Media Contact

CONTACT: Kristi Gross, ACLU of Texas, [email protected]

May 20, 2024

DALLAS — The American Civil Liberties Union of Texas filed an administrative complaint today against Dallas-area Princeton Independent School District for retaliation and discrimination against a local organization that supports LGBTQIA+ students.

The complaint states that the school district likely violated the U.S. and Texas constitutions by barring Princeton TX Diverse (PTX Diverse) and its co-founders from accessing campus facilities. It urges the school district to reverse its decision.

The school district most recently banned PTX Diverse from renting or being a vendor on district property because the group donated “banned books” during a local charity event. Princeton ISD made this decision even though no books are banned in the district and another vendor was allowed to distribute Bibles at the event. 

“It is a bedrock principle of our democracy that the government cannot punish or silence any group simply because it disagrees with their message,” said Brian Klosterboer (he/him), ACLU of Texas attorney. “Banning PTX Diverse from hosting or participating in events on campus because they distributed ‘banned books’ — when no books are actually banned by Princeton ISD — is an arbitrary abuse of government power. As we enter Pride month, we call on Princeton ISD and other government actors to allow LGBTQIA+ students, families, and allies to express themselves free from discrimination and retaliation.”

Princeton ISD also targeted PTX Diverse after the group held a Pride event in June 2023 on district property and published a satirical Facebook post thanking the Princeton ISD school board president for attending. Princeton ISD penalized the organization for allegedly not following a policy where groups that use campus facilities must state that the school district did not sponsor their event. However, PTX Diverse added that disclaimer to all of their promotional materials. Many other groups have not included any disclaimer in advertising materials for their on-campus events yet have not received the same consequence. 

The following statement can be attributed to John Kusterbeck (he/him), PTX Diverse founder:

“We founded PTX Diverse to support our LGBTQIA+ friends and family in and around Princeton. We’ve tried to create safe spaces where the community can come together without fear or retaliation. But the school district keeps targeting us and trying to drive us into the shadows. Through this complaint, we’re asking that they treat us the same as other groups and reverse these wrongful decisions.”

The following statement can be attributed to Charlise Lee (she/her), PTX Diverse founder:

“PTX Diverse provides LGBTQIA+ students, families, and allies a place to be themselves free from discrimination. By trying to silence us and suppress our speech, Princeton ISD is harming our entire community. While banning our group, they’ve also made campus rentals more expensive for everyone — making it more difficult for all of us to hold community events. We ask the school board to stop discriminating against us and stop inflicting pain on our entire community.”

Access the full complaint here