'People who have been at our school know what the truth is'
NORTH BEND, Ore. - The high school principal reassigned from his post as part of a settlement between the district and the ACLU said he has treated "every student" with respect.
The agreement settled a potential lawsuit over alleged discrimination against LGBTQ students at North Bend High School.
"People who have been at our school know what the truth is and that speaks for itself," Principal Bill Lucero said.
The Oregon Department of Education investigated allegations that complaints from LGBTQ students about harassment may not have been handled properly. The state also cited a practice of having students read the Bible at school.
"With respect to the District treating students differently on the basis of sex and sexual orientation, there is substantial evidence to support the allegation that the District subjected LGBTQ students to separate or different rules of behavior, sanctions, or other treatment," the state wrote in a March letter to the district. "There is also substantial evidence to support the allegation that the use of a Bible to discipline students had a chilling effect on LGBTQ students' use of the District's complaint process."
The settlement between North Bend Schools and the ACLU of Oregon calls for Lucero to be reassigned and the school's resource officer to be replaced, among other stipulations.
Lucero said Thursday that he feels supported by students and the district. Several students carried signs that read "Free Bill" at the assembly.
"I believe every student should be treated with respect, and that's what I've done," he said. "This district is going to remain a great district, and we're just going to keep working and moving forward."
"Mr. Lucero has a really big impact on our school," Brianna Carder, the student body secretary, said, "and with everything going on with our school, we wanted to let the student body know that Lucero has done so much for us."
Carder said her experience as a student at North Bend is different from what's been reported about the culture there.
"Our student body is very acceptive, we support one another," she said. "We don't care what color, gender, sexuality."
"Our main concern as student body is to make sure everyone here is safe and comfortable," student body president Isaac Reyna said, "and as the school year is coming to an end and to feel proud to be part of the school."
District officials said a decision has not yet been made on Lucero's assignment, or his replacement.