Magnolia Junior High School in Moss Point, Mississippi is under fire from the Southern Poverty Law Center after a former student there accused teachers and classmates of harassment.
Destin Holmes, 16, is now home schooled but attended Moss Point for one semester. During her time there, Destin — who identifies as a lesbian — claims she was subject to bullying not only from her fellow classmates, but from teachers and even the principal.
According to Holmes, she was referred to as “he” and “it” by staff and refused access to the girls’ bathroom. During one lesson in which boys and girls were divided into teams, she was forced to be by herself.
“[The teacher] told me since she didn’t know what I was, I should be on a team of my own,” Holmes said at an SPLC press conference. When she tried to report harassment to the principal, she says she was told, “I don’t want a dyke in this school.”
Holmes then wrote a letter to the SPLC, which launched an investigation of its own. The SPLC found widespread evidence of anti-LGBT bullying by staff and students, while victims were reportedly told by school officials to “suck it up.”
The SPLC responded with a letter to the school demanding an end to the bullying and threatening a federal lawsuit if no action is taken.
”Students face enough obstacles in school without also enduring violence and abuse for simply being different,” said SPLC attorney Sam Wolfe. “They are entitled by law to attend school in an environment where they are not singled out and tormented because of their sexual orientation or gender nonconformity.”
Mass Point School District said in a statement on Friday that it takes “allegations concerning bullying and harassment very seriously” though it is “unable to discuss the allegations at this time due to it being an ongoing investigation.”