A Georgia student has begun a federal lawsuit against administrators of Alpharetta High School for removing him from the position of student body president after he proposed gay-friendly changes to prom.
Reuben Lack, 18, was removed a month ago and according to him, it was due to the fact that he suggested that the titles of prom king and queen be altered to more gender-neutral titles, such as prom court.
The teacher moderators were visibly agitated, Lack told 11Alive. They were very, very uncomfortable about it. To the point where they were almost angry.
Lack told The Associated Press he was told by school officials Feb. 8 that he was immediately removed from his position for pushing personal projects and advocating policy changes.
Of course, they didn't come right out and say 'we're removing you for exercising your First Amendment rights,' Lack's attorney, James Radford Jr., told 11Alive. This issue is entirely about First Amendment rights. All of us have our disagreements about the issue of gay rights, gay marriage. This case is about the right of a young man who's a student at a public high school to speak his mind and to advocate for causes that are important to him.
Radford told The AP Lack tried to work with the school to find out why he was removed. But they've never given him a specific reason why he's been removed and why they're not willing to work with him to bring him back, Radford said.
The lawsuit was filed this week in U.S. District Court against the Fulton County School System, Alpharetta High principal Shannon Kersey and faculty advisors Emily Reiser and Michelle Werre. Lack requests an injunction reinstating him as student body president.
A Fulton County school system spokeswoman released a statement saying, The student was essentially a poor leader. He behaved in manner not becoming of student body president including but not limited to rescheduling meetings with little notice, directly going against the instructions of the faculty advisors, calling out students on social media for not siding with him on votes or issues, not participating in school council functions, and misrepresenting the status of projects.
Student council vice president Michael Danan told 11Alive Lack's removal was unrelated to Lack's prom proposal and the student council voted against Lack's proposal.
If it was based on anything else, I would have been removed earlier, Lack told CBS Atlanta. It happened two weeks after the proposal. The idea of prom king and queen originally was something that would not be respectful to gay couples.