CBHS Sends Student Home After He Spoke Out Against Anti-Gay Policy


Lance Sanderson
  • Lance Sanderson
Lance Sanderson, the Christian Brothers High School (CBHS) senior who wasn't allowed to bring his male date to last Saturday's homecoming dance, was sent home from school on Monday morning. Sanderson said he was told by an administrator that the school staff "had 890 other students to worry about and could not deal with me."

Sanderson sent the Memphis Flyer a copy of a letter he wrote to the CBHS administration. Here is the letter:
Dear CBHS Administration,
Today I arrived at school around 6:30am. I sat down to complete my assignments for the classes I planned on attending today. At 7:30am, I was speaking to a teacher when an administrator walked into the room and told me to gather my books and come to the office. When I arrived at the office I was told that the administration “had 890 other students to worry about” and could not deal with me. I was told to go home for the week. I said goodbye to a few teachers and students, then drove home.

I am hurt by this exclusion. It goes against the Lasallian value of brotherhood that the school is supposed to stand for. You won’t let me dance with my date and you won’t let me go to class now either. I had hoped that today would be one for positive conversation going forward. Instead, I was sent home. I haven’t done anything wrong and haven’t hurt anybody. I want to be welcomed back to the school building today and I want this mean-spirited semi-suspension ended, so that I can do my classwork like anybody else.

As Martin Luther King Jr. once wrote from a Birmingham jail cell: “Let us all hope that the dark clouds of...prejudice will soon pass away and the deep fog of misunderstanding will be lifted from our fear drenched communities, and in some not too distant tomorrow the radiant stars of love and brotherhood will shine over our great nation with all their scintillating beauty.”

Lance Sanderson
Sanderson said the school isn't calling it a suspension, but they told him he was being sent home because the school was getting bad press. That press started last week after it was revealed that CBHS instituted a policy to prevent students at the all-male private Catholic school from bringing boys from other schools to the homecoming dance. CBHS declined to comment for this story.

After Sanderson asked to bring a boy from another school, CBHS "issued a policy on its website stating that 'CBHS students may attend the dance by themselves, with other CBHS students, or with a girl from another school. For logistical reasons, boys from other schools may not attend.'"

Sanderson launched a Change.org petition, and the Flyer posted a story about the situation last Wednesday. Within a day, the story had gone viral on national news and LGBT sites, including Towle Road, Wonkette, and Teen Vogue. This weekend, the CBHS Alumni Association held posters supporting Sanderson at the city's annual Mid-South Pride parade and festival.

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