A teenage girl, who is identified as gay in a BuzzFeed News report, said her high school threatened to out her to her family if she did not agree to its draconian policing of her sexuality.
Magali Rodriguez claimed administrators at Bishop Amat Memorial High School, a Catholic institution in Upland, Calif., forbade her to date her girlfriend and forced her to see a psychologist due to her sexual orientation.
Rodriguez had come out to her classmates in middle school and began her relationship with a sophomore when she was in ninth grade. At the time, they were the only out same-sex couple at the Catholic school. Although she was aware that the church is anti-LGBTQ, the peers around her seemed supportive of her.
“I was surrounding myself with people that were really involved in their religion, but still accepting,” she told BuzzFeed News. “So I never thought there was anything bad about it.”
That changed when their respective deans of discipline summoned the teens into separate meetings during the second half of Rodriguez's freshman year. Rodriguez said the dean explained to her that the school had received complaints about her relationship with her girlfriend.
According to Rodriguez, the dean then imposed a punitive set of rules: She could no longer socialize with her partner during breaks or sit with her at lunch; she must attend meetings with the dean and a school psychologist; and the pair would also be monitored by staff to ensure compliance.
The dean would not inform Rodriguez's parents if she followed these horrific guidelines, she recounted. Rodriguez was not out to her parents at the time, and she agreed out of fear.
What followed were two years of painful surveillance. Rodriguez recounted a class picnic in which straight students kissed, but a teacher kept their eyes trained on her and her girlfriend. When Rodriguez dared to sit next to her at lunch, an educator approached them and stood about an inch away.
On another occasion, a staff member told the girls they were going to hell and should be expelled as the pair were waiting to be picked up from school. She only stopped her rant after Rodriguez's father arrived in a car.
“We were really afraid on campus,” Rodriguez said. “We didn’t hold hands, we hardly hugged or anything.”
The treatment was noticed by their peers, and Rodriguez said it persuaded other LGBTQ students to stay in the closet or transfer.
The horror continued until Rodriguez's senior year after her girlfriend had graduated and she lost her support system. She then penned a coming-out note to her father that sounded "a suicide letter" and a "huge cry for help," Nicolas Rodriguez told BuzzFeed. She has since transferred to another school.
A Bishop Amat spokesperson told BuzzFeed that Magali Rodriguez's account is not "entirely accurate."
“Any student who is involved in a relationship may socialize appropriately on campus,” read a statement from the school. “However, as stated in the Parent/Student handbook, engaging in excessive displays of affection on campus is not permitted.”