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Thursday, 28 February 2013 00:29

School Sued By Lambda Legal After Suspending A Lesbian Student Who Observed The National Day Of Silence

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Amber Hatcher, a 16-year-old lesbian, student in the state of Florida, wanted to observe the National Day of Silence which took place on April 20 and which is a campaign organized by the Gay, Lesbian & Straight Education Network’s (GLSEN) for increasing students-and-teachers' awareness of anti-LGBT bullying and harassment in schools


The principle is simple: to remain silent during a day to call attention to the silencing effect of bullying.


So Amber, wishing to observe this campaign last April within her school, had required the permission of the her school principal Shannon Fusco who immediately threatened her with "ramifications"


Amber has then contacted DeSoto County School Superintendent Adrian Cline who also refused. 

So she asked Legal Lambda to help her. Lambda Legal, which is the largest national legal organization whose mission is to safeguard and advance the civil rights of LGBT people through impact litigation, education and policy work, sent a letter to the school to inform the principal that the participation in such a campaign is a student's right and that the school could be sued. 


On April 20, Amber, conscious of the importance of this campaign, went to school wearing a red T-shirt with the message "DOS April 20, 2012: Shhhhh" and communicating by dry-erase board with peers and teachers as reports Lambda Legal

"I just wanted to stand up for all the kids in my school, gay or straight, who don’t feel like they have a voice to stand up for themselves," said Hatcher. "I wish my school would help me create an accepting environment for LGBT kids, not single me out for punishment."


The same day, her principal suspended her. 


Tuesday, Legal Lambda filed a lawsuit against the DeSoto County Board of Education arguing that the high school violated the First Amendment and well-settled legal precedent supporting students’ free speech. The organization is also seeking for a court order to be sure the National Day Of Silence could be observed by students in the future.

"The school should be working to help support LGBT students rather than punishing students who are standing up against bullying," said Lambda Legal attorney Beth Littrell. "By threatening, censoring and punishing Amber for her efforts to simply raise awareness, school officials disregarded her rights as well as the Constitution."


Lezbelib is the online magazine that helps LGBTQ+ women to stay updated with entertaining blogs and breaking news about LGBT rights.