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.

Enjoy this piece?

… then let us make a small request. AlterNet’s journalists work tirelessly to counter the traditional corporate media narrative. We’re here seven days a week, 365 days a year. And we’re proud to say that we’ve been bringing you the real, unfiltered news for 20 years—longer than any other progressive news site on the Internet.

It’s through the generosity of our supporters that we’re able to share with you all the underreported news you need to know. Independent journalism is increasingly imperiled; ads alone can’t pay our bills. AlterNet counts on readers like you to support our coverage. Did you enjoy content from David Cay Johnston, Common Dreams, Raw Story and Robert Reich? Opinion from Salon and Jim Hightower? Analysis by The Conversation? Then join the hundreds of readers who have supported AlterNet this year.

Every reader contribution, whatever the amount, makes a tremendous difference. Help ensure AlterNet remains independent long into the future. Support progressive journalism with a one-time contribution to AlterNet, or click here to become a subscriber. Thank you. Click here to donate by check.

alternet logo

Tough Times

Demand honest news. Help support AlterNet and our mission to keep you informed during this crisis.