Put an End to Discrimination Against LGBT, Pregnant, and Non-Religious Students at Haywood County High School

Target: Jerry Pyron, interim principal of Haywood County High School in Tennessee

Goal: To ensure that Haywood County High School will develop a no-tolerance policy against educators who bully LGBT, pregnant and non-religious students.

Dorothy Bond was Haywood County High School’s principal, but instead of serving as a leader for students and educators, she was allegedly caught making homophobic remarks and claiming that pregnant girls would end up “jobless, homeless and living off the government.” Sadly, these remarks were part of a larger and longer-lasting attack against gay, sexually active, and non-religious students. Jerry Pyron, who was recently declared the interim principal of Haywood County High School after Bond’s resignation, must be told that the public will not allow bigotry and hatred to reign in our schools.

According to a recent press release from the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) of Tennessee, “multiple students” claimed that Principal Bond not only told them that LGBT people are “ruining their lives” but that they’d face severe punishments simply for showing affection to a same-sex partner. Punishments would have included 60-day suspensions, forced enrollment in an alternative school, or even suspension. Though the school already takes action against public displays of affection for both gay and straight students, these additions seemingly targeted only LGBT students.

The ACLU also stated in a letter to Haywood County school district’s superintendent that Bond had a long history of forcing her own bigoted beliefs onto students.

“The incident appears to be part of a broader pattern of official anti-gay remarks and policies by the principal, and of incorporating prayers and proselytizing into school events,” wrote the ACLU. “On one occasion, school officials scolded students who did not bow their heads in prayer and threatened them with discipline. On another occasion, the principal told a lesbian student that she would go to ‘hell’ because of her sexual orientation.”

These actions on the part of a woman with a significant amount of power over students’ lives are reprehensible and should have never been allowed to go on for so long. Though Bond has resigned over these ignorant and harmful actions, it is not enough: her replacement must do more to ensure that abuses like these do not occur again.

“The Haywood County Board of Education strives to provide an atmosphere of tolerance and diversity while maintaining high academic standards,” the school’s law firm wrote in a recent statement.

Haywood County High School must live up to its word. By signing the petition below, you will tell this school to stop tolerating bigotry and protect all students.

PETITION LETTER:

Dear Principal Pyron,

Haywood County High School should be a place where all students feel safe and respected. Former Principal Dorothy Bond severely violated this trust by making atrocious comments against LGBT, pregnant, and non-religious students.

It is now up to you and the educators at Haywood County High School to ensure an end to hatred and offensive comments. The public demands that you take swift action against anyone who tells gay students they are going to “hell” or that pregnant girls will end up “jobless” and “homeless”.

It is imperative that Haywood County High School never tolerates this type of bigotry again. Please commit to taking action immediately.

Sincerely,

[Your Name Here]

Sign the Petition

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