Advice & Education

Florida school district violates free speech of lesbian and gay students

All teachers at Florida’s Ponce de Leon High School must attend sensitivity classes in order support free speech for the school’s lesbian and gay students.

The American Civil Liberties Union sued the Holmes County School District when a principal banned students from wearing rainbow-colored clothing or other items that he said showed “support for homosexuality”.

High school Principal David Davis enacted the ban – and suspended students who violated it. One student told him she was taunted for being gay, and Davis told her that it was wrong to be gay, then he called her parents. The girl’s friends wore gay pride t-shirts and other clothing in support.

After a two-day trial, a federal judge ruled that Davis led a “relentless crusade” against gay and lesbian students and that the district violated the students’ free speech rights by banning the clothing. Holmes County School District was ordered to pay more than $300,000 in damages.