A culture of racism and homophobia permeated a rural high school near the coast south of Portland, Oregon. Now the North Bend School District has reached a settlement with the ACLU of Oregon to reassign the school principal, Bill Lucero and remove the school resource officer, Jason Griggs, after two female students, who were a couple, reported ongoing extreme harassment and discrimination by the two men.
A year-long investigation revealed the that the former principal, Bill Lucero:
“…repeatedly failed to respond to LGBTQ students’ complaints, including when his son . . . nearly hit the couple with his car while yelling a homophobic slur.”
Liv Funk described what happened in her words:
“My girlfriend and I were walking to her car. The principal’s son was in his car and accelerated very close to us, yelling “faggot” out the window as he drove away,” wrote Funk.
One of the students reported an anti-LGBTQ assault to the school SRO, Jason Griggs. She alleged that another student had injured her hand with a skateboard.
Instead of helping her:
Griggs “told one of the two students that “she was going to hell for being gay.”
Griggs was ironically the school resource officer in charge of a new “Restorative Justice” program implemented in 2016, “to help juvenile offenders.” The program was said to give “power back to the victims.”
According to Vice, the couple also endured abuse from a teacher:
“One teacher equated homosexuality with bestiality.”
The school also implemented an unusual punishment:
“Punishment for gay and straight students had included forced reading of the Bible.”
Following the reports by Liv Funk and Hailey Smith, Mat dos Santos, legal director at the ACLU of Oregon, reported that more stories of discrimination at the school were coming out of the woodwork:
“These allegations included a transgender boy being barred from joining the boys’ basketball team, a black student “forced to line up with his swim teammates from lightest to darkest skin color,” while another black student was “regularly subjected to racist slurs and name calling by his teammates” which included Lucero’s son.”
Liv Funk, a survivor of a suicide attempt, also endured harassment on social media for her courage in coming forward. One person told her she should “move to a different school, be homeschooled,”if she had a problem with the discrimination from the school staff.”
As a result of the two students bravely coming forward to report the discrimination, the district will form a Diversity and Inclusion Committee, and hire an “expert to review their policies for handling discrimination and harassment reports.”
Other students at the school can start to come out of the shadows and find relief from the oppression they too experienced, thanks to these lovely ladies.
Smith and Funk sought no monetary damages, instead requesting that the district make a $1,000 gift to the Q&A of Coos County, a local LGBTQ support group.
“I hope this can also bring awareness to these types of issues and can show students that they are not powerless,” Funk said in a release.
The school district stated they were “pleased to have reached a resolution,” and will work with the ACLU and the Oregon Department of Education to improve its “school environment for all students, including LGBTQ students.”
Featured image: Screenshot via Twitter