Haywood County High School principal Dorothy Bond is under fire for a series of controversial remarks students say she made against gay and pregnant teens at the Tennessee school, telling pregnant girls that their life is over and gay students that they were going to hell.
'She told me not to kiss my girlfriend.'
According to Amber Wittiemore, a student at Haywood County High School, Principal Bond began a meeting with students by discussing public displays of affection (PDA). She told the kids that PDA between same-sex couples could result in 60-day suspensions, alternative school assignments and even expulsion, none of which is a part of the school's current policy on PDA.
But Bond wasn't through yet.
She turned around and she directly pointed to the gay people and said, if you're gay you're going to hell and if you're pregnant, you're life is over,” Whittiemore told ABC News.
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Whittiemore wasn't there to hear Bond's comments. She heard about the meeting from her friend, who identifies as a member of the LGBT community.
Whittiemore says her friend, who wished to remain anonymous, called her in tears, saying, She told me not to kiss my girlfriend.
'You're not welcome in Haywood.'
Think Progress reports that members of the Haywood community say the principal has a history of controversial and offensive remarks. At one assembly, she allegedly said that students who were pregnant or gay were not welcome at Haywood County High School.
Local parent Tony Snipes, outraged by Principal Bond's recent remarks, told ABC News that she once went after his son for braiding his hair when she was at Sunny Hill.
At an assembly, she told the young men that if they are sitting between the legs of a girl getting their hair braided for a few hours, they must be gay, Snipes said. “That's not her role. Her role as educator, as principal, is to encourage them regardless of their circumstances or situations.
“With remarks she made, I personally believe she does not need to be a principal in Haywood County Schools anymore, Snipes added.If you're pregnant or homosexual, [she's saying that] you're not welcome in Haywood County High School.
Parents have also reported Bond telling gay students that they are not on God's path, and that they are “ruining their lives.”
“Why? That's what I want to know, local resident Lawanda Parsons fumed. Why?”
'I'm behind her 100 percent.'
Haywood High School graduate Brittany Siler agrees that her old principal crossed a line, though she still believes Bond to be a very nice lady.
“Something should happen,” she told ABC. “I don't say fire her or anything else...but she shouldn't have done it that way.”
Not everyone in the small Tennessee town, however, agrees that Principal Bond has done anything unreasonable. ABC News reports that many of the Haywood residents they interviewed felt the principal had done nothing wrong.
Only one, however, Jeff Hooper, would go on-camera to show his support.
“I'm behind her, I'm behind her 100 percent,” he said. “Whatever she said, she loves those kids. She taught them from the ground up; she has their best interest at heart.
'Students have a right to be who they are.'
Members of the Haywood County School District have taken no action against Principal Bond so far. The Associate Superintendent now claims the complaints are unfounded.
The Human Rights Campaign (HRC), however, the nation's largest gay rights advocate, has called on Dr. Marlon D. King, the Haywood County Schools superintendent, to investigate the incident. The ACLU is also calling on the school district both to issue a statement condemning the remarks and to take action to ensure that it does not happen again.”
“Students have the right to be who they are at school,” Amanda Goad, staff attorney with the ACLU LGBT Project, told The Nashville Scene.
“LGBT students and pregnant and parenting students have just as much right to complete their education as any other student, but too often they face significant barriers or outright discrimination.
Snipes, meanwhile, said he called Dr. King himself as soon as he heard about the story.
Dr. King said he would talk with the principal, and the next day, a response was passed on. I'm sorry if I offended you, Snipes said Principal Bond told him. But my view is still the same: you [gay people and pregnant teens] are not welcome here.
That, he told ABC News, was totally inappropriate.
Watch the ABC segment on Principal Bond's controversial statements: