WASHINGTON, DC – More than 80,000 people have joined a campaign on Change.org created by the Gay-Straight Alliance Network’s Make It Better Project and the Tennessee Equality Project, calling for the principal of Sequoyah High School in Madisonville, Tennessee to be investigated for an alleged physical and verbal assault on a student who supported a Gay-Straight Alliance club at the school.
After denying more than 150 student requests to establish a GSA at Sequoyah High School, Principal Maurice Moser allegedly assaulted a student, 17-year-old senior Chris Sigler, who wore a homemade T-shirt to school that read ‘GSA: We’ve got your back.’ Principal Moser reportedly shoved Sigler, grabbed his arm, and bumped him in the chest while shouting “Who’s the big man now!” at the student.
GSA Network and the Tennessee Equality Project, two organizations working to build safe schools for all students, launched the campaign on Change.org after allegations of Principal Moser’s assault were made public. GSA Network had already been monitoring the situation at Sequoyah and working with the American Civil Liberties Union to advance student efforts to establish a GSA club.
According to the ACLU, authorities at Sequoyah High School have until this Tuesday to respond to an ACLU letter inquiring about efforts to start a gay-straight alliance at the school. “This horrific incident is exactly why there needs to be a GSA club at Sequoyah High School, and why youth and adults need to work together to make it better for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and allied youth,” said Laura Valdez, Interim Executive Director of the Gay-Straight Alliance Network, which co-launched the petition on Change.org with the Tennessee Equality Project. “All students deserve a safe learning environment free from discrimination and the threat of physical violence. Principal Moser’s opposition to a GSA club is not only illegal, but his alleged actions against one of his own students demand a full investigation by local law enforcement authorities.”
The campaign’s growing popularity is likely to escalate pressure on the Monroe County Sheriff’s Department to fully investigate Principal Moser’s alleged assault. So far the Sheriff’s Department has refused to interview Chris Sigler’s sister, who witnessed the incident, or his mother, who witnessed Principal Moser screaming at her son after he wore the homemade T-shirt.
“It’s remarkable what the GSA Network and the Tennessee Equality Project have accomplished in starting this campaign,” said Michael Jones, senior organizer for Change.org. “In just a few short days, more than 80,000 people from around the country have joined with these two organizations to call for safe schools in Madisonville. Change.org is about empowering anyone, anywhere to demand action on the issues that matter to them, and this campaign is the latest example of organizations and people across the country using people-powered platforms to stand up for safe schools for gay and straight students alike.”
Sign-on to the campaign Live signature totals from the GSA Network’s and Tennessee Equality Project’s campaign: http://www.change.org/petitions/investigate-harassment-of-lgbtq-youth-at-sequoyah-high-school-allow-a-gsa?te=seia More online For more information on the GSA Network, the Make It Better Project, and the Tennessee Equality Project, please visit: http://www.gsanetwork.org, http://www.makeitbetterproject.org and http://www.tnep.org. http://www.change.org/about