A McKinley high school student is suing Buffalo Public Schools and the school’s principal over discrimination against LGBTQ students.


18-year-old Byshop Elliott opened the lawsuit after trying, unsuccessfully, to create a Gay-Straight-Alliance at Mckinley. The New York Civil Liberties Union (NYCLU) is representing Elliott and say students at the school have been trying since at least 2014 to create this type of club, but every year “the proposal is either ignored or outright rejected by [the principal].”

“I care a lot about the school, that’s why it’s so disappointing how it’s acted toward LGBTQ students,” Elliott, an 11th grade student, said. “Everyone should have a chance to feel included and excited about high school, including LGBTQ students. I wish this wasn’t still an issue today but it is.”

The NYCLU alleges in the lawsuit that Crystal Boling-Barton, McKinley’s principal, has a history of “routinely, openly and systematically discriminating against LGBTQ students” and has denied several attempts by students to form a Gay-Straight-Alliance.

The lawsuit claims, “announcements over the loudspeaker warn that they are not permitted to bring a same-sex date to prom and that “couples” tickets are reserved for opposite-sex couples. If a girl dares to dance with her girlfriend at a school dance, the principal separates them”.

“Schools should encourage kids who try to make the learning environment more inclusive for other students,” said NYCLU Executive Director Donna Lieberman. “But LGBTQ students at McKinley have met only discouragement, inaction and homophobia from the school and district charged with supporting them. This goes against everything New York stands for.”

7 Eyewitness News has reached out to BPS for comment and is waiting for a response.

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