Thursday, December 01, 2005

California court rules in favor of student 'outed' to her by parents by school prinicipal

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According to an article published by 365gay News, a federal judge has rejected the claim of the Orange County (CA) school district that it could reveal the sexuality of a student to her parents. The ruling turns over a vote by the Garden Grove Unified School District which dismissed the lawsuit brought by studetn Charlene Nguon. The school board claimed that the student had no legal interest in suing the disctrict because she made no effort to keep her sexuality a secret; Nguon had been openly affectionate with her girlfriend while at school. The court disagreed with the board's position and said that Nguon can proceed with her claim that the prinicpal violated her constitutional privacy rights. According to the article:
"I am very glad that the judge agreed Charlene can continue to stand up for her rights," said Nguon's mother, Crystal Chhun. "I love and fully support Charlene, but that's not the case for every gay student out there. The person to decide when and how to talk with our family about her sexual orientation should have been my daughter, not the principal." The suit, filed by the ACLU of Southern California, alleges that Nguon was singled out for discipline a number of times for displaying affection with her girlfriend, that she was outed to her parents, was forced to transfer and that her grades suffered as a result of the harassment. In addition to Nguon, the ACLU s representing her mother and the Gay-Straight Alliance Network in the case. Nguon was an 'A' student, ranked in the top 5 percent of her class, but when she kissed her girlfriend on campus she was disciplined and told either she or the girlfriend would have to transfer to another school. The teen, in addition to having straight 'A's, was enrolled in a number of advanced placement and honors classes and was a candidate for the National Honor Society until the offer was rescinded because of discipline, including one week-long suspension, for hugging her girlfriend on campus. Nguon's grades slipped when she switched to Bolsa Grande High School as she struggled to catch up with that school's curriculum and her commute grew from a four block walk to a 4 and a half mile bike ride. After the ACLU sent a letter to the district in late July, Nguon was allowed to return to Santiago High School where she had been enrolled since her freshman year. But the school has made no effort to improve the climate on campus or to ensure Nguon will not be targeted for discipline again, the ACLU said. The lawsuit seeks unspecified damages and the creation of a district wide policy and guidelines to ensure that gay and lesbian students are treated equally. "We are pleased that the court recognized that the school does not have the automatic right to disclose a student's sexual orientation just because that student is out of the closet to his or her friends at school," said Christine P. Sun, a staff attorney for the ACLU. "Coming out is a very serious decision that should not be taken away from anyone, especially from students who may be put in peril if they live in an unsupportive home."
======= Okay... so tell me this... if Nguon was only being affectionate with her girlfriend (much like straight couples do) how was she breaking any rules and why did the principal think he had a right to "discipline" her. Would the principal have disciplined a straight couple for giving each other a peck on the cheek or a hug???