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High School Principal Outs Two Gay Students

A Memphis high-school principal accused of outing two gay students, is now at the center of an American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) lawsuit. The principal, Daphne Beasley, asked teachers to compile a list of student couples, in order to assist her in the fight against public displays of affection. Once armed with the romantic information, the principal posted the list in public, for teachers, students, and parents to see.

Two gay students, Nicholas and Andrew, were effectively outed. In an interview with local news, Nicholas explained: "I really feel that my personal privacy was invaded. I mean, Principal Beasley called my mother and outed me to my mother!" Nicholas also alleges that a teacher would not let him go on a school trip to build homes in New Orleans because he would embarrass the school with his gay affection. As a result of the list, Nicholas and Andrew say they are being harassed by fellow students as well.

The ACLU hopes the lawsuit will bring school-district policies that would stop such out-of-control behavior by administrators, policies they say violate students' constitutional rights. They also are asking that the principal apologize to the students, who should also be monetarily compensated for the horrible experience.

Are you outraged by the principal's action? Is PDA in high schools such a threat to the educational experience that it deserves such drastic action? Do these students deserve financial compensation? Is it the only way to get the school district's attention?


Join The Conversation
Fribble Fribble 8 years
I think this is a flagrant disregard of students' privacy, gay or not. The added discrimination (that was clearly institutionalised, from the account of the young man's banishment from the school trip) only adds insult to injury. Children have rights, and I think we as a society are sliding down the slope of forgetting that. Minors are not property just because they can't own property. I think this is primarily an issue of privacy being invaded, and secondarily a gay rights issue. As a side note, I think the principal's initial obsession with PDA is quite disturbing, and wholly unrealistic. Adolescents are emotionally and hormonally charged. Trying to keep them from holding hands, snogging, hugging, cuddling, petting, &c. is like trying to keep rabbits from chewing on things. You can only curb it a teeny bit ('don't chew on this particular thing'), not stop it entirely ('don't chew on ANYTHING'). And calling it a 'war on PDA' is I said, *really* disturbing, to me.
badwolf badwolf 8 years
i am a bisexual male high school student who has not told anyone about it except for one friend and if my principle had outed me to my class mates and my family i would not no how to deal with it so its kind of outrageous
MarandaLaura MarandaLaura 9 years
Well, I have to say, and I think I'm going to take some flak for this, that the header for this post is a little misleading. Yes, the two boys were 'outed' because of the principals actions to stop and prevent PDA in school, however, that doesn't appear to have been the goal, focus, or intention of the principal. I wasn't in high school all that long ago, I was in about three schools, and NONE of them allowed ANY form of PDA. This principal seemed to have come up with a creative way to help put an end to PDA in school, and unfortunately for the two boys, they were outed to their parents. They do not seem to have been singled out, except for the teacher who prevented them from going on the trip THAT was out of line, but otherwise they were treated the same as every other student couple. What strikes me as odd is that equal rights groups and homosexual advocacy groups strive for equality and equal treatment of everyone. In this case, they were treated (mostly) the same as everyone else, and the principal is getting sued over it. Ohhh the ironing... If they didn't want anyone to find out they were gay, they should have hid it a little better than that. Not too tough to disguise the fact that you are dating. When I was in Advanced Indivual Training last year, there were very strict Army Regulations and DoD regulations restricting Initial Entry Soldiers from having relationships with one another. Lots of people dated each other there, especially since two of the Military Occupation Specialties were longterm (greater than 8-month) courses, and it wasn't tough for them to avoid detection. It just takes a little discretion, if you don't want to hide it, don't expect to never be discovered. ps- the teacher who stopped the one boy from going on the school trip should be fired already.
graduatedsqueaks graduatedsqueaks 9 years
wait, so she figured that by posting the list of couples, she'd embarrass them into not holding hands anymore? I have to say, PDA in high school was somewhat annoying...making out in the halls and such. But I don't mind people holding hands in the hallway as long as I can still get past them! It sounds like maybe one teacher knew about the gay couple, and included it on the list...I think the principal was out of line to get involved in high school relationships, but teachers were also silly to comply...
Berevi Berevi 9 years
It seems to me that around us, from children to the old, we are surrounded by gays. These our friends, our loved ones, our children. We know many truly good people who just want to be loved, and free to love. How can we hate our friends, loved ones, our children? It is the truth of human existence that we fear what we don't understand. They are gay. It is O.K. Why would they CHOOSE something they fear will make those THEY love, hate or abandon them? Just because some religious rambling says so? We must follow our hearts, our souls. Love our people. ALL our people. It is so very important we do so. Or we will never be one as a people. Stop your child fearing you. Let them be the only thing they feel they can. Show them how to love themselves and to love in life honorably, with caring, and instill in them the future. This world is so many, with many voices screaming to be heard, when all these people want is love. Let them love, give them that right.
Sexymixer Sexymixer 9 years
PDA can be a hugh problem at times. Before a PDA crackdown at my school, students were dry humping in the hallways. But making a list with supposed "couples" who may not even really be couples is ridiculous!!!
Fushaa Fushaa 9 years
I completely understand the fact that the principal didn't thin PDA was appropriate within the school. However, I think she could have found a better way to handle the situation. Posting a list for the school to see, embarrassing the students, that move was just as immature as the students that she is supposed to be "overseeing". And I can't believe that they didn't allow him to go on the school trip because he would embarrass the school. It's like what century are we in ?!?!?! I'm pretty sure there are homosexual people in New Orleans. Homosexuality should not still be seen as something so taboo. It seems to me that the decision was made based on the principals personal thoughts and beliefs which is really not fair. as a future teacher/educator, I feel that you should be accepting of your students regardless of things such as sexual orientation and regardless of your personal beliefs. That should not be the deciding factor in whether or not a person is allowed to attend a class trip. With all that said, I'm not sure if or how the students should be compensated for this incident.
tuesdayschild tuesdayschild 9 years
The principal should have enough good sense to know that handling such a situation with gay students requires a certain degree of sensitivity. Some kids are kicked out of their homes for being gay even in 2008. She posted the couples for everyone to see? That's the stuff of quiet whispers not bold-faced listed. That's being said, I've only been out of high school for three years and I don't remember the school having PDA issues. We made out on our own time. If the kids aren't mackin' in the middle of class, are they really disturbing anyone?
bluepuppybites bluepuppybites 9 years
This is outrageous! We had PDA rules at our high school but this is ridiculous. Gay or not a list should have never been compiled. Dating in high school is hard enough without the whole world knowing about it. That principal should definately lose his job and the school board should have to fix this immediately.
Jillness Jillness 9 years
"obviously they were already "out" if they were publically displaying thier affections in school" But the list was NOT of people who were guilty of PDA, it was people who teachers thought were dating. Big difference.
livyourlife livyourlife 9 years
The whole concept of making a list really disturbs me. Ugh!
jessy777 jessy777 9 years
Posting a list of couples in general is a violation of student's right. What is this going to do? I have been in the schools for while now gaining my certification to teach and there isn't a list around that will stop affection between couples. Instead, teachers and administrators must stay diligent to prevent such behavior. Does this list mean these couples can't stand near each other, be in the same class or walk down the hall? This principal was way out of line and should be disciplined. The job of an educator is to protect their students not cause the physical or emotional injury. I am appalled.
TsuKata TsuKata 9 years
The heck with gay or not gay...that's an unacceptable move all the way around. The schools are not there to educate kids on social behavior. They're high schools, not finishing schools. It's the parents' responsibility to teach their kids to have healthy respect for the public when it comes to PDAs, not the school's.
CaterpillarGirl CaterpillarGirl 9 years
obviously they were already "out" if they were publically displaying thier affections in school, but not "out" to thier parents right? I have no problem with what the principal did, except for I think he should have made it a private issue with the couples, and told them that if it didnt stop, THEN he would call thier parents.
subtleheights subtleheights 9 years
How pissed am i? isnt it time that we as a country which is a melting pot of every culture and creed to get OVER!!!!!!! I personally dont care if a couple is gay or not! should the school not be happy that this is one less chance of teenage pregnancy happening? what makes it okay for jane and jim to show PDA yet a problem for JIMMY and JOHNNy? i understand we are not all there in the acceptance game but to out them is horrible? what dirty secrets do we all have and no one knows? shame on that principal!!! gone are the days when one could trust those in authority. i say we are all entitled to show our affection to whomever , wherever and be damned proud of it.I feel really bad for them. sometimes i am so ashamed of this country and its people. what ever happened tolerance?
EkaterinaBallerina EkaterinaBallerina 9 years
Brendel: The problem is that she knew EXACLTY what she was doing when she posted the list with their names on it. She knew she was outing them. The controversy here is that she outed two closeted students and as everyone else stated before, they did NOT engage in the PDA she was trying to stop. She put two of her students in a unjust position. She outed him to his own mother! She deserves all the bad press and attention she gets. One has to wonder though, how exactly she knew. That is what bothers me so much. How in the world did the principal find out?
megnmac megnmac 9 years
So this discussion just reminded me of my personal PDA embarrassment... see, in jr high I had a boyfriend for the entire 8th grade year (yes, a 14 yr old lifetime) and we'd hold hands and sit by each other and were sickeningly lovey (remember 14 yo)... and every time we'd walk each other to class and kiss goodbye... and he'd always be standing with an arm around me... and while we weren't the ones making out in the halls, we were most visible displays of affection probably just because it was all year long. And so my homeroom teacher gave me the "most public display of affection award." I was MORTIFIED. As a budding feminist, I was outraged that I got that and my bf got some athletic award... and years later I have come to find it a little hilarious that I was both valedictorian of my jr high class and most PDA award winner. PDA isn't a big deal, and schools all deal with it in their own ways. I disagree with the people that assume this principal was purposefully acting against these gay students... she was just likely blustering along and they were casualties to her actions.
Jillness Jillness 9 years
"And if "personal privacy" is an issue don't make out at school" The list wasn't of kids that were guilty of PDA. The list was of all of the "couples" at school. Obviously if people didn't know they were gay before, then they weren't making out in the hallways.
GeriAnne1932 GeriAnne1932 9 years
I wish I could've gotten a few PDA's in high school....(sigh)... I think the problem with high school is that it's like a vacuumm condensed box of rules and regulations and in some cases unrealistic idealism. I assume the principal wasn't thinking of the ramifications and that is a major work flaw and her position should be examined as to her abilities to problem solve and develop realistic steps to help and educate her students. Clearly, she lacks empathy and understanding. I am suprised NO ONE else on the administration thought this was a bad idea. Those boys have to suffer life changing consequences, perhaps she should too.
KrisSugar KrisSugar 9 years
I think they do deserve to be compensated for this trauma. Whoever above said that they were betrayed by the people who were supposed to protect them is 100% correct! not only is posting a list immature, I wonder how school leaders have time for this crap. on another note, doesn't it sound vaguely like sexual harrassment? discrimination, or at least inappropriate? they brought up students personal lives (straight ones too) and for those who weren't doing anything wrong to begin with, that puts them in an uncomfortable spotlight. totally, utterly inappropriate. to me it's only a step away from inappropriate touching.
ALSW ALSW 9 years
Making a list up is absolutely ridiculous. Couples change constantly and there's no saying that PDA in high school is restricted to only couples. The teachers who notice this behavior should be the ones who stop it, not concocting a list. The two boys have an absolute right to angry and the staff had no right to out them to the school, their family, and to make the kind of comments that they did.
tiff58 tiff58 9 years
I am completely outraged! How unneccessary, and really just heartless. :(
Matdredalia Matdredalia 9 years
If this man seriously believes that posting a list of couples will cut down on PDA's, he's too stupid to BE the leader of the high school faculty. However, the first thing that popped into my mind was: Who is to say he didn't do it to intentionally out these boys? All a "couple list" is going to do is out EVERYBODY and straight couples don't really need to be outed, especially since what in the world is a list going to do to stop PDA's? Nothing. Maybe it's simply because of my experiences in high school that I have a hard time giving any member of a highschool faculty the benefit of the doubt when it comes to gay teens, but if you ask me, I think the PDA story is a load of BS. And WTF did the principal think he was doing calling their PARENTS!? These boys do deserve compensation, because their lives just got turned into a three ring circus act by the people who should be working to protect them. It's hard enough to be gay in school, let alone trying to be gay when you just got outed to your entire school, your parents, etc. I'm sorry, but I was outed to my entire school and I know what it did to me. It made my life a living hell and I wound up leaving school and getting my GED 2 years early because A) the students made my life a living hell, and B) the principal and most of the faculty proceeded to do everything they could to try to get me out of their school, going so far as to fail me during my 2nd semester of 10th grade, even though every one of my grades was passing, with mostly A's and B's. So yes, the boys deserve compensation for what they've went through, are going to have to go through, and the hardship they're now going to face in high school, college, and clear up through their careers. The principal needs fired, the teachers need to be put through some kind of course on how to properly deal with students who are beautifully, wonderfully different and how to embrace diversity instead of being homophobic prats.
Meike Meike 9 years
I read this and as much as I am sympathetic towards the two boys, the principal's intentions were not to 'out' gays in particular. If PDA is posing a problem at the school, there are definitely better methods of preventing it. A public list is not the answer as it only serves to humiliate the students in front of friends and family. Furthermore, personal privacy and PDA is a complete oxymoron. It's not really private if you're doing it in public.
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