19-year-old school graduate Lance Sanderson has launched legal action against Christian Brothers High School (CBHS) in Memphis, Tennessee. He says that straight boys from his all-boys schools are allowed to bring girlfriends to the homecoming, and he was not allowed to attend it with boyfriend. The suit cites “breach of contract, intentional infliction of emotional distress, negligent training” and a violation of anti-discrimination protections. Despite the school’s private status, Sanderson’s lawyers say it is in receipt of federal government funding.
One of his lovers tells reporters: “We have confirmation that CBHS receives federal funding and also potentially state funding for certain programs at the school. That makes them responsible for following the letter of the law under Title IX.”
In a Change.org petition Mr Sanderson launched previously, he wrote: “I’ve been out since my freshman year of high school, and I’ve been a great student as well as a photographer for most of my school’s events.
“When I first started to float the idea of bringing a same-sex date to homecoming, I was told that my school doesn’t discriminate by a school official. But when that school official left over the summer, I was met with harsh opposition by my school. One administrator told me that even though some people interpreted Pope Francis’s teachings on the issue as meaning they should support same-sex couples, these people are, ‘not the authority to which Christian Brothers High School is accountable’. And now my school is making daily announcements across the whole school, saying that students can’t bring same-sex dates from other schools… I just want to bring a date of my choice to homecoming like the rest of my friends and classmates. I’m not asking for special treatment. I’m just asking for respect, and the chance to make my last homecoming a truly memorable experience.”