The ACLU/SC went to federal court to protect the rights of gay and lesbian high school students in Garden Grove. Charlene Nguon, a straight-A student in the top 5 percent of her class, was singled out for punishment after she hugged her girlfriend on campus. School administrators suspended her from school and outed her to her parents. She lost a chance at National Honor Society.
They then gave her an ultimatum: Either transfer to another school at the end of your junior year, or your girlfriend will have to. When Nguon moved miles away from her neighborhood Santiago High School, her grades slipped. Nguon graduated in June.
The lawsuit seeks to create new school policies that ensure equal treatment of lesbian and gay students.
During the first day of the trial former students testified that while public displays of affection are common at Santiago High School, what happened to Nguon was not. When the case was filed last December, Nguon said she couldn't understand why she was targeted. "We were singled out and disciplined just because we are two girls," she decided.