"[Principal] Davis's conduct, in the capacity of a role model and authority figure," [the judge wrote, in support of the ACLU], "is particularly deplorable in light of studies which confirm the vulnerability of gay and lesbian students."
-- From "Court Orders that Pro-Homosexual Proselytism by Students be Permitted in Schools" by John Jalsevac at LifeSiteNews.com 7/28/08
A judge in Holmes County, Florida, has ruled that the school board cannot forbid students from "wearing or displaying t-shirts, armbands, stickers, or buttons containing messages and symbols which advocate the acceptance of and fair treatment for persons who are homosexual."
The case that led to the ruling surrounded incidents at Ponce de Leon High School in Holmes County. According to court documents, a 12th grade student - called "Jane Doe" by the court - went to school officials last year to complain that she was being taunted by a group of middle schools students because of her homosexuality.
The complaint was passed on to the school's principal, David Davis, who met with the student after school on September 10, 2007. Davis allegedly questioned Doe about her sexual orientation, and in the process told her that it was "wrong" to be a homosexual. Davis also stated his intention to inform Doe's parents that she was a homosexual.
The day after Davis' encounter with the student, a false rumor began to spread that the principal had suspended Doe because of her homosexuality. A number of students began to organize various acts of protest, ranging from initiating a petition drive, to the wearing of various t-shirts and armbands with slogans such as: "Gay? Fine By Me," "I Support My Gay Friends," "God Loves Me Just the Way I Am," "Pro-Gay Marriage," and "Sexual Orientation is Not a Choice. Religion, However, Is."
Davis was supported in his decision by the School Board, which stated in a letter that the "phrases, symbols or images" displayed by the students were forbidden, due to the fact that "the expressions indicated membership in an 'illegal organization' prohibited by School Board policy and were disruptive to the educational process."
Justice [Richard] Smoak ordered that the school board "shall take such affirmative steps as are necessary to remedy the past restraints of expression of support for the respect, equal treatment, and acceptance of homosexuals."
According to a report from the ACLU, Principal Davis has since been replaced at Ponce de Leon High School.
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