School District Made LGBTQ Students Read The Bible As Punishment

Multiple cases are described in the letter by the education department

An Oregon School District is facing discrimination allegations. The list of charges includes forcing an LGBTQ student to read passages from the Bible as punishment. The spotlight is now on whether the LGBTQ students are discriminated against after they report sexual harassment. The Oregon Department of Education sent a detailed list of allegations to Bill Yester, the District Superintendent in a letter dated March 6.

The letter elaborates there exists “substantial evidence to support the allegation that the district subjected LGBTQ students to separate or different rules of behavior, sanctions, or other treatment.” A hearing is scheduled on May 24. The state officials will then determine whether the district violated federal and state anti-discrimination laws.

The allegations were written out in detail from the education department to Bill Yester, the Superintendent of North Bend School District. Several severe cases were described. One of them is an account narrated by a student who was hit by another student by a skateboard. The assaulter used a skateboard to hit her hand while making homophobic comments. Upon complaining to the school resource officer, the officer was dismissive and said that homosexuality was a choice and is incompatible with personal religious beliefs.

Another case described involved the student being forced by the superintendent to read a Bible passage as punishment on multiple occasions. When state education officials questioned the building administrator, the latter admitted he regards the reading of the Bible as a kind of discipline. In yet another instance, a teacher during her class discussion said if marriage same-sex marriage is permissible, then it should also be permitted to marry a dog.

In a statement, the district said that these events occurred over a number of years and “had not been brought to the district’s attention.” Mark Mayer of the ODE, responsible for complaints and appeals, said that the concerned students didn’t have a choice but to acquiesce the building administrator's brand of punishment. Such punishments, the statement continued, had a “chilling effect on the LGBTQ students” who wanted to complain through the complaint process of the district.

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