Here's what happened.
When several students at Sequoyah High School in Madisonville, Tennessee tried to start a Gay-Straight Alliance club after years of bullying, their principal said no. When the students circulated a petition and gathered 150 student signatures supporting the club, the principal banned petitions. When this brought local media scrutiny and the attention of the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), the administration blocked the club based on its failure to secure an advisor. Although the students found teachers who seemed supportive and willing to serve as advisers, all eventually withdrew without explanation.
Now, according to the ACLU, Principal Moser has allegedly assaulted one student, Chris Sigler, for wearing a handmade shirt that read “GSA: We’ve got your back” – grabbing his arm and chest-bumping him while asking “Who’s the big man now?”
Despite the complaint filed by Chris and his mother, the Sheriff’s Department has failed to interview his sister, who witnessed the alleged assault, or his mother, who witnessed additional behavior from the principal.
And the students at Sequoyah High don't have a GSA. Yet.
Want to help?
You can sign a joint petition by the Tennessee Equality Project and Gay-Straight Alliance Network’s Make It Better Project that demands
that the Sheriff’s Department fully investigate this incident, and further, that Monroe County Schools approve the GSA, state that teachers who agree to advise the GSA will not face repercussions (as demanded by the TN ACLU), and address the hostile environment that LGBTQ students face at Sequoyah.
You can also send a letter to Director of Schools Mike Lowry from the ACLU website - and customize it with your own words. (My own take on that: be courteous but firm.)
You can find out more here at the ACLU site and sign the petition here at change.org.
This is a great reminder of how we have to stand up for others... and let's help the GLBTQ and Allied students at Sequoyah High School get a GSA and feel safer!