Oregon School District Facing Discrimination Allegations After Reportedly Forcing LGBT Student to Read Bible
An LGBTQ student in Oregon's public North Bend School District was forced to read the Bible by an administrator as punishment. The district is under fire after that discriminatory act – it does not appear that any other student has received the same punishment – and also under fire after a teacher compared same-sex marriage to bestiality. The World, which first reported the incidents, calls them "serious discrimination allegations."
The Oregon Department of Education (ODE) wrote to school superintendent Bill Yester that it "finds that discrimination on the basis of sex and sexual orientation may have occurred.”
The ODE will investigate to determine if the district is in compliance with state and federal anti-discrimination laws.
One student reportedly "said they were hesitant to report discrimination because of the religious beliefs of certain district staff members," and pointed to the student who was forced to read the Bible as proof. Not only was that student "disciplined" by being forced to read the Bible, they were forced to read the Bible under the supervision of a school resource officer, a police or other sworn law enforcement officer.
“There is substantial evidence to support the allegation that the district subjected LGBTQ students to separate or different rules of behavior, sanctions, or other treatment,” the ODE said in its letter to the superintendent. It also noted the "punishment" could be a First Amendment violation. It had a “chilling effect on LGBTQ students’ use of the district’s complaint process,” the ODE reported.
In a separate incident a teacher reportedly "in class equated same-sex marriage to marrying a dog," The World adds. That teacher later apologized to the student who complained. The student is LGBTQ.
The report also says that a school counselor who worked to support and defend LGBTQ students was retaliated against by school administration officials.