A 13-year-old girl in Kansas was kicked off her school bus for saying she was a lesbian. According to KSNT, a bus driver overhead Izzy Dieker making the statement to her friends and wrote up the girl for inappropriate language. By the time Dieker arrived home later that day, the Americus School in North Lyon County had called her father with word she was suspended from using the bus.
“Once I got home my dad told me he got a call from the school that I was kicked off for saying ‘I’m a lesbian’,” said Dieker, who is in the eighth grade and out to her classmates and family.
Dieker’s mother, Tasha Cooper, said she has yet to receive a satisfactory response from the district about what happened and why. A report alleged that Americus School Principal Corey Wilitz was a part of the decision. This was not the first time Dieker received abuse for her sexuality, but then it was from other students and not faculty and staff.
“She’s 13 years old and these are adults acting like this towards her,” Cooper said. “We’ve had talks about other students calling her names and I expect that because they’re repeating what their parents say. But for the staff, the people that I trust her with, I was angry.”
According to the Emporia Gazette, Wilitz did not comment on the situation, and District Superintendent Bob Blair issued a blanket statement saying the district is “unable to unable to discuss confidential student matters” but that the “district takes all allegations of discrimination of any kind seriously and will respond meaningfully to any report of discrimination” and that “all such complaints are promptly investigated.”
While the district’s actions appear disheartening, Dieker has found support from students and educators alike. Michael Lanzrath, a teacher in the district and also LGBTQ+, offered affirmation and words of encouragement.
“I really just wanted to let Izzy know that there are people that absolutely support her,” Lanzrath said. “Our job as educators is to make sure that all our kids are taken care of. To us, all means all.”
Still, the recent events have been an eye-opening experience for Dieker.
“It made me upset to think that people go through this everyday and also that kids are growing up thinking that it’s a horrible thing and they shouldn’t be talking about it at all when honestly it should be the other way around,” she said.