Pell City High girls denied LGBTQ float for homecoming
Pell City High School is back in the spotlight again. This time two of their female students are accusing the school district of discriminating against their sexual orientation. The accusations come after their LGBTQ float was left out of the homecoming parade.
Pell City homecoming is October 27th. And this year 16 year old Brianna Phillips and 15 year old Haley Youngblood wanted the gay and lesbian students to be included.
"The thought of having an LGBTQ float in the parade shows that we are not different from anyone else," says Haley.
An LGBTQ float to represent the lesbian and gay students at their school. Brianna says she filled out the form, got 110 signatures, and presented them to the principal.
"He was agreeing with it and saying 'Yeah y'all can have a float.' But, when I said it was an LGBTQ float, he said 'No. Stop.'"
Brianna and Haley are now accusing the school district of discriminating against students based on their sexual orientation.
"You shouldn't be afraid to be yourself," says Brianna.
"Love is love," says Haley.
The girls say they never expected their request to get so much attention. They say they appreciate the support from fellow students, but not everyone agrees with them.
"Somebody wrote a note on the girls' bathroom that gay isn't okay and that it's not right," says Brianna.
"And it hurts," says Haley. "But, I've gotten to that certain point where i'm...not letting anyone get me down."
Both girls say their parents know their lesbian and bisexual status, and are supportive of them. On the other hand, they tell me there are hundreds of LGBTQ students at their school; and many are afraid to come out -- fearing they won't be accepted.
"Their parents don't even know they're gay, and they are like, 'If my mom found out she would disown me!'"
While there will be no LGBTQ float in this year's Pell City High homecoming parade, Brianna and Haley say their fight to be included is not over. They have a petition on the website change.org. They are also asking Governor Kay Ivey for her support.
Pell City School District superintendent, Dr. Michael Barber, gave the following statement on this subject.
"The Pell City High School homecoming parade participation approval process was in existence prior to this event. Those participating in the parade must follow the existing guidelines and gain prior approval. Those participating in the parade must represent existing clubs and organizations that represent the academic curriculum of Pell City High School."