US: Texas school shuts down entire course, to prevent possibly gay student from joining
The principal of a school in Texas has cancelled an entire course, reportedly to prevent a man he thought might be gay, from enrolling.
Cequada Clark, the now former, head of Cosmetology at Taylor Career and Technology Center [sic], told The Examiner that Principal Thomas Amons had cancelled the course, and that his deciding factor was that he didn’t want one student to enrol.
The Ppincipal met Kwmane Gray on the first day of term, September 10, but Mr Gray said he never spoke to him before making his judgement.
Ms Clark said he had cancelled the course, after having met Mr Gray:
“I don’t understand this. I really don’t,” she said, “[Principal Amons] told me he would rather shut down the program altogether than to have ‘riff-raff’ like that in the program. The next day, he shut down the program.”
Distraught, the 22-year-old, said:
“Right now, I can see I’m going to need counseling. I wasn’t at the point in my life to really open up about my sexuality. This is a big depression on me – he thought I was gay, and he didn’t want me around. That’s pretty tough to hear.”
After Mr Gray had entered the classroom, Principal Amons, who also serves as deacon at Antioch Missionary Baptist Church, had reportedly instructed Ms Clark to tell him he was not welcome at the school. She refused:
“I told [Amons] if he wanted to tell that young man that, he would need to do that himself.”
After realising he could not legally exclude Mr Gray for being gay, Mr Amons had discovered that he could choose to no longer offer the course, Ms Clark said:
“He told me that the legal department said he couldn’t exclude [Mr Gray] based on his sexual preference, but that as the principal of the school he could decide to no longer offer the program. He said the last day would be Thursday, Sept. 13.”
Sharee Logan, mother of Mr Gray, spoke out against the decision:
“Whether my son is gay or not is none of his business. We live in a time where people are committing suicide behind stuff like this. This is my only son.”
According to Ms Clark, Principal Amons had always been vocal about his anti-gay policy, and had spoken to her on several occasions about it:
“Earlier this year, I learned he had a problem with gay guys while we were at the hair show in April.” Ms Clark, who had headed the course since 2009, said that the principal had said he never wanted “flamboyantly gay guys” on the course at their school.
Ms Clark had previously said she was prepared to risk her job to speak out for what she thought was right:
“It’s a chance they may fire me all the way, and honestly that’s a chance I’m willing to take,” she said. “I made up in my mind I’m not going to compromise or lie for anyone. I love my job – love it, love it, love it – but I have to stand up for what’s right.”
She has since been asked to give back her keys, and has been told that her employment at the school has been terminated.
Mr Gray reflected on how unfair he thought it was for the entire course to be cancelled for such a reason, but many of his colleagues from Cosmetology spoke out in disgust at his treatment. Returning student Ashley Martinez wrote. “I never heard of something like this happening for such a stupid reason.”
She also had a message for Principal Amons: “If you think you’re going to get away with this, you’re more than wrong.”
According to the Examiner, Principal Amons was not able to be reached for a comment.