High schooler Lance Sanderson suspended for attempting to bring same-sex date to homecoming

Yeah, this’ll definitely make all the bad publicity go away.

Lance Sanderson, a student at Christian Brothers High School who was previously prohibited from bringing a male date to their homecoming dance, arrived at school this morning to find out that he had been suspended for the week.

He hadn’t broken any rules — when CBHS told him he couldn’t bring his date to homecoming, he complied, instead opting to skip the dance altogether. Instead, the school suspended him simply because they didn’t want him around. In part because of all the bad press they’d been getting after not letting him bring his date to the dance.

As Sanderson wrote in a letter to his school’s administration:

Lance Sanderson, via Twitter

Lance Sanderson, via Twitter

Today I arrived at school around 6:30am. I sat down to complete my assignments for the classes I planned on attending today. At 7:30am, I was speaking to a teacher when an administrator walked into the room and told me to gather my books and come to the office.

When I arrived at the office I was told that the administration “had 890 other students to worry about” and could not deal with me. I was told to go home for the week. I said goodbye to a few teachers and students, then drove home.

As Sanderson said in a conversation with New Now Next:

I am disappointed that I am unable to sit in class today. While many assignments can be reached online, I was going to take two tests today and an in class timed essay. Tomorrow at CBHS, I was going to meet with admissions representatives from around the country (they do not visit often). I hope to be welcomed back into a classroom setting soon.

Not only has Sanderson not broken any rules, let alone any that would warrant a weeklong suspension, CBHS has likely violated its own Code of Conduct, which clearly states that (emphasis added), “All CBHS students should feel safe, secure and accepted regardless of color, race, background, appearance, popularity, athletic ability, intelligence, personality, sexual orientation, religion or nationality.”

Additionally, discriminatory behavior is listed as the first item in its Student Handbook’s list of behaviors that violate the “spirit of charity and fraternity” it takes pride in cultivating:

CBHS considers the following to be serious failures in that spirit of charity and fraternity:

1. Any words to or about another student’s past, present or future that can be taken as discriminatory or hurtful

It appears that one of three things must be true: Either CBHS’s administration didn’t read the Code of Conduct they expect students to abide by, they disagree with it or they feel it doesn’t apply to them. After all, it’s easy to say you don’t discriminate on the basis of sexual orientation as long as you don’t think you’ll ever have to follow through on that declaration.

As CBHS is a private high school, there probably isn’t much Sanderson can do in order to undo the suspension. If they want to arbitrarily decide that a gay student should be sent home for exposing a tension between their bigotry and their self-professed acceptance, that’s their prerogative.

But they should welcome the bad press they get as a result.


Jon Green graduated from Kenyon College with a B.A. in Political Science and high honors in Political Cognition. He worked as a field organizer for Congressman Tom Perriello in 2010 and a Regional Field Director for President Obama's re-election campaign in 2012. Jon writes on a number of topics, but pays especially close attention to elections, religion and political cognition. Follow him on Twitter at @_Jon_Green, and on Google+. .

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32 Responses to “High schooler Lance Sanderson suspended for attempting to bring same-sex date to homecoming”

  1. Taz Man says:

    The queers’ need to stay home in the closet! 95% of the straight population are getting tired of these perverts’ trying to push their abhorrent lifestyle on those who don’t agree with them, especially on religious grounds. The sodomite in the White House opened up Pandora’s Box; it needs to be shut–and NOW! Homosexuality isn’t love…it’s lust–period! It’s a culture of death. It’s a lifestyle that leads one straight to HELL! And, that’s the cold-hard truth!!!

  2. Indigo says:

    I thought about that for a while and all I got was, No such thing.

  3. Indigo says:

    Wawasee

  4. Ol' Hippy says:

    I just hope this young man’s future isn’t compromised by the actions of the school’s administrators and if so, I hope he sues them for all the school has. I’m so glad I was never forced or encouraged to go to a religious school. Oh, I’m an atheist who thinks the religious extreme right are the biggest bunch of hypocrites ever and needs to start to live in the 21st century instead of the 19th.

  5. jeffB says:

    I wonder what the people who administer the endowment have to say about this. Private, religiously affiliated schools are often required to adhere to the principles of the religion as embodied in the code of conduct. If they violate the code of conduct they inherently violate the terms of their own endowment.

  6. 2karmanot says:

    Iona

  7. WildwoodGuy says:

    Thanks Hue-Man for the information and the link. Your question is certainly valid and although I have asked my own (state) representative why this is so, I have gotten only evasive non-answers or simpleminded excuses that no serious person would buy. I was educated in (mostly) public schools and see the funding drying up there as it is siphoned off to private (both religious and non) schools and find this depressing and disturbing.

  8. Nelson Kerr says:

    I I was hi parents i would be getting my kid out the othe hand os those bigots as soon as possible

  9. Hue-Man says:

    Alberta funds private schools, generally, at 70% of the per student amount of public schools. https://education.alberta.ca/parents/choice/private.aspx

    In effect, the government funding is pure profit for the private school until the next teacher has to be hired or the school has to be expanded. Wealthy parents are able to finance programs and field trips that “ordinary” students can only dream of.

    Public schools are squeezed by government cutbacks, declining student populations, aging facilities with asbestos issues, and, in B.C., seismic upgrades. Schools are downloading costs on students – the most recent news story was a school that had students supply copy paper for teaching materials to be distributed to them! – and are required to support special needs students that private schools refuse to take.

    I’ll repeat the question I’ve asked in the context of “religious” universities: Why aren’t these commercial activities subject to the same anti-discrimination laws as other businesses? In the case of publicly-funded private schools, there is even less justification for discrimination.

  10. WildwoodGuy says:

    Absolutely! Not certain how the funding of private schools is accomplished in Canada… but here in the US, it is funded, at least in part if not fully, by US taxpayers. It is difficult for me to accept that just because something calls itself a ‘charter’ or ‘private’ school yet still collects funds, whether in the form of vouchers, grants or some other alternative, they can be exempt from Title VII or IX protections. In my opinion, if the school, by whatever name, accepts one cent of public funds, all state protections must apply!

  11. TheAngryFag says:

    Maybe, but if he’s suspended for nothing and I was his parent, I’d be raising all seven levels of Hell already.

  12. Houndentenor says:

    Maybe this is a lesson not to trust the world of anti-gay organizations that claim they don’t discriminate.

  13. Houndentenor says:

    I’m not defending the school, but what the fuck were the parents thinking sending an openly gay teenager to a Catholic school? This was always a danger because the RCC is an unapologetically anti-gay organization.

  14. JeffAtMinet says:

    St. Viator HS, in the suburbs of Chicago. At the time it was IMO pretty liberal, at least in the “peace and justice” part of the spectrum.

  15. MichaelS says:

    I agree. Very substantial damages, I think…
    If the school had refused to state up front that they don’t discriminate based on sexual orientation (as the University of Notre Dame refuses to state, as an aside…) then they might have a defense. But they have cost him dearly, by violating their own rules, upon which he and his family relied when deciding to send him there and paying their tuition fees.

  16. RepubAnon says:

    I vote for a fraud lawsuit as well – and breach of contract. After all, he paid his money for the private school, based in part in reliance upon the school’s non-discrimination policy. They breached their duty to provide Sanderson with the education he paid for, and probably deliberately hid the fact that their alleged anti-discrimination policy was a sham.

  17. Indigo says:

    He prefers that the topic not come up.

  18. Indigo says:

    Ha! Sacred Heart? Holy Cross? Crosiers? the list is endless and they all think they’re unique but they’re all cut from the same cardboard.

  19. Butch1 says:

    I see major grounds for a lawsuit for this young man. Yanking him out of class like that for absolutely no real reason because the administrator has bigger worries to deal with than “him” is rather insulting. Who complained about him that they wanted him removed? He may not only be able to sue the institution, but also have this dolt fired as well.

  20. iamthebest says:

    We’re going to need a big dump for all the Bibles and Korans and whatever other nonsense books they turn to.

  21. Nelson Kerr says:

    he parents and the kid probably want to expose the scumbags at the school using the Streisand effect in a good cause.. After all nothing in this makes anyone but the school look bad

  22. BeccaM says:

    This sounds like a pretty major hit to Sanderson’s academic records, and seeing as how the school has admitted he did not actually break any of their rules — AND because the school claims (falsely) they don’t discriminate on the basis of sexual orientation — he might have grounds for a civil damages case.

    Presumably Sanderson and/or his parents are paying a significant tuition for him to attend this private school. That right there might provide an opening for a breach of contract complaint.

  23. JeffAtMinet says:

    “obscure order of semi-jesuitical priests” sounds like the ones who ran my Catholic HS.

  24. 2karmanot says:

    Oh don’t I know.

  25. 2karmanot says:

    But, but, the Popenfuhrer doesn’t like teh gay.

  26. Hue-Man says:

    Alberta chipped away at private school – often religious schools – insularity this year.

    “The law, which passed third reading Tuesday evening, forces all schools in the province to allow gay-straight alliances (GSAs) on school property at a student’s request. It will apply to all public, private and charter schools when [it] takes effect June 1.”

    http://news.nationalpost.com/news/canada/gay-straight-alliances-now-mandatory-in-alberta-were-no-longer-that-redneck-roughneck-province

    From a policy perspective, it’s hard to justify one rule for public schools and another for private. Are private school students less deserving of state protections?

  27. Andrew C Livingston says:

    That a school is public or private is meaningless when it comes to unfair dismissal. If he sues, he’ll win. Unless they can point to a “rule” that has been broken by the lad, they are in deed defenceless.

    It’s time to take the trash out folks.

  28. TheAngryFag says:

    Where are his parents in all of this?

  29. Phil B. says:

    Well, he could choose to go to a private school that isn’t run by bigots.

  30. Indigo says:

    That’s the way I remember them. Even the obscure order of semi-jesuitical priests who taught me thought they were extremists.

  31. nicho says:

    Yes. Even when I was a youngster, the “Christian” Brothers were seen to be the skinheads of religious orders.

  32. Indigo says:

    The Bigoted Brothers have a long history of bigotry.

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