QUEER VOICES
03/06/2013 03:01 pm ET | Updated Feb 02, 2016

Amber Hatch, Florida Teen, Files 'Day Of Silence' Lawsuit Against School After Suspension

A Florida-based teen has reportedly filed legal action against her high school after she was suspended after defying administrators and participating in the national "Day of Silence" in support of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) youth.

The Broward-Palm Beach New Times reports that 15-year-old Amber Hatch has sued DeSoto County High School's Principal Shannon Fusco, dean of students and local school board in Fort Myers, Fla.

The lawsuit apparently claims that Hatch had asked Fusco for permission to participate in the 2012 "Day of Silence" on April 20, 2012. Fusco is said to have told Hatch, "Peaceful protests are against district policy."

After appealing three times to school board hoping to rescind the decision, Hatch was allegedly "warned" by Fusco that if she attended school on April 20 and was quiet, "there would be disciplinary consequences." When she showed up to school anyway wearing a T-shirt that read, "DOS April 20, 2012: Shhhhh," she was asked by the school's dean of students if she preferred in-school or out-of-school suspension.

You can read the full report here.

Last year's "Day of Silence" drew students from more than 8,000 U.S. schools, all of whom took a "vow of silence" in their respective classrooms to mark the occasion, according to officials at the Gay, Lesbian & Straight Education Network (GLSEN). Meanwhile, lesbian country singer Chely Wright and gay MSNBC anchor Thomas Roberts were among the public figures to express their support.

In February, a Connecticut high school reportedly allowed a student to wear a T-shirt wearing an anti-gay message, a move that was supported by the state's American Civil Liberties Union, according to the Associated Press.

CORRECTION: An earlier headline incorrectly identified the student as April Hatch, not Amber.

Unusual School Suspensions And Cases
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