Lesbian teen sues school after being suspended for pro-gay activism

A 16-year-old US student was banned from participating in the National Day Of Silence, aiming to combat homophobic bullying

Lesbian teen sues school after being suspended for pro-gay activism
27 February 2013

A lesbian teen is suing a Florida school district for suspending her for participating in an event raising awareness of LGBT bullying.

Last April, Amber Hatcher, 16, requested to participate in the National Day of Silence, a gay and lesbian supporters education network (GLSEN) sponsored event.

On a day every April, students remain quiet for the entire day to raise awareness of homophobic bullying and harassment.

Nearly a month before the event, the teen asked for permission from her principal Shannon Fusco who threatened Hatcher with ‘ramifications’ if she participated.

Hatcher then approached the county school superintendent Adrian Cline, who refused to meet with her and supported the principal on her decision.

Lambda Legal, representing the teen, sent a letter reminding the school all teens had a constitutional right to observe the National Day of Silence.

Ignoring the letter, Fusco sent an email telling teachers to send any students who appeared to be observing the day to her office.

On the day, Hatcher came to school and communicated to others by dry-erase board. She was sent to the principal’s office and suspended for the day, and told to never participate in the event again.

Lambda Legal has now filed a lawsuit against the school yesterday (26 February), asking the court to prohibit the school from interfering with Hatcher’s First Amendment right to freedom of speech.

Speaking recently before the event, Hatcher says: ‘I just wanted to stand up for all the kids in my school, gay or straight, who don’t feel like they have a voice to stand up for themselves.

‘I wish my school would help me create an accepting environment for LGBT kids, not single me out for punishment.



No thumbnail available

Nigella Lawson: ‘I’m a gay man in a woman’s body’

TV chef reveals her late husband always considered her to have a real affinity with the LGBTI community
No thumbnail available

Guillermo D­az of ABC's Scandal would love to moonlight on HBO's Looking

The out actor opens up to Gay Star News about gay and straight roles
No thumbnail available

AIDS conference honors researchers and activists who died in MH17 plane crash

'It's a really important time for what we think everyone needs, which is a space to grieve and to respect the six members of our community that died on MH17'
No thumbnail available

Police arrest two men after ‘Muslim Patrol’ targeted gays

Police in London have arrested two men after a small group harassed people in the east of the city, posting YouTube clips of their assaults
No thumbnail available

'Confused' Scots teen brutally killed gay barman

A Scottish teenager has admitted killing a gay barman who had tried to comfort him over his confused sexuality
No thumbnail available

Piers Morgan: 'Amend' Bible to allow gay marriage

CNN host and British journalist compares word of God to the American constitution in interview with Christian pastor Rick Warren
No thumbnail available

Vegas opens gaming bar staffed only by drag queens

Drink & Drag is set to become largest employer of drag queens in Las Vegas
No thumbnail available

Italian right-wing attacks Milan's mayor on gay rights

Giuliano Pisapia started a new era by launching the Registro delle Unioni Civili and defending the same-sex couples' right to adopt children
No thumbnail available

Love without censorship

Internet-released short films, that by-pass the censors, are all the rage in China right now. We talk to the director of one of the most popular 'mini-films' that happens to have a gay storyline
No thumbnail available

Former US Speaker Dennis Hastert accused of paying to cover up 'sexual misconduct' with former male student

The longest-serving Republican Speaker in US history has been indicted by federal authorities