I'm sure it's hard enough being a gay person in a small town, especially when you're in H.S. and everything is so awkward to begin with. But this poor girl had the principle of her school out her to her mom before she could do it herself. So she's filing suit, charging that her privacy rights were violated when the principal called her mother and disclosed that she is gay.
Ms. Nguon filed suit in September after a year of run-ins with Ben Wolf, the principal of Santiago High School in Garden Grove, Calif., over her hugging, kissing and holding hands with her girlfriend. Ms. Nguon was an all-A student ranked in the top 5 percent of her class, with no prior record of discipline.
But last year, after Mr. Wolf said he wanted to separate her from her girlfriend, she transferred to another school. Her grades slipped, and her commute grew from a four-block walk to a four-and-a-half mile bike ride.
Judge James V. Selna of the Central District Court of California ruled Monday that Ms. Nguon had "sufficiently alleged a legally protected privacy interest in information about her sexual orientation."
"This is the first court ruling we're aware of where a judge has recognized that a student has a right not to have her sexual orientation disclosed to her parents, even if she is out of the closet at school," said Christine Sun, a lawyer at the American Civil Liberties Union, who brought the case. "It's really important, because, while Charlene's parents have been very supportive, coming out is a very serious decision that should not be taken away from anyone, and disclosure can cause a lot of harm to students who live in an unsupportive home."
Alan Trudell, a spokesman for the school district, would not comment on the litigation. In its motion to dismiss the case, the district argued that Ms. Nguon had no legally protectable privacy right because she was "openly lesbian" and "constantly" hugging and kissing her girlfriend.
"A reasonable person could not expect that their actions on school grounds, in front of everyone else on the school grounds, would remain private," the motion said...
Conservatives criticized the judge's reasoning. "This court ruling is so unrealistic that it borders on ridiculous," said Carrie Gordon Earll, a spokeswoman for Focus on the Family, a socially conservative group based in Colorado. "In a disciplinary action by the school, you can't expect them to lie to the parents and not give details of what happened. It seems ironic to raise privacy as an issue in a public display of affection. She'd already outed herself." ...
The lawsuit seeks to clear Ms. Nguon's record and create a districtwide policy and guidelines for the treatment of gay students.
What business is it the principle's what a kid's sexual orientation might be? Does he call up the football players mom's to tell her that he spotted Johnny making out with a cheerleader? The problem is that the principle thought that this was "wrong" so he inflicted his own moral beliefs onto this girl's family. When you were in H.S., did you want your parents to know every stupid thing you were up to?
In a related story, two 16-year-olds who were expelled from California Lutheran High School because they were suspected of being lesbians have sued the school for invasion of privacy and discrimination.
The lawsuit alleges that the school’s principal, Gregory Bork, called the girls into his office, grilled them on their sexual orientation and “coerced” one girl into saying she loved the other.
The next day, the lawsuit says, Bork told the girls’ parents they could not stay at the school with “those feelings.” In a Sept. 12 letter to the parents, Bork acknowledged that officials had seen no physical contact between the girls but said their friendship was “uncharacteristic of normal girl relationships and more characteristic of a lesbian one.”
“Such a relationship violates our Christian Code of Conduct,” Bork wrote in his letter, which was included as an exhibit in the lawsuit. He called the girls’ behavior scandalous” and “immoral.”
Hanson said the 142-student school in Wildomar, Calif., must comply with state civil rights laws because it functions as a business by collecting tuition.