A 17-year-old senior Chris Sigler at Sequoyah High School was reportedly shoved, bumped in the chest and verbally harassed by his principal last week for wearing a T-shirt in support of efforts to establish a gay-straight alliance (GSA) club on campus. In a separate instance, also related to starting a gay/straight alliance at the same school, student Nathan Carroll, a senior, was threatened with suspension after attempts to form a Gay Straight alliance (GSA). The man responsible? Principal Maurice Moser. Maurice Moser, has a history that is publicly known for an anti-gay bent and has abused his authority long enough. In the most recent instance of this principle actively engaging in gay bullying, Chris Sigler states that Moser told him to cover up his shirt that day, he wore the shirt again the following Friday which is when his principal, the man who is responsible for children and their well being attacked him, verbally and physically after trying to clear out witnesses in a classroom. The message on the shirt was not even remotely vulgar or inappropriate and read: "Gay Straight Alliance: We've Got Your Back."
Principal Maurice Moser came to Sigler's economic class in the middle of an exam, and demanded that all other students leave the room. Sigler's sister Jessica refused to leave. Both siblings said Moser grabbed Chris's arm, shoved him against a wall, and chest-bumped him several times, while asking, "Who's the big man now?" The attack ended when Sigler's mother arrived at the school to find Moser leaning over her son, shouting in his face. Moser eventually agreed not to formally suspend Chris, stipulating that the student leave the school grounds for the remainder of the day.
The family filed a report about the incident with local law enforcement, and the ACLU is demanding that the school district declare in writing that students can wear clothing that peacefully express an opinion. The organization plans to file a lawsuit if steps to make amends for the assault are not made.
“All I want is to have a GSA at my school to help stop the bullying against gays and lesbians and their friends who support them,” Sigler said in an ACLU statement Tuesday. “The shirt was a way to use my voice and show my support for the club. The way I was treated shows even more why we need a GSA here.”
For the last ten years we have dealt with children who are gay, boys and girls alike, who have felt they are not wanted by their own families, have no protection in schools or in their churches. This man's job as an educator is to stand up for the children in his charge. As a Tennessee resident and the cousin of a school teacher, I have seen what a teacher is supposed to be. A guide, a paragon of truth and knowledge, kindness and understanding. This man has abused his power in such a gross manner that the bond between teacher and student has been shattered forever. His actions are inexcusable. They must not be allowed. If his sister had not been there and his parent's stepped in, how much further would the assault have gone? What if this was your child?
I challenge the Monroe County Board of Education to step up to the plate and fire Maurice Moser. He has corrupted what it means to be an educator. Stop the bullying. Stop the abuse. Stop this man from having access to your children and bullying them.
Sign this now if you agree that the deaths of children who are bullied have gone on long enough. It must end now. It will end now. Stand up for your children parents.
They are our future. What will you teach them if you let this man stay on? Make your voice heard today.
After all, if you don't speak up, who will speak up for your children when it is too late and they are gone?