Lance Sanderson, a gay high school senior at the Christian Brothers High School in Memphis, Tenn. petitioned to have the right to take a same-sex date to the homecoming dance once he was met with opposition by school administration. Besides earning national news coverage, the story earned celebrity support, and started Twitter hashtags like #LetLanceDance and #IStandWithLance helping the petition reach 25,000 signatures. Yet, CBHS didn’t budge and Sanderson would go on to skip the dance, which happened this Saturday. When he returned to class on Monday Sept. 28, Sanderson was sent home by school officials. 

Sanderson tweeted about the incident: 

Then he elaborated on it when speaking to WREG saying, “He started talking about [how] the press was bad for the school and it was a hit for the brothers. They said they had 890 other kids to worry about, and they didn’t want to deal with this right now, and I could do work from home and they're not going to mark my attendance, but they didn’t want me there." 

The petition, where this bad press stemmed from, detailed how one CBHS administrator said that although Pope Francis’ belief may be to support same-sex couples, the school would not do the same and even began to make daily announcements in school saying same-sex dates from other schools weren’t allowed at the dance as boys from other schools had never been allowed at the dances before. Sanderson wrote,

“I’ve been out since my freshman year of high school, and I've been a great student as well as a photographer for most of my school's events. When I first started to float the idea of bringing a same-sex date to homecoming, I was told that my school doesn't discriminate by a school official.

But when that school official left over the summer, I was met with harsh opposition by my school. One administrator told me that even though some people interpreted Pope Francis's teachings on the issue as meaning they should support same-sex couples, these people are, "not the authority to which Christian Brothers High School is accountable." And now my school is making daily announcements across the whole school, saying that students can't bring same-sex dates from other schools.”

Since Sanderson’s petition, CBHS has made moves to become LGBT-friendly by adding a gay Catholic alumnus as a school board advisor. The school released a statement saying, "We imagine our boys are uncomfortable being the center of attention and being exposed to the 'screaming' in social media. Twitter and Facebook are great outlets to express opinion but not discussion. We ask for your patience and understanding and know that important topics such as this are not taken lightly."

[via Daily Dot]