Current Affairs

Lesbian student awaits discrimination verdict

PinkNews Staff Writer December 19, 2006
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A decision will soon be made regarding the lawsuit filed by lesbian student against her school headmaster after she claims he outed her.

Charlene Nguon. Nguon, 18, is suing her former principal, Ben Wolf, of Santiago High School in California, because he allegedly outed her to her mother after suspending her for being affectionate with her girlfriend on school grounds.

Nguon is seeking $300,000 to $1.3 million, according to the LA Times.

Commenting on the case, Dan Stromer, an attorney for Nguon said that “it is a significant impact in one’s life to be punished for who you are. That stigma never goes away.” Stormer made these comments in closing arguments.

However, Wolf maintains that he was not discriminating against Nguon because she was a lesbian. “He insists the problem was that, regardless of whether it was a girl or boy, Nguon continued the kissing despite repeated warnings to knock it off.”

Wolf and other administrators testified that when straight couples were admonished for showing affection, they stopped, the paper reported.

According to the paper, Nguon alleges that the principal’s and school district’s behaviour had a significant negative impact on her life, causing her grades to fall and sending her into a depression that led her to harm herself and consider suicide.

As part of the demands of her suit, Nguon wants policy changes that would allow gay students privacy about their orientation, and she wants a prohibition of the enforcing of discipline based on sexual orientation, the paper says. Nguon also wants all disciplinary measures expunged from her academic record.

Stormer told the Times that stories like Nguon’s are not all that rare, but that “few cases had gone to court because it’s difficult to prove.”

Closing arguments for the case ended last week, Attorneys have a week to file any motions and Judge James Selna will make his ruling after that.

© 2006; All Rights Reserved.

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