmas" versus those that wish you "Happy Holidays"?). To allow the Left to set the terms of the debate is to participate in the degradation and eventual downfall of our society. It may be a losing battle, but one worth fighting nonetheless.
Sorry, didn't mean to lecture. I get carried away some times (damn this addictive forum!)...
Scouts out! Cavalry Ho!
Exactly. People, conservatives especially, seem to throw up their arms in disgust whenever they hear about the massive sense of entitlement today's children seem to have. But is it any wonder that they do, especially when conservative parents are teaching their kids that discomfort is equal to an actionable offense?
I would venture to say there is much more to this story than is being told in the article. I have a friend in the neighboring school district. I'll contact him and see if he knows anything more.
Sophistry. We are discussing sexual attraction, not race. It is a favourite tactic of the homosexual lobby to equate the two.
I have a call in to my friend...school is in session so he won't be able to get back to me til later.
I have a call in to my friend...school is in session so he won't be able to get back to me til later.
It is not an actionable offense. I would say however if these girls are going to possibly put into a "peep show" situation, it is better to ask their opinion rather than tell them what they must do from on high.
It's all a part of growing up, is it not? There are some things that just are, and we've got to learn to get used to them. Getting used to them and taking them for what they are makes us stronger.
That would be interesting. Thank you for your efforts.
The girls parents pay for the school to operate. So basically, in your world, they have no say in how that school runs, even though it is running off of the parents' dime. You, as the central authority have made the decision for the girls as to what is good for them or not without their consent or consultation.
I wonder if it can be said in light of this that in the chest of every libertarian beats the heart of a statist?
No, my concern is with the fact that public schools should place a higher premium on keeping teenagers from being in sexual situations on school premises than on keeping teenagers from being uncomfortable. A homosexual female in a room full of homosexuals is a lot more likely to be involved in a sexual situation than a homesexual female in a room full of heterosexuals.
And off-topic, I generally find that anyone arrogant enough to use a blowhard term like "just telling it like it is" is doing anything but...
Lesbian sues school over locker room ban
19 December 2002
LOS ANGELES: A 15-year-old California student, who was banned from the girl's locker room at her school because she is a lesbian, has filed a federal civil rights lawsuit in a case that tests the rights of gay students.
Ashly Massey claims she was "humiliated and denigrated" when she was barred from gym class for more than a week and sent instead to the principal's office by administrators at Coombs Middle School in Banning, California, who said that other girls would be uncomfortable getting undressed in front of her.
"It's fine if they're uncomfortable but it's still discrimination," Massey said in an interview yesterday. "I have an equal right to be in the locker room. I didn't do anything wrong."
She said word quickly spread around the school that she had been sent to the office because of her sexual orientation, which lead to harassment from fellow students. Banning is a city of about 25,000 people located 144km east of Los Angeles in the California desert.
"I felt alienated, said Massey, who was 14 at the time of the incident.
The case highlights the tightrope schools must walk in an era of sexual openness, as they must protect both the rights of gay students and their heterosexual classmates, who could raise issues of privacy or sexual harassment.
The teenager, who is represented in her US District Court lawsuit by lawyers for the American Civil Liberties Union and National Centre for Lesbian Rights, seeks unspecified compensatory and punitive damages against the Banning Unified School District.
Her lawsuit also names as defendants her former gym teacher, Karen Gill, Principal Manuel Peredia, Vice Principal Kirby Dabney and Banning Unified School District superintendent
Kathleen McNamara. Besides monetary damages, she seeks training courses to fight discrimination in the district.
McNamara and a spokesman for Coombs Middle School declined comment on the lawsuit.
Massey said the trouble began when a friend shouted in the locker room that she was a lesbian, leading to a reprimand from Gill and a phone call from the gym teacher to her mother. The next day, Massey said, she was sent to the principal's office instead of gym, a pattern repeated each day for the next week and a half.
Massey said she was never told why she was sitting in the principal's office and that her mother was not told of the decision. She said she agreed to file the lawsuit despite concerns that it could lead to more harassment.
"I'm a little nervous but I think that this is a good opportunity for people like me, whether they are gay, straight or transgender, to be able to stand up for what's happening to them," she said. "This goes on all over."
Massey's mother, Amelia, said she and her daughter decided to proceed with the lawsuit after taking into consideration all of the possible ramifications.
"She was made out to be a public spectacle," Amelia Massey, a registered nurse, said. "She feels strongly about who she is and feels strongly that she should take this stand. This is the rest of her life. You can't just put your head down."
District hit with bias lawsuit
Lesbian teen says she spent gym period in principal's office after Banning teacher learned she was gay
By SHARYN OBSATZ and STEVE FETBRANDT
BANNING - A teacher kicked an eighth-grader out of gym class after finding out the girl was a lesbian, according to a discrimination lawsuit filed Tuesday against the Banning Unified School District.
The American Civil Liberties Union and the National Center for Lesbian Rights allege that Coombs Middle School staff violated the state and U.S. constitutional rights of the student, Ashly Massey, who confirmed she is a lesbian. The case is tied to a 2000 state law that bars public schools from discrimination based on sexual orientation.
District Superintendent Kathleen McNamara declined to comment on the lawsuit.
Lawyers and gay advocates said they have never heard of another case of a student being excluded from class because of sexual orientation.
For a week and a half in March, Ashly said in an interview, she was ordered to sit in the principal's office during her gym period. Other students noticed her, she said.
"They didn't point and laugh, (but) that's how I felt. It wasn't right. I didn't appreciate it," she said.
Ashly dropped the gym class when her school schedule was shortened so she could participate in a medical research program. The change was planned before the alleged exclusion.
Ashly, now 15 and a high school student in the neighboring Beaumont district, said she hopes the lawsuit prevents someone else from going through the same thing.
The lawsuit, filed in U.S. District Court in Riverside, also names McNamara; Coombs Middle School Principal Manuel Peredia; Kirby Dabney, then dean of student services; and gym teacher Karen Gill.
Gill, Peredia and Dabney could not be reached for comment.
Coombs Middle School Dean of Students Bryan James said the school was aware of the allegation.
"We don't know this to be true, but if it is true, it's wrong," said James, who came to the school in August, five months after the alleged exclusion.
Ashly said only a few friends knew she was a lesbian. But one day, she said, Gill overheard a student say Ashly was a lesbian. Ashly said she was told by the teacher: "Nobody needs to know that."
That night, the lawsuit said, the teacher called Ashly's mother, Amelia, and said some of the students felt uncomfortable with Ashly being in the locker room.
Ashly's mother asked whether Ashly had ever acted inappropriately, the suit said. The teacher said, "No," and agreed to call if there were any problems. She did not call again, the suit said.
The next day, according to the suit, the teacher told Ashly to report to the principal's office instead of gym class.
Ashly's mother came to school to discuss the schedule change and found out her daughter had been sitting in the principal's office during gym period for a week and a half, the suit said. She was told the principal had decided to bar Ashly from attending gym, the suit alleges.
Amelia Massey compares sending her daughter to the principal's office to the days when black children were sent to the back of the bus.
The school might be justifed in excluding a student to protect the health and safety of other students, San Jacinto pastor Larry Ammon said.
"Is she going to hit on some other girl in the shower?" he asked. Ammon, pastor at the Life Change Fellowship church, said he opposes tolerance of homosexuality in public schools.
But Lindsey Alarcon, 17, a member of the Gay-Straight Alliance at La Sierra High School in Riverside, said Ashly had a right to be in gym class.
Jonathan Gaag, a gay senior at La Quinta High School, believes part of the problem is misinformation.
Most gay students hide their sexual orientation from others, Jonathan, 17, said. The last thing they want is to draw attention to themselves.
"There would be no chance I would ever hit on someone in a locker room," he said.
Statistics suggest that most gym classes have at least one gay student, said Courtney Joslin, the National Center for Lesbian Rights attorney pursuing Ashly's case.
"The only thing that's unusual is the school's response," she said.
Rick Smedstad, executive director of the Gay-Associated Youth Center in Palm Desert, said he had never heard of a case like Ashly's.
He has heard complaints that teachers and school staff turn a blind eye to harassment of gay students by other students.
About 78 percent of teens report that kids who are gay or thought to be gay are teased and bullied in their schools and communities, according to a new National Mental Health Association survey.
Some gay students encounter trouble in gym class because a student is harassing them but the school still makes them attend, said Will Northwest, a gay community college student from San Bernardino.
Ashly's attorneys hope to enforce California's Student Safety and Violence Prevention Act, which expanded public school discrimination prohibitions to include sexual orientation.
ACLU attorney Martha Matthews said the lawsuit seeks monetary damages for the humiliation Ashly endured.
The lawsuit also seeks anti-discrimination training for staff, teachers and students in the Banning Unified School District. It calls for the district to report discrimination and harassment complaints.
"It's hard for me to imagine how anyone could think it was OK to do this to a child," Matthews said.
Staff writer Linda Lou contributed to this report.
Reach Sharyn Obsatz at (909) 368-9458 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Reach Steve Fetbrandt at (909) 849-9872 or email@example.com
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