15 year old Flagler Palm Coast High School student Luke Herbert (pictured left) who was harassed and bullied for being gay by both students and one of his teachers Floyd Binkley who told other students that by storing their soda in the same refidgerator as Lukes would turn them gay with the help of the ACLU has demanded and won public apologies from both the school and teacher involved.
“I reported the bullying to the administration but it never seemed to change anything. I felt alone and it made me stop wanting to go to school,” said Luke. “My breaking point came when one of my teachers started telling anti-gay jokes and mocking me in front of the entire class.”
After attempting unsuccessfully to change classes, Luke quit going to school two months ago. In the meantime, Luke’s mother hired Phil Chanfrau, an attorney, the American Civil Liberties Union got involved, the school investigated, and earlier today, the ACLU and School Board Attorney Kristy Gavin said a settlement was reached: Binkley will publicly apologize, though Luke is not returning to FPC this year. He’ll continue his work through Florida Virtual School, and will have the option of either returning to FPC next fall, transferring to Matanzas or continuing with virtual school.
School officials, according to the ACLU, acknowledged that Luke’s harassment had not been handled as swiftly as it should have been and several missteps had occurred: a conference between him and a guidance counselor was also misinterpreted as a confidential conversation, rather than a call to action, which caused a delay in the school’s response.
The district officially reprimanded the teacher who harassed Luke in class, in writing—but no suspension—and agreed to a series of actions to make amends for the impact the bullying had on Luke and prevent any further bullying and harassment of Flagler County School District students. The district agreed to recommend that the school board add protections for “sexual orientation” and “gender identity or expression” to the Student Code of Conduct and the school district’s bullying and harassment policy
Binkley, a 21-year veteran, has apologized privately to Luke. But the student asked that the apology, like the offense, be made publicly. That will take place by way of a video public service announcement featuring Binkley
Bravo to Luke and the ACLU for making an example out of the teacher and the pushing the Flagler Palm Coast High School towork on this problem and with Luke.
Where I personally would like to see the teacher Floyd Binkley fired (and punlically flogged) for the harassment he heaped on this poor kid. Public shaming is good start. Maybe when the ugliness of these people on the inside is held up for all the world to see in the light of day then and only then wil all this insanity stop.
MORE examples like this need to be made.