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Student Sues Buffalo School District, Homophobic Principal For Denying Gay Straight Alliance

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Complaint says principal has history of LGBT discrimination, including separating same-sex dates at dances

From staff and wire reports

BUFFALO, N.Y. — A McKinley high school student is suing Buffalo Public Schools and the school’s principal over discrimination against LGBTQ students.

Byshop Elliott, 19, filed the complaint after trying, unsuccessfully, to create a Gay Straight Alliance at Mckinley. The New York Civil Liberties Union (NYCLU) is representing Elliott and say students at the school have been trying since at least 2014 to create this type of club, but every year “the proposal is either ignored or outright rejected by [the principal].”

“I care a lot about the school, that’s why it’s so disappointing how it’s acted toward LGBTQ students,” said Elliott, an 11th-grader. “Everyone should have a chance to feel included and excited about high school, including LGBTQ students. I wish this wasn’t still an issue today but it is.”

The NYCLU alleges in the lawsuit that Crystal Boling-Barton, McKinley’s principal, has a history of “routinely, openly and systematically discriminating against LGBTQ students” and has denied several attempts by students to form a Gay-Straight-Alliance.

The lawsuit claims that “announcements over the loudspeaker warn that they are not permitted to bring a same-sex date to prom and that ‘couples’ tickets are reserved for opposite-sex couples.”

“If a girl dares to dance with her girlfriend at a school dance, the principal separates them,” the suit states. 

“Schools should encourage kids who try to make the learning environment more inclusive for other students,” said NYCLU Executive Director Donna Lieberman. “But LGBTQ students at McKinley have met only discouragement, inaction and homophobia from the school and district charged with supporting them. This goes against everything New York stands for.”

A school official on Wednesday evening told The Buffalo News that the district had just received a copy of the complaint and was in the process of reviewing it.

“These are allegations the district takes very seriously and we intend to investigate them to get to the bottom of this,” said Nathaniel Kuzma, the school district’s general counsel.

Watch a video report from WGRZ-TV below. 

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