The ACLU has gotten involved on behalf of a student who alleges that his high school principal physically and verbally assaulted him for wearing a shirt in support of establishing a gay-straight alliance at the school.
Chris Sigler, a senior at Sequoyah High School in East Tennessee, says he wore a T-shirt to school last Tuesday that read, “Gay Straight Alliance: We’ve Got Your Back.” He wore the shirt again the next Friday, even though he had been told to cover it up.
From the Advocate, Sigler alleges that on that Friday:
Principal Maurice Moser came to Sigler’s economic class in the middle of an exam, and demanded that all other students leave the room. Sigler’s sister Jessica refused to leave. Both siblings said Moser grabbed Chris’s arm, shoved him against a wall, and chest-bumped him several times, while asking, “Who’s the big man now?”
Moser allegedly stopped when Sigler’s mother came in to the classroom, and though he did not suspend Sigler, did order him off the campus for the rest of the day.
On Tuesday, the ACLU sent a letter to Monroe County Schools on behalf of Sigler and other students demanding that the students be allowed to wear clothing in “peaceful demonstration” for the gay-straight alliance.
“If we don’t get a satisfactory response from the school district by Tuesday, October 11th, we fully anticipate reviewing all of our legal options, including filing for a temporary restraining order in Federal court,” Tricia Hertzfeld, a lawyer for the ACLU in Tennessee, said.
“The Monroe County School System is aware of the alleged accusations,” Assistant Director of Schools Tim Blankenship said in a statement. “We have received written statements from all eyewitnesses. Our documentation clearly indicated that there are always two sides to every story. We’ll gladly provide more information as it becomes available.”
Sigler told WBIR 10News: “I wanted it to stand for ending homophobia, and to stop bullying of gays and lesbians all because of sexual orientation.”