In a story from five years ago, principal Daphne Beasley compared her students to diamonds.
“And they just need to be polished a little bit,” she said.
She’s now accused of publicly humiliating them.
“It’s very hard to understand what was going on in the mind of this principal,” said Hedy Weinberg, Executive Director of the ACLU of Tennessee.
As Memphis Action News 5 was one of the first to report, the ACLU is taking aim after Beasley compiled a “list of couples, including homo couples.”
Among the students on the list were two boys who had just started dating. The mother of one of them claims Beasley told her she didn’t like gay people and would not tolerate them at Hollis F. Price Middle High, located on the campus of LeMoyne-Owen College.
“It’s unacceptable behavior to out students to their families, their classmates, and their teachers,” said Weinberg.
We spoke with several Memphis school board members who did not want to do on-camera interviews on a potential legal matter. However, that doesn’t mean they’re not talking. In fact, more than one told us they’re outraged and believe “heads should roll.”
That could mean Ms. Beasley and possibly others.
Our attempts to reach Beasley at work and at home were not successful.
We spoke with one of the two students who was “outed.” He told us Ms. Beasley basically ruined his life. Meantime, the school district has until next Friday to meet a number of demands. Those include compensation and an apology.
One of the young men, Nicholas, an 11th grader who just made the Dean’s List, spoke with Eyewitness News Everywhere.
“It was actually frightening to see a list with my name on it where not just other teachers could see but students as well,” said Nicholas, an 11th grader who just made the Dean’s List, to Eyewitness News Everywhere.
Nicholas says his teachers and other students treat him differently as a result of of the incident and that both he and Andrew have had to deal with verbal assaults. One of Nicholas’ teachers even denied him to go on a trip to New Orleans to help rebuild homes because he would “embarrass” the school by engaging in gay affection.
“I really feel that my personal privacy was invaded,” Nicholas says. “I mean, Principal Beasley called my mother and outed me to my mother!”
About Hollis F. Price Middle College
Hollis F. Price Middle College High School is a Memphis City School, located on the historic campus of LeMoyne-Owen College. It is designed under the Early College High School Initiative where students can earn both a high school diploma and two years of college credit toward a bachelor’s degree. Hollis F. Price Middle College also has the distinction and recognition of being the first Early College located on a historically black college or university.
Hollis F. Price Middle College is an Early College designed for students who may be underrepresented in a traditional setting, but have the academic potential and are willing to accept the challenges of a rigorous high school and college curriculum. Students will have full academic schedules consisting of high school and college courses. It is a “school of opportunities” for students who would like to take advantage of a dual enrollment program in a small nurturing academic environment. Financial and other barriers to college are removed.
Students will be enrolled for five years so that they will successfully earn both the high school diploma and accumulate the sixty hours of college credit. Summer school is included in this program. It is not an alternative school for disruptive students or a charter school.
All students who are enrolled in Hollis F. Price Middle College will enroll in the traditional Memphis City Schools’ courses and will be enrolled in LeMoyne-Owen College’s general core curriculum within a five year period.
Contacting Principal Daphne Beasley
Hollis F. Price Middle College
807 Walker Ave