Kansas lesbian student gets justice versus homophobic school bus driver
A Kansas lesbian student, 8th-grader Izzy Dieker, faced off and won against a homophobic school bus driver and the principal of her school after an investigation.
Dieker won against them by speaking to media, which sparked a Title IX investigation into the matter.
Kansas lesbian student faces homophobic adults
While riding the regular school bus, Dieker was confronted by Kristi Gadino, the school bus driver, when the 14-year old girl told a friend on the bus that, “I’m a lesbian.”
Gadino immediately stopped the bus and told off Dieker for the use of “shockingly profane” language. The driver also ordered the young girl to sit in front of the bus as punishment, which the latter did.
However, a video recording of the incident showed that Dieker wasn’t swearing and that Gadino ignored the other boys and girls in the bus swearing heavily within earshot of kids as young as kindergartners.
Later on, North Lyon County Elementary School Principal Corey Wiltz suspended Dieker based on Gadino’s account.
A couple of weeks after the incident, Dieker spoke to local media outlets to air her side.
Homophobic incident sparks division in the school
In the wake of the principal’s move, three teachers, a social worker, a volleyball coach, and a cook resigned in support of Dieker.
Likewise, the school board fired a library aide that distributed rainbow pins for teachers to wear at school.
Because of the incident, some students harassed Dieker with homophobic comments during class. Dieker said this “kind of shocked me” as she had never encountered anti-LGBTQ hatred before.
Dieker said: “I understand not everybody’s gonna like it, because, you know, everybody has their own opinions on what they don’t like and whatever.”
“But I didn’t think it would get to this extent, especially at school, because you go there and you learn and you think that, ‘Oh, this is a safe place’,” she said.
Investigation backs Kansas lesbian student’s account
After Dieker’s family filed a Title IX complaint, the Kansas Association of School Boards (KASB) conducted an independent investigation with a lawyer reviewing the evidence.
The investigation concluded that Wiltz and Gadino punished Dieker because of their disdain for her sexual orientation. This was in violation of Title IX protections against discrimination on the basis of sex.
The school district hired an attorney to appeal the findings of the investigation, but they lost the appeal.
Because of this, the board accepted Gadino’s resignation. Wiltz had already left his position as principal earlier to accept a job at another school but lost the contract when the report was released.
In the wake of her win, Dieker said: “It made me really happy that the truth got out there, because Wiltz and the bus driver hadn’t been very truthful about the whole thing, and it was kind of messing up everything.”