A school board in Louisiana is refusing to apologize to a lesbian woman who claims her son was disciplined for saying the word “gay” in class.
School board meeting packed over ‘gay’-punishment issue (photo: KPLC-TV)
After meeting behind closed doors, the Lafayette Parish School Board decided 5-3 no laws or policies were violated when 7-year-old Marcus McLaurin was sent home with a note saying he was disciplined after “he explained to another child that you are gay and what being gay means,” according to the New Orleans Times-Picayune.
The Associated Press previosuly reported Marcus was required to fill out a form, in which he wrote, “I sed bad wurds.” In a space for “What I should have done,” he wrote, “Cep my mouf shut.”
Officials at Ernest Gallet Elementary School claimed Marcus had been reprimanded for disrupting class, but disciplinary reports signed by his teacher indicate a different reason.
“Marcus decided to explain to another child in the group that his mom is gay,” instructor Terry Bethea wrote in the Nov. 11 behavior report. “He told other child that gay is when a girl likes a girl. This kind of discussion is not acceptable in my room. I feel that parents should explain things of this nature to their own children in their own way.”
The Times-Picayune reports the board said in a short statement, “To the extent that the student or mother misunderstood or was left with the impression that disciplinary action was taken for use of the word ‘gay’ or any reference to sexual orientation is regrettable. This was never the intent or purpose.”
Among the dissenters in last night’s decision was board President David Thibodaux, who said the district’s position that Marcus was not punished for using the word “gay” is “not supported by the documentation. To me, it is just that simple.”
Marcus’ mother Sharon Huff reportedly left the meeting without comment, but ACLU attorney Ken Chloe said his group would consult with her regarding any potential action.
“Certainly, litigation is an option,” he told the paper. “We don’t understand why the school board won’t acknowledge that what happened, happened.”