The Southern Poverty Law Center has filed suit in federal court to stop what it characterized as pervasive anti-LGBT bullying and harassment committed by students — as well as faculty and administrators — in Mississippi’s Moss Point School District.
SPLC filed the suit on behalf of Destin Holmes, a student who says severe harassment forced her to leave her school. She temporarily left the district in March 2012 to be homeschooled after the then-principal at Magnolia Junior High School called her a "pathetic fool" and told her, "I don’t want a dyke in this school."
In March, the SPLC demanded the district take action to end the bullying and harassment of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender students but that didn't happen, a resolution was not reached.
"We are disappointed that the district fails to see the serious harm its deliberate inaction causes its students," SPLC attorney Anjali Nair said. "District officials who are entrusted with the safety and education of all students not only ignored, dismissed and even blamed victims for the abusive behavior of faculty and other students, they also participated in discriminatory acts."
During her time at Magnolia Junior High School, students and district staff called Destin "it," "freak" and "he-she." Destin, according to the SPLC, heard insults as many as 20 times a day.
She also was denied access to the girls’ restroom by a teacher. Another teacher even refused to allow her to participate in a classroom activity where teams were divided by gender because Destin – according to the teacher – was an “in-between it.”
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