Homophobia seems to have found a home in Fresno, California. During a recent fire drill at Bullard High, 16-year-old student Logann Pruneda was pelted with full boxes of apple juice and called homophobic slurs, including “faggot, queer, and lesbo” according to the Fresno Bee. That day was Pruneda’s 16th birthday and, after the incident, she was left with bruises and abrasions on her neck.
Pruneda, who came out in middle school, regularly encounters bullying but admitted that this was the first time it’d turned physical. “I know who I am,” she said. “I know I am gay, but I don’t want to be treated unfairly. But they just keep going at it, and it breaks my heart.” While Bullard High staff have been supportive of her and the LGBTQ students at the school, the same can’t be said for school board president Brooke Ashjian.
Ashijan came under fire in August for speaking out against a more LGBTQ-inclusive sex education curriculum and compared LGBTQ advocacy to perpetrators of the Armenian genocide. The proposed law, called the California Healthy Youth Act, would require “schools to teach unbiased and medically accurate sex education, including lessons on birth control, abortion and LGBT relationships.”
Since Ashijan’s comparison, there have been numerous calls for his resignation and a renewed push by the school district over the last few months to affirm that they actually do care about their LGBTQ students. Among the suggestions has been a call to set up a 1-800 telephone line “for emotional support for all students, including LGBTQ youth… who need someone to talk to about the issues they’re facing 24 hours a day.”
Months later, Ashijan is still in his current position, but with new revelations that he personally praised the support he’s received from anti-LGBT groups and a conversion therapist.