Gay Teen Expelled From High School

What would you do if you were a closeted eighteen-year old senior in high school and your principal told your parents that you were gay?

James had created a gay teen outreach site for closeted teens to talk to eachother. A classmate outed him to the administration did the rest. Before the expulsion the school made James pull his site. They suggested if he complied they might allow him back. They didn’t and he was able to get it put up on a private server, which is costing him $200 a month. He thinks its worth it.

He’s contacted the ACLU who I hope will help him sue the shit out of Trinity Christian Academy.






5 responses to “Gay Teen Expelled From High School”

  1. Paulie Sabol Avatar

    Andy, thank you for blogging on this issue.

    While the Academy may be taking public funds for things such as Textbooks, this has been determined not to be a violation of the Establishment Clause of the U.S. Constitution AND thus, nor a reason to infringe upon the Free Exercise Clause (both provision of the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.

    However, if the argument is his rights to expression under protected free speech (another little right they slipped into the 1st amendment), there may be a case.

    What’s interesting is if there’s a right to privacy issue.

    Case law supports a schools search and seizure of a student’s personal property, locker, etc. Likewise, a minor tends to have limited privacy rights from parents. Finally, having posted on a web site may suggest he waived his rights to privacy (at least I’d argue that as an attorney for the defense).

    I’ll be eager to visit back and keep up on this issue.


  2. Andy Avatar

    That’s the clincher. What are his privacy rights – as a citizen as well as as a minor. And does the principal have any right to breach that privacy with his parents. That’s what finds me most disgusted. Sure, he’s expelled – that is terrible. But for a principal to out a student to his family is a huge and terrible betrayal.

  3. sam Avatar

    A comment on my blog about the issue:

    “TCA may be private, but they more than likely accept some federal funds and is thus subject to the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act, aka FERPA. They violated his rights under the act when they told his parents. James is 18 and thus under the law has the right to deny his parent access to anything deemed to be an educational record if he so chooses. Since TCA considered this a discplinary matter, it is a educational record and when he told TCA officials not to tell his parents, they were obligated by law to follow that wish. In so far as the law is concerned, James would be in his full rights to rip TCA a new one as Sam advocates.”

  4. Brad Avatar

    Constitutional violations require State action (Congress shall make no law… blah blah blah.) TCA is a private school, thus, no constitutional violation, first amendment or otherwise. Any cause of action would need a statutory basis.

  5. Paulie Sabol Avatar

    I agree with Sam, I check out FERPA and it does seem that unless there’s a specific waiver, I don’t see any way this principal and school can be found not liable.

    Interesting, the whole art and life imitation thing is happening.

    I just watched a movie that I’ll be blogging on titled Chasing Holden.

    In this film, a young boy is 19 and recently released from a mental institution with the trite fascination with JD Salinger’s Catcher.

    What’s interesting is he decides to attend a private high school because his father is the Governor of New York. It happens to be the same school his brother when to. His brother who was outted at the school for being a homosexual. We learn as the movie goes on that the brother, Peter (interestingly?) is dead–likely by suicide or some other unnecessary risks exposed to because of his marginalization. And because his Dad had told him, “Having a faerie for a son would hurt him politically.”

    Interestingly, it was his brother’s love for Peter that got him in the asylum.

    Good film. Worthy. But an annoying possibility if it wasn’t for the Internet for this young man at this public school.

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