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Blatant Discrimination in Memphis School

Timothy Kincaid

April 30th, 2008

hollandprice.jpgThe Hollis F. Price Middle College High School is undoubtedly a successful school. As a collaboration between the Memphis school district and LeMoyne-Owen College, it provides an opportunity for gifted African-American students to earn credits towards their college degrees while still in high school. And by selecting only 150 of the district’s best students, it avoids many of the problems that plague public schools: fighting, truancy, and falling educational standards.

And Hollis F. Price has admirable stated ideals and intentions including

We believe that every member of our learning community has value and worth and has the right to be respected.

and

All students enrolled at Hollis F. Price Early Middle College are able to participate in many of the approved and available high school and college organizations and activities.

But in her effort to provide an ideal educational environment, Principal Daphne Beasley went way beyond what is appropriate or even legal.

Seeking to eliminate public displays of affection, Beasley asked that students and teachers report suspected romantic couples to her. She then compiled a list and posted it where teachers and other students could read it.

Although this is disturbing in itself, Beasley left all measure of reasonableness when a pair of boys hit her list. Although both boys were A students, had never displayed any public affection, and were an asset to any learning institution, that didn’t stop Beasley from seeking to humiliate them. Memphis Eyewitness News reports

One of the young men, Nicholas, an 11th grader who just made the Dean’s List, spoke with Eyewitness News Everywhere.

“It was actually frightening,” he says, “to see a list with my name on it where not just other teachers could see but students as well.”

Nicholas says his teachers and other students treat him differently as a result of Principal Beasley’s decision and that he and Andrew have both had to deal with verbal assaults. Nicholas was also not allowed to go on a trip to New Orleans to help rebuild homes because, as one of his teacher’s explained, he would “embarrass” the school by engaging in gay affection.

“I really feel that my personal privacy was invaded,” Nicholas says. “I mean, Principal Beasley called my mother and outed me to my mother!”

The ACLU stepped in to support the boys and their mothers. Their letter to the school board clarifies some of Beasley’s motivation.

Specifically, we have been informed that during their telephone call about Nicholas’s inclusion on the “list” as being part of a gay couple, Principal Beasley told [Nicholas’ mother] that she did not like homosexuals and found it hard to deal with homosexuality. Principal Beasley, according to [Nicholas’ mother’s] contemporaneous notes, then informed her that homosexuality would not be tolerated at Hollis F. Price and that she was glad that she didn’t have any kids so she wouldn’t have to deal with these kinds of problems.

Ms. Beasley clearly does not believe that her school’s “all students” statements include gay students, no matter how well behaved. Such an attitude is not conducive to an unbiased and discrimination-free learning environment, and either Principal Beasley should lose it or she should find some form of employment in which she doesn’t have to deal with persons that she does not like.

Comments

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Alex
May 1st, 2008 | LINK

Surely this principal appeared out of now where from 1908.
I hope she looses her job for incompetence and being totally insensitive and a bully.

Joshua
May 1st, 2008 | LINK

Well, that stinks. How exactly did she “go beyond what was appropriate or even legal” though?

Jack
May 1st, 2008 | LINK

She went beyond that because she’s not allowed to do what she did. I’d sue the crap out of them for pulling this stunt.

pligg.com
May 1st, 2008 | LINK

Box Turtle Bulletin » Blatant Discrimination in Memphis School…

Gay students outed by principal to classmates and parents….

JAB_au
May 1st, 2008 | LINK

This has to be the most inappropriate thing that anyone could possibly do in a position like hers. A persons sexuality can be a very private thing, and putting that information in a public place that outs that person for their sexuality is just wrong, especially in a school situation.

I would think they can expect a large cash payout.

David
May 1st, 2008 | LINK

I dunno… this is actually kinda cool. Imagine being in 11th grade and winning a fucking truckload of cash because of a dumb ass ignorant principal like this. The american tax payers would have to hate yet another law suit tho.

Erica B.
May 1st, 2008 | LINK

Seeking to eliminate public displays of affection, Beasley asked that students and teachers report suspected romantic couples to her. She then compiled a list and posted it where teachers and other students could read it.

What sort of insane policy is this? Why not just make the students wear a big red F for “FORNICATORS” and be done with it? No surprise she hates gay kids if she’s this frantic about even straight PDA.

People need to get their brains out of the gutters and stop insisting on knowing the details of everybody else’s sex life. This principal is disgusting, and I wouldn’t want my kids in a school that’s so obsessed with sex they need to blacklist couples of either orientation.

I was annoyed when my daughter’s preschool teacher wanted to “inform me” that my daughter had kissed a boy and I should have a talk with her about it. SHE’S FOUR. She kisses people she likes — her parents, her family, her brother, her friends. We kiss her to show her we love her. And now I’m supposed to tell her kissing is naughty? Forget that!

I can only imagine how raging mad I’d be if the school principal felt the need to phone me up to tattle about my son being gay — not mad at him for being gay (well, maybe disappointed that he hadn’t told me) but at the principal for being a nosey bigoted prude.

Damn, this made me mad!

Christian
May 1st, 2008 | LINK

Is the school private or public? If it is private, they can do anything they want (search lockers, cut your hair, etc) :-(

Heidi
May 1st, 2008 | LINK

Christian’s right, unfortunately, that if the school is private, they have the luxury of being openly racists/biased/sexist/just about anything they want. The responsiblity is one the parents and staff, and whether they want the stigma on their children attending a school openly biased.

mr.domino
May 1st, 2008 | LINK

Here’s her email and her name:
Administration
Principal
Daphne Beasley
beasleyd@mcsk12.net

ryan
May 1st, 2008 | LINK

“…informed her that homosexuality would not be tolerated at Hollis F. Price and that she was glad that she didn’t have any kids so she wouldn’t have to deal with these kinds of problems.”

WHAT
THE
FUCK

Fuck losing her job or getting sued; this woman should actually be decapitated.

mark
May 1st, 2008 | LINK

umm actually even though it is private you absolutely do not have the right to discriminate based on race sex or orientation. that is in the constitution and can absolutely not be violated because of its “private” status. this is rediculous this woman should not be able to be making the rules for children who are probably confused and frightened and now have this bs to deal with.

Timothy Kincaid
May 1st, 2008 | LINK

Those who have questions about the story may find more information on the links.

In Tennessee it is legal to discriminate based on orientation within the private sector. However, the school is part of the local school system. It is not a private school.

The illegalities (case law provided) are clearly laid out in the ACLU letter, to which a link is provided.

beedogs
May 1st, 2008 | LINK

“unfortunately, that if the school is private, they have the luxury of being openly racists/biased/sexist/just about anything they want.”

heh, actually, no they don’t.

Brock Lesnar
May 1st, 2008 | LINK

Good old America.

Memphis High School Principal’s Homophobic Blacklist (Andymatic.com)
May 1st, 2008 | LINK

[...] High School Principal’s Homophobic Blacklist Seeking to eliminate public displays of affection, [Principal] Beasley asked that students and teach… She then compiled a list and posted it where teachers and other students could read [...]

omnot
May 1st, 2008 | LINK

Headline: Principal outs herself to the whole world as being a homophobic, child-hating dinosaur.

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