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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