Target: Dr. Karyn E. Gary, Superintendent of Schools in the DeSoto School District
Goal: Demand that school officials do not interfere with students’ wish to observe a silent protest
Amber Hatcher is a sophomore in high school who observed the National Day of Silence in the spring of 2012. The school suspended her for observing this commemorative day, even though limiting a student’s right to observe a silent protest violates the U.S. Constitution. Now the organization for civil rights for the LGBT community, Lambda Legal, has filed a lawsuit against the DeSoto County Board of Education for violating the First Amendment and requesting that the school officials do not interfere with the right’s of Amber and other students who plan to observe a Day of Silence in the future.
Amber is a student at the DeSoto County High School in Arcadia, Florida. In April 2012, she asked for permission from her school’s principal to observe the National Day of Silence founded by GLSEN (Gay, Lesbian, Straight Education Network). The National Day of Silence is observed to commemorate the LGBT youth and call attention to the silencing effect of anti-LGBT bullying and harassment in schools. Despite being threatened with ramifications from the school’s principal if she followed through with the plan, Amber observed the Day of Silence on April 20, 2012 by wearing a t-shirt that said “Shhhh”and communicating by dry-erase board with peers and teachers. Afterwards she was called to the dean’s office and suspended from school for the day.
Sign this petition to help Lambda Legal fight justice against the DeSoto County Board of Education. Urge the Board of Education to apologize to Amber Hatcher and the LGBT community at DeSoto High School and demand that school officials do not interfere with students’ wish to observe a silent protest. The National Day of Silence is a necessary day for raising awareness on anti-LGBT bullying and harassment and students should be commended for standing up for their rights and the rights of others.
Dear Dr. Karyn E. Gary,
On April 20, 2012, Amber Hatcher, a student at the DeSoto County High School, was suspended from school for observing The National Day of Silence. It is a commemorative day, founded by the Gay, Lesbian, Straight Education Network (GLSEN) with the intention to call attention to the silencing effect of anti-LGBT bullying and harassment in schools.
The school’s decision to suspend the student goes against her First Amendment right to hold a silent protest. I urge you to apologize to Amber Hatcher for fighting her right to protest and ensure that all students in the school district of DeSoto are allowed to commemorate the Day of Silence in the future.
[Your Name here]
Photo credit: via lhsirish.org