Alex Blaze

Principal Physically Attacks Student for Advocating GSA

Filed By Alex Blaze | October 05, 2011 3:00 PM | comments

Filed in: Living
Tags: GSA, LGBT, Maurice Moser, principal, school, Tennessee

A principal physically attacked a student for advocating a GSA in school in Tennessee:

Chris Sigler wore a homemade T-shirt to school last Tuesday that read, "Gay Straight Alliance: We've Got Your Back," according to the American Civil Liberties Union, which is assisting Sigler and other students in the matter. Though he was told to cover up his shirt that day, he wore the shirt again the following Friday.

Principal Maurice Moser came to Sigler's economic class in the middle of an exam, and demanded that all other students leave the room. Sigler's sister Jessica refused to leave. Both siblings said Moser grabbed Chris's arm, shoved him against a wall, and chest-bumped him several times, while asking, "Who's the big man now?" The attack ended when Sigler's mother arrived at the school to find Moser leaning over her son, shouting in his face. Moser eventually agreed not to formally suspend Chris, stipulating that the student leave the school grounds for the remainder of the day.

From what I've read, it isn't clear if the principal got violent because of the gay issue or an authority issue. In schools it's important to maintain order and a principal, many of whom have never been teachers and often don't have much experience handling willful disobedience, might get frustrated because he doesn't have the skills necessary to handle such a situation. (I don't know this principal's work history; he might just be out of control.)

If the events happened as reported, it's odd that the principal would ask all the other students to leave instead of asking the one student he wanted to talk to to step out into the hall. The only reason I can see for him wanting to be alone in the room with a student is if he was planning to beat him up all along.

The idea that if you break a rule, no matter how small, then you deserve any and all punishment that comes your way is very much in vogue at the moment, and other students who were on the receiving end of this behavior may have been told to shape up instead of complaining. The fact that this student wasn't doing anything wrong makes his case more sympathetic, but it doesn't change that fact that the principal's behavior was unwarranted no matter what the situation was. Since people don't just get the idea one day to beat someone up on the job to prove a point, I'd imagine other students may come forward with similar stories.

Unless it really was the gay issue that broke this man's brain and made him want to beat a student up. Who knows. Either way, he shouldn't still be in charge of this school.

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Two interesting posts today on people attacking, yelling, loosing it with gay young people.

With the principal I think it's more important to get the school board involved and take action rather than the ACLU. This principal sounds unable to control his methods of discipline and is likely a danger to all rule breakers (in his mind) at the school. Wearing t-shirts and a LGBT club does not sound like the real solution.

The other post on the son being attacked by his dad-pastor at church. Sure it's wrong and that church picnic should not be on anyone's list, but at some point if you are an adult (I'm not talking about kids being thrown out of a home) and your family brings fights - just stay away if you can, it's not worth it no matter the issue.

Sometimes the only way to get the school board to care is to get the ACLU and lawyers involved. There had to have been warning signs, since this incident sounds like the tip of an iceberg.

From the fact that he had the other kids leave the classroom instead of taking this kid into the hall makes me think that the attack was premeditated. I teach high school and every high school I've been in has security cameras in the hallways but not in the classrooms, with the exception of one charter school I worked at for a couple years which also had cameras in the classroom. I've never been in a school that didn't have security cameras, even in rural Indiana. If he did intend to assault the student, then he was probably trying to avoid being caught on camera by doing it in an empty classroom instead of the hallway.

Not a bad take on the planning going on in this man's mind.