After one semester at Magnolia Junior High School in Mississippi, Destin Holmes dropped out as a result of classmates and teachers calling her names, using physical violence and isolating her because she identified as a lesbian.
According to The Advocate, Holmes recalls classmates and some teachers calling her “queer,” a “he-she” and “it”. During a trivia game, one teacher divided the class by gender and excluded Holmes, saying that she was in-between and belonged on her own team.
When one student decided to throw broken pencils and erasers at Holmes, calling her a freak, she decided to throw them back and demanded that he stop calling her names. She was written up and sent to in-school suspension for three days.
Multiple unsuccessful attempts were made by Holmes and her father to request help from the principal, who dismissed the issue, saying: “If she’s going to dress like a boy, she’s going to be treated like a boy.”
Holmes finally dropped out of the school and is currently home-schooled by her grandmother, though she wants to return to a regular classroom.
According to an investigation driven by the Southern Poverty Law Center, Holmes was not alone in experiencing intolerance. Administrators and teachers within the school district often subjected students associated with the LGBT community to hostility.
Since Holmes left the school, both the principal and superintendent have been replaced. A letter issued by the SPLC accompanying its Teaching Tolerance guidebook was sent to the new administrators, though the school has yet to comment.