An eight-grader in Kansas has been banned from her school district’s bus after telling another student that she’s a lesbian.
Izzy Dieker was overheard saying, “I’m a lesbian” by a bus driver for Americus School in North Lyon County District, who subsequently wrote her up for “inappropriate language,” NBC affiliate KSNT reports.
“Once I got home, my dad told me he got a call from the school that I was kicked off for saying ‘I’m a lesbian,'” Dieker told KSNT, adding that she is “openly lesbian” and her “whole class knows it.”
Dieker relies on the school bus for the 30 minute journey between her small town and Americus School, but her parents say the school’s administration refuses to discuss her ban.
Principal Corey Wiltz refused to respond to The Emporia Gazette‘s request for comment, while District Superintendent Bob Blair responded with a statement saying the district “takes all allegations of discrimination of any kind seriously and will respond meaningfully to any report of discrimination.”
An anonymous tipster told the Gazette that Wiltz was reportedly involved in banning Dieker from the bus.
“She’s 13 years old and these are adults acting like this towards her,” Tasha Cooper, Dieker’s mother, told KSNT. “We’ve had talks about other students calling her names and I expect that because they’re repeating what their parents say. But for the staff, the people that I trust her with, I was angry.”
Dieker’s classmates and even some of the school’s teachers have thrown their support behind her, with district teacher Michael Lanzrath telling KSNT that he has been handing out rainbow pins to show solidarity for Dieker’s cause.
“I really just wanted to let Izzy know that there are people that absolutely support her,” he said. “Our job as educators is to make sure that all our kids are taken care of. To us, all means all.”
Dieker and her parents highlighted that the bus driver’s response suggested a lack of proper training regarding LGBTQ issues, particularly in policing LGBTQ language around children.
“It made me upset to think that people go through this everyday,” Dieker said, “and also that kids are growing up thinking that it’s a horrible thing and they shouldn’t be talking about it at all when honestly it should be the other way around.”
Editor’s Note: This story has been updated to correct an error regarding communication between the school district and Dieker’s parents.
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