Students at Sultana High School in Hesperia, Calif., were recently told by school authorities that only “gender appropriate” clothing will be acceptable for the prom and yearbook photos (video below).
According to NBC Bay Area, the ACLU and the law firm Nixon Peabody have accused the school of anti-LGBT discrimination. The school is also accused of allowing anti-LGBT insults and verbal abuse by school personnel.
“All students should feel safe and free to be themselves at school. I’m hopeful the administration does the right thing and creates a safe environment where we can be ourselves without fear of being harassed,” Kyle Bodda, president of the Sultana Gay Straight Alliance, told NBC Los Angeles.
Interim School Superintendent David McLaughlin said he is resigning from his job this spring to focus on an investigation of homophobic bullying at Sultana High School.
“These allegations are deeply concerning and they have my full and focused attention,” McLaughlin said. “While the ACLU letter focuses specifically on the rights of gay and lesbian students, I see it as a moral imperative to reinforce the current efforts in place regarding anti-bullying and tolerance throughout the district.”
School officials have reportedly censored activities and presentations by LGBT student groups, torn down flyers and prevented the use of school facilities for meetings.
According to the ACLU, the school also discriminated against a teacher who helped a student file a complaint against another school official after an incident of homophobic bullying.
“California law makes it crystal clear schools cannot discriminate against LGBT students based on sexual orientation, gender identity, gender expression,” said ACLU attorney Melissa Goodman.