School Punishes Student for Saying 'I'm a Lesbian,' Gets In Trouble Afterward
Kristi Gadino, a bus driver, and Corey Wiltz, the principal at North Lyon County Elementary, have been punished after harassing a student named Izzy Dieker for her sexual orientation.
The incident took place during a bus ride to school in which Gadino overheard the 8th grader tell some of her friends, "I'm a lesbian," prompting the woman to punish the student.
After hearing those words come out of Dieker's mouth, Gadino forced her to move from her seat to the front of the bus, stating that her language was "inappropriate."
It is believed that Gadino filed a report on the incident and claimed that Dieker refused to move and even used curse words in defiance. However, a video of the incident proved those claims to be false.
The bus driver presented the case to Wiltz, who, without watching the video, sided with her and banned Dieker from riding the bus. The principal also told her father that the word "lesbian" was not appropriate.
Angela Stallbaumer, an attorney for the school board association, wrote in her report that Gadino ignored all the other students on the bus who were "using shockingly profane" language and focused solely on Dieker.
The attorney also said that the employee's treatment of Dieker violated the district's sexual harassment policy, as well as federal civil rights regulations.
PROTECTING THE STUDENTS
The American Civil Liberties Union of Kansas, who represented the 13-year-old, contacted the school district to protect LGBTQ and gender-nonconforming students from discrimination.
Not only that, but Sharon Brett, the group's legal director, requested the district to require diversity and LGBTQ rights training for all employees in order to avoid similar issues in the future.
It has been reported that both Gadino and Wiltz have been punished for discriminating against Dieker and Emporia High School even canceled their offer to Wiltz to become its assistant principal and athletic director.
Although Dieker has been riding to school with a different bus driver since the incident, her father said his daughter and her siblings would be switching schools next year because they lost faith in the district.
Dieker shared that it upsets her that some people have to go through such a negative experience every day and that children are growing up thinking it's "horrible" to be gay.
Famous journalist Anderson Cooper, for example, recalled how freeing it was to come to terms with his identity after years of internal struggles and limitations brought upon gay individuals.
According to the star, he feels grateful for all the challenges he had to face due to his sexuality because they helped him become the person that he is today.
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