Teenager Lesbian sues School
Posted on Wednesday, December 18, 2002
LOS ANGELES, California
A 15-year-old female student who says she was banned from gym class at school because she is a lesbian filed a lawsuit Tuesday against her instructors and the school district, accusing them of discrimination.
Ashly Massey and her mother, along with the American Civil Liberties Union and the National Center for Lesbian Rights, filed the lawsuit in U.S. District Court in Los Angeles.
They claim that in March, when Ashly was an 8th grade student at Coombs Middle School in Riverside County, she was removed from physical education class and made to sit in the school principal's office.
The suit alleges that Ashly's gym teacher told the girl's mother, Amelia Massey, that her daughter's sexual orientation made other girls in the class "uncomfortable being around Ashly in the locker room."
The gym teacher allegedly told Ashly she was no longer allowed to go to P.E. class, and for the next week and a half Ashly said she was made to sit in the principal's office instead of participating in the class.
"Every day that Ashly sat in the office, other students would see her there and ask her why she was there," the suit says. "The other students assumed she had done something wrong and was in the principal's office to be disciplined."
Ashly said the situation was "humiliating and denigrating" and made her feel that she was being punished because of her sexual orientation.
Among other claims in the lawsuit, Massey's attorneys say their client's right to equal protection under the 14th Amendment to the Constitution was violated and that the "defendants' conduct constituted discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation in violation of California Education Code."
The suit names the Banning Unified School District, Massey's gym teacher, principal, vice principal, and school superintendent as defendants.
Massey and her mother are seeking monetary damages and asking teachers and administrators in the school district to conduct an anti-bias program.
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