It is the most basic of affectionate gestures. But Blanche Ely High School in Pompano Beach, Florida, has banned two lesbian girls from holding hands as they walked to class and has threatened to suspend them over the incident.
The teenage girls, who are dating, claim that straight couples are allowed to hold hands and are also upset that school principal Karlton Johnson 'outed' them to their parents.
|Hands up: Two girls have been threatened with suspension for holding hands|
'He gave us a speech and then separated us before calling our parents, which was wrong. My mother already knew but my friend’s [mother] didn’t know she is into girls.'
The mother of one of the girls has accused the school of discrimination.
'Her and her friend was holding hands and the principal approached them from behind and removed their hands from being touched.'
Backed the principal: North Area Superintendent Sharon Airaghi said the school had done nothing wrong
The Rev Oneal Dozier, senior pastor of the Worldwide Christian Center Church in Pompano Beach, said: 'I am surprised there is not a clear policy that prohibits all kids from hugging, kissing or holding hands.'
Kris Drumm, director of Youth and Family for Sunshine Social Service Inc., said: 'I think that it’s a homophobic reaction from the principal because clearly they are not suspending boys and girls for holding hands, only gays.'
Student Body President Bderaiah Baker upheld the decision to ban hand-holding. She said: 'We’re supposed to be learning, not holding hands with our boyfriend or girlfriend or whatever the case may be.'
|Discrimination row: Blanche Ely High School, in Pompano Beach, Florida |
where students have been banned from holding hands