a miseducation

Luke Herbert’s Teacher Warned The Class They’d Catch His Gayness By Using The Same Fridge

Who’s to blame when Flagler Palm Coast High School freshman Luke Herbert registers complaints about an abusive teacher and no action is taken? His school, that’s who. Herbert, a 15-year-old gay student at the Florida high school, is at the center of a lawsuit brought by his mother against the school district, not just for letting other classmates torment him, but for allowing a teacher to ridicule him in front of the class.

Luke Herbert told News 13, “It hurts. I may be different, but I’m still human and for them to treat me like that is ridiculous.” As a freshman at Flagler Palm Coast High School, Herbert said high school has been tough, especially since he’s gay. “People haven’t been nice, let’s put it that way,” Herbert said. Herbert said classmates have bullied him before, but now it’s gotten worse. One of his teachers has singled him out. “He stood in front of the class and said ‘you can’t put Mountain Dew or Pepsi in the same fridge or they’ll turn gay’. He [also] came over to me and I was like ‘hi.’ He said hi, like he was imitating me or mocking me,” Herbert said.

Herbert and his mother said they went to school officials several times, but weren’t taken seriously. “As a parent, it’s hard because you feel like you have to be there every day, begging them to please help. That’s how I felt,” Dorene Davenport said. Recently, Herbert and his mom sat down with school officials, as well as the teacher himself. Herbert said the teacher apologized and officials promised to switch his classes, but that never happened. “I don’t feel safe with him being there,” Dorene said.

While the lawsuit moves ahead, and the school investigates the teacher’s conduct, Herbert is staying home from the school — and I don’t blame him. Faced with the option of going to class and being harassed both by students and teachers, Herbert’s family chose the only one that keeps him safe. It also keeps him from an education. And that, his mother’s lawsuit claims, just isn’t right.

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  • Michael in Toronto

    Keep the faith, Luke. As they say, it gets better. It really does.

  • Ty

    It DOES NOT get better on its own.

    It should be BETTER TODAY and not in the future when you move away or change schools.

    It gets better when we make it better.

    Everyone should be safe from bullying, discrimination, harassment, and segregation.

  • Fitz

    Why are we stating the name of the underage victim and not of the adult perp?

  • ohsoscandalous

    I attend this school and never seen anyone been outright rude to luke. Just because hes gay doesnt mean everyone makes fun of him and that hes right in this situation. I have no problem with anyones sexuality but this teacher probably didnt even mean to hurt luke’s feelings. Realistically, i dont see what the big deal is. luke obviously just wants attention and his 5 minutes of fame, all at the cost of someones career and the entire school because he misinterpreted the teachers words. Why is everyone so damn touchy these days? GET OVER IT. if someone says something bad about me, i shrug it off. I dont try to destroy their lives. Teachers are providing an education, not singling out students to make fun of. If you really do think your being harassed, get home schooled. This school has enough problems with money, dont create more by being selfish and ruining the school experience for other kids.

  • Hillers

    @ohsoscandalous: You’re in school, which is good, and I would suggest you stay in school.

    It’s commendable that you have a thick skin when others say something about you, but the fact is that the law both requires that chidren go to school and be protected from the kind of harrassment Luke is experiencing. If this is tryly an attention-seeking effort on his part, it will only invoke negative attention, so why else would he step forward unless he and his mother felt he’d been truly wronged?

    It’s unfortunate that the school has the problems that it does as you mention. It will create more problems for itself by not standing up for the safety of its own students. This is a basic right that doesn’t cost a thing, and ensuring that right is the right thing to do.

  • Mr. Enemabag Jones


    You “attend” this school, or teach at this school? because your comment sounds like a douchebag teacher trying to dismiss their anti-gay attitude.

    Fuck this school, and it’s anti-gay teachers.

  • Francis

    “Ruining the school experience for other kids”

    That statement says it all. Don’t you notice in all of these cases of gay kids being picked on at school in these rural areas, there is ALWAYS student(s) defending the school and themselves and student body? Every.Single.Time. No, it’s not our fault, he’s a whiny faggot. Why is everyone so touchy, get over being called a faggot, it’s not like it matters that a teacher targets you to mock and laugh at in front of the entire class. It’s SOOOOO hilarious to make fun of others’ sexuality! And you’re selfish and stupid for standing up for yourself and trying to steal our fun!

    Responses like these and others, from kids nonetheless, who are supposedly are biggest support group, show just how far we really have to go in these lesser enlightened areas in them even valuing gay folk as human, let alone equality.

  • [email protected]

    I have never met any guy named Luke who wasn’t adorable.

    The only thing anyone may pick up from sharing his fridge is a case of the cute’s.

  • Marcus M.

    Oh honey, you’re so naive, it would be hard to believe that you were anything other than a high school student.
    Looking for attention? You have no idea what the level of abuse that Luke faces could be on a daily basis. Regardless of the intention behind the comments the teacher made, the comments were completely inappropriate and not something a student should have to hear from a teacher. Again, even if they weren’t malicious, if a parent complains about their child’s continued abuse, it is the responsibility of the school to address it and try to remedy a resolution. Instead they ignored it, basically giving a green light and setting an example for continued gay bullying.
    As for you and your infinite wisdom’s insistence that you’d “shrug it off,” I highly doubt you would if a teacher was making you feel uncomfortable in a public setting. His comment about gay germs is also completely ignorant and misinformed. As for you suggestion that Luke get a home school education….what a problem you are. Public education is a right in this country and no student should have to give that up just because people like you continue to legitimatize and ignore gay bullying. Stay in school, kid…..you have a LOT to learn.

  • Mac McNeill

    Here is the sad thing, even though a teacher said what he said, he may be so backwards that he honestly believed what he said.

    It is sad in this day and age there are so many haters out there. Here in Nevada they won’t permit gay marriages, but they permit legal brothels for married men to cheat on their wives with. And yet this is a very heavily mormon and catholic area.

  • miker

    Is there a phone number where we can call and announce our disgust with the school? Like a principal or something?

  • Mark

    @ohsoscandalous: If you attend this school, then someone has failed you miserably in the use of the written english language. And, “He stood in front of the class and said ‘you can’t put Mountain Dew or Pepsi in the same fridge or they’ll turn gay’

    That comment is more than just ‘hurting his feelings’ as you say. That statement is full of ignorance and a well directed personal attack against the young man.

    If you are a student there, as I’m seriously questioning, then you might be forgiven a bit because you’re young. but, put yourself in his shoes and if that were you that was being spoken about – it hurts!

  • David Gervais


    You attend this school? Post your name. Luke is upfront; are you a coward?

    Or maybe your school is not that safe after all.


    @Mr. Enemabag Jones
    That comment couldn’t be from a real teacher, there are only two sentences without mistakes.

  • hf2hvit

    @ohsoscandalous: Then why don’t you put YOUR name out there if you’re really a student and so loving of your situation? NAME PLEASE!!!!

  • Holy Shit!

    How awful. Unfortunately, this is hardly surprising.

  • Mark


    Sorry i must be retarded or something. Cause im having trouble understanding the educational value in pepsi turning gay for being next to another gay dudes pepsi. Is that like some new scientific principle that came out? Also what was the point in that comment to if not to hurt his feelings. Atleast some gay jokes are a little comedical. His was just stupid.

  • CHIP1218

    Teacher’s LIE!!! When I was a junior, I made a small error on a physics lab and the electric circuit blew up. The teacher did everything possible to put all blame on me. Luckily, the administration of my school DID SOMETHING. They investigated, and it took a full year, but they got to the truth. That douchebag teacher was forced to retire and lost most of his pension, and everyone of his co workers but one who had taken his side apologized to me and my parents. Sometimes you need to threaten legal action to a school district to get justice and for the truth to be revealed to all. Good luck Luke!

  • Robbie K

    Clearly this is how I became gay..I knew I should have drank that Fanta

  • justiceontherocks

    When I was in high school we prayed for someone to come along “ruin the school experience.”

  • Cam

    @ohsoscandalous: said…

    I attend this school and never seen anyone been outright rude to luke. Just because hes gay doesnt mean everyone makes fun of him and that hes right in this situation. I have no problem with anyones sexuality but this teacher probably didnt even mean to hurt luke’s feelings.

    These are the exact same lies that the students from the Mississippi school that harrassed Constance McMillian tried to put out on the blogs. They ALL attacked her by saying she was “Looking for attention” that is the biggest attack that bigots in hick places try to use…the reason they don’t want the people to get attention is because it spotlights the bigotry down there.

    But, lets just pretend that what you say is true…if a teacher harrassed and insulted a kid in front of the class, I don’t really care if he “Probably didn’t even mean to hurt Luke’s feelings”…if a purse snatcher breaks a woman’s arm while robbing her and she falls and gets a concussion…should he not be charged with battery because he “Probably didn’t even mean to hurt her”?


  • Josh

    How can Americans be so cruel?

    @ohsoscandalous: you’re a fraud.

  • Shannon1981

    @ohsoscandalous: You’re ignorant if you think what that teacher said was harmless. Get over it? Why don’t you walk a mile in the shoes of Luke and millions of other LGBT youth and THEN you can have the right to say that. No teacher has the right to be an open bigot in the classroom. It’s disgusting. Go learn some class and some English, and then come back to talk to us.

  • Kieran

    Luke should be back in school with a new notebook and sharpened pencil writing down any incidents of homophobic harrassment he encounters. With a pending lawsuit against them, I’m sure the school will be bending over backwards to accomodate Luke. As it is now, the bullies have the satisfaction of having “run the fag” out of school.

  • hobo

    Sweety, I personally believe that you and your mother did the right thing. I wish I could help you. Take care!

  • Jaroslaw

    Fitz – I think the opening of the story is “Luke told News13…” so he is already public. As to the teacher, he is still innocent until proven guilty. As I hope we all are when accusations start flying. I’m sure that is what you want if you end up in court on the wrong end of the stick… hmmmm?

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