Seventeen year old Heather Gillman sought help from the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) after students were instructed by her principal they were not allowed to show support for a fellow gay student.

Ponce De Leon, Florida high school principal David Davis banned all forms of pro-gay messages at the school after students responded with support for a lesbian who had been taunted.

Gillman said in an audio podcast available at the ACLU website that she was trying to show support for a friend who had been teased for being lesbian. When the student went to Davis for help, she was told that her lifestyle was “against the Bible.”

Some students supported the girl by writing GP (gay pride) on their hands and wearing pink triangles, others wore slogans including “I Support Gays” and “God Loves Me Just the Way I Am.” Principal Davis banned these pro-gay messages. Davis also held a morality assembly and suspended several students for supporting the girl.

Gillman, with the help of the ACLU, sued the Holmes County School Board claiming Davis violated her First Amendment rights to free speech when he silenced the students.

In his opinion, U.S. District Judge Richard Smoak said, “Davis embarked on what can only be characterized as a witch hunt,” and ordered the county to pay $325,000 in damages and attorneys fees.

At the website, one reader disagreed with an editorial in support of the ruling titled “Rainbows? Not in my high school!” by saying: “The prevailing question is this: What of HIS right to free expression? The editorial makes the case that “open minded” is to accept the media and secular thought regarding homosexuality. Why? Why is it “closed minded” to believe that homosexuality is wrong? Integrity and morality and the right to free expression are not only the rights of students; they are the rights of every person.”

In the ACLU podcast, Gillman is asked what made her decide to fight Davis when she was not suspended. “Because I thought it was wrong that he was telling people that being gay or lesbian was going against the Bible or going down the wrong road. I didn't think that was – I didn't think he should be able to be pushing that on people. So, I really believed in it, and I was like, yeah I'm going to do this,” Gillman responded.

Principal Davis has since been transferred into a classroom, reports the local CBS affiliate WTVY.