A Haywood County High School principal in Brownsville, Tenn., has handed in her resignation after allegedly telling gay students they are going to hell, causing outrage among parents as well as the ACLU, which took action on the students' behalf.
Principal Dorothy Bond tendered her resignation Thursday morning, JacksonSun.com revealed, after the American Civil Liberties Union sent a letter on behalf of several students and families to Haywood County Schools Superintendent Marlon King. The ACLU asked the district to take action after reports came out that the principal had made anti-LGBT remarks and even threatened to expel gay students.
"At first she was talking about PDA and she turned around and she directly pointed to the gay people and said if you're gay you're going to hell and if you're pregnant, you're life is over," explained one student, Amber Whittiemore, in an interview with ABC24.
Although Whittiemore was not there when the alleged incident occurred, she said that one of her friends, who is gay, shared what Bond had told the students at a school assembly. The ACLU disclosed that there were a number of Haywood County students who had contacted the organization and claimed that the principal threatened any gay individuals who showed affection with one another with 60 days of suspension, an assignment to an alternative school, and even expulsion.
Following calls by the ACLU for the school board to take action, Bond resigned, and the district released the following statement:
"The Haywood County Board of Education acknowledges its student body's right to free speech. Further, the Haywood County Board of Education strives to provide an atmosphere of tolerance and diversity while maintaining high academic standards."
The quick resolution to issue has been hailed by the ACLU, which called the decision a "victory" on their official website:
"Haywood County School District did the right thing by taking lightning-fast action and affirming students' right to free speech and upholding values of tolerance and diversity in their statement announcing Bond's resignation. The public outcry that arose from reports about Bond's behavior shows that when it comes down to it, communities will not support a principal who blatantly goes out of her way to make students feel so unwelcome in their own school."
While looking into the public reaction, the ABC24 report revealed one local resident, Jeff Hopper, who gave Principal Bond his backing.
"I'm behind her, I'm behind her 100 percent," he said. "Whatever she said, she loves those kids. She taught them from the ground up; she has their best interest at heart."
However, many others, such as users commenting on the story on JacksonSun's Facebook page, insisted that there was no choice for the principal but to resign.
"I am a Christian conservative and I believe she crossed the line big time. She did the right thing resigning. It's not just liberals who believe in equal rights. The Republican party was founded on it. Christianity demands it," wrote Rebecca Burgess Blackburn.