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US school defends “outing” gay student to his parents to keep him “safe”

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  1. My Catholic school did this to me, with no warning. It’s happened to a few other people too. They said they had a duty of care to tell our parents about any ‘worrying’ behaviour. Here in the UK, I think it’s also illegal. There’s not much you can do about it when you’re fourteen though.

    1. A concerned school near me that had 3 pupils that were being bullied had an OFSTED inspection coming up and did-not want the examiners to find a bullying problem, so the head teacher expelled the 3 pupils and when their parents asked why, the school told them and two were found begging on the streets of Bristol, the third talked his parents around.

    2. That had no right to tell anyone.

      It is no-one’s right to out another person. It is a very personal and traumatic thing and no child should be coerced into it.

      1. Schools would rather take the easy option than to tackle the bullies themselves, so of course outing them takes care of the problem, because then they are identifiable and the school doesn’t have so much of a bullying problem. They can prove to the school board he or she is being bullied for a reason.

        1. Miguel Sanchez 16 Dec 2011, 2:09pm

          Craig, you missed it buddy. Here is a quote from the story.

          Rhonda Bromley, a spokeswoman for the Alpine School District in Lehi, Utah, said that as a negative reaction to his sexuality had been noted, the right thing had been done: “We are not going to back down. We take bullying very, very seriously.”

          Now, I can think of better ways to notify parents thier kids “might” have a problem without Outting them.

          On the other hand, the student did write an advertisement about himself where he does come out.

          This is a bit of a catch 22.

  2. WOW! I mean WTF! I’m so stuck for words on this one. I can’t imagine what would have happened if the choice of where, when, who and how to come out had been taken from me. This could turn out really good or really really bad for this boy. If it turn out to be not so good will the school take responsibility??

  3. This is a human rights issue! The U.S. government does have Governers but then again this area is a Republican Governer! I am disgusted in this and am glad I live in South Africa!

  4. To be fair, it sounds as though it was done for the right reasons. The boy was talked to about it and gave his agreement. Nothing happened behind his back. If he has loving and supportive parents (which admittedly sadly there are young people who do not…) then telling them is going to help the situation. Hopefully his parents are supportive.

    1. However, this is in Utah. And if his parents are Mormons this could be BIG trouble for him. Although they officially deny it, Mormons still practice reparative therapy on gay youth, his family may shun him and if all else fails they may excommunicate him from the Church. While that doesn’t sound all that bad, you have to understand that in Mormon society your life revolves around the LDS Church. Utah is also like 90% Mormon. This is not a good situation.

      1. Miguel Sanchez 16 Dec 2011, 2:13pm

        You’re assuming a lot here. The Mormans have banned poligamy but it’s still going on too. You’re off base mate.

    2. Miguel Sanchez 16 Dec 2011, 2:17pm

      I totally agree with you. It was a BIG catch 22. The school totally rejects bullying and the boy did “come out” in his paper. From what I read, he did seem to give his OK for them to tell his parents as long as he wasn’t there.

      I hope he and his parents had a good productive talk.

  5. This story is insane !!! What gives educators the right to out any child to their parents like that ??? This could open the door for even more bullying at home; or worse.
    Educators need counselling !

    1. David Myers 17 Dec 2011, 2:02am

      As stated by Miguel, the student voluntarily decided to “come out” at school and although was “reluctant” to tell his parents himself, he did agree to have the school tell his parents, as long as he wasn’t present when this was done. I have to conclude that his rights to come out to his parents or not were respected. The school just helped him take this step because he didn’t want to face his parents when this happened. It is unfortunate that he wasn’t willing to be present and have the school speak for him, but I see no evidence he was in disagreement with the actions taken. Hopefully, the school also offered to provide councelling to both the parents and the student together, subsequently.

  6. It was unnecessary but at least this school is looking into bullying.

    Having heard so many US schools just ignore homosexuality at school I’m glad someone is doing something.

  7. NO NO NO NO!!
    School is the place I go to feel safe!
    Yes I get counselling and help but NO they have no right to tell my family!
    I guess the UKs just better in pastoral care.

  8. Nasty s*h*ts.

  9. The schools fail our children again. The schools are suppose to be safe for our children to go to. The schools job is to make the environment safe for the children who go their, all tax payer money goes for this, gay and straight tax payers. So why are they not making the schools safe? Could it be they are trying to turn public schools into Christian public schools by forcing their religious beliefs on our children, children and parents who do not want their religious hate and persecution? There are laws to stop this kind of madness and we need to fight to stop this from happening because we all pay for it sooner or later.

    1. David Myers 17 Dec 2011, 2:06am

      I do not see this as a failure of the school administration. On the contrary I see them as cautiously helping both the student and attempting to help the parents deal with the issue as part of their taking responsibility for protecting the child from bullying in the school, once he decided to come out in his “paper”.

  10. Utah is the home of the Mormon sect, this doesn’t surprise me and I wouldn’t mind betting the school’s prinicpal is a mormon. Had this child already been bullied, I could to some extent accept the school’s stance but otherwise, no. It was wrong. What if the child’s parents were homophobic and had kicked him out of his home after learning about this?

    1. GingerlyColors 16 Dec 2011, 6:50am

      It’s okay for the Mormons to preach about the evils of homosexuality while they enter into polygamous marriages which although illegal are tolerated in the state of Utah. I once saw a documentary about Mormons in Utah where a woman and her daughter were both married to the same man! And they have the audacity to condem gay marriages! They are no Saints in Utah.

  11. JennahRose 15 Dec 2011, 6:58pm

    I actually have to say that, with the details given here (I know there’s always “the rest of the story”), but with the details given here it seems as if the boy outer himself. I am a staunch advocate of gay rights, and the first to usually get riled up, but this seems to me, on the surface admittedly, to be a breath of fresh air after so much of what we often hear. The boy did a project knowing that his sexuality was coming out, that somehow it would get back to his parents. Maybe this is the way he expresses himself, through some form of art, and obviously he felt safe enough with his teacher and school to do so. It says they spoke to him FIRST before telling his parents. I for one am proud of the steps these administrators took.

    1. Yeah. It seems a valid reading of this story is: The kid wrote that he was gay as part of a project about himself, and the school was like “We’ll protect you from bullying, and we can tell your parents for you.”.

      Hope it goes okay for the kid.

  12. “his teacher reportedly asked him if he wanted it to be publicly known.

    MSNBC reports the assistant principal then spoke to him about telling his parents and the boy “reluctantly” agreed for it to happen, as long as he was not there at the time.”

    Sounds to me like he agreed to have a surrogate inform his parents. I’m just sayin’….

    1. As we all know telling your parents when you’re going through all the paranoia that accompanies coming out is damn hard. Imagine how hard is must be for a 14 year old living in a religious US state.

      I wish him all the best. Hopefully it’ll all work out for him.

  13. GingerlyColors 16 Dec 2011, 7:02am

    Who takes responsibility if the parents reacted badly to the news that their son is gay and they threw him out of the home?
    Unfortunately schools are a place where children suffer discrimination because of being fat, ginger haired, wearing spectacles, having a different accent or numerous other things. The best time for anybody to come out is when they are adult and also independant which may mean having to wait until your early 20’s. Then the world is your oyster.

    1. I cannot believe you typed this nonsense. The best time for someone to come out is when they are ready and if that causes some other people to be uncomfortable that is their problem. Why should anyone have to deny who they are all through their adolescence just so other people don’t bully them. Next you’ll be suggesting that all those pesky black people should stay at home till they are 20 so the redneck white folk don’t call them names. Maybe women should stay home so they don’t get raped.

      All you are doing is moving the fault of the bullying onto the victim and making them suffer because you won’t address the bullying at source.

      1. Hunter OHARA 16 Dec 2011, 2:22pm

        I may be missing something but, speaking as a gay educator, how does outing a student to his parents protect him from bullying at school. The prevention of bullying at school is the responsibility of school officials, not the responsibility of parents. Schools must begin to create cultures that teach valuing for all kinds of diversity.

      2. GingerlyColors 17 Dec 2011, 6:24am

        Whoops! I think you do have a point here. Unfortunately schools have different policies on bullying. You said that I was moving the fault of the bullying onto the victim – the problem is that bullies seem of have ‘human rights’ as well and many teachers and schools are too scared to deal with the problem because they may get sue – or worse.
        Bullies bully only for one reason – pleasure. Pleasure in hurting other people. How should we deal with them is a difficult issue and one that is best debated elsewhere.
        As for faith schools, maybe we are better off without them. Children need to experience the wider world beyond their immediate family and religion.

  14. Miguel Sanchez 16 Dec 2011, 2:26pm


    “When the 14-year-old wrote about being gay for a project in which they had been asked to design an advertisement for themselves, his teacher reportedly asked him if he wanted it to be publicly known.”

    “MSNBC reports the assistant principal then spoke to him about telling his parents and the boy “reluctantly” agreed for it to happen, as long as he was not there at the time.”

    Rhonda Bromley, a spokeswoman for the Alpine School District in Lehi, Utah, said that as a negative reaction to his sexuality had been noted, the right thing had been done: “We are not going to back down. We take bullying very, very seriously.”

    The boy did agree albeit relictantly. Now, would they have done it had he said NO? I don’t have an answer there and I’m not going to assume anything.

    For all we know, this could be the best thing that happened to him because he now has a support system at home.

    Being gay, no one should be outted without their OK.

  15. Fundamental problem is that religious schools put the interests of, and adherence to whichever religion and its ‘
    ‘principles’ above the interests of their children.

    1. David Myers 17 Dec 2011, 2:10am

      This does not appear to be what happened in this instance.

  16. de Villiers 16 Dec 2011, 8:45pm

    May I ask how many people saying that the parents had no right to know or be told are actually parents themselves?

  17. Jock S. Trap 17 Dec 2011, 11:52am

    This is a absolute disgrace and could actually put this student in harms way. It is not for anyone to ‘out’ anyone unless they’re doing harm to the community. This is even worse considering the age and totally a lack of this students privacy. No good comes when teacher believe they can behave in such a disrespectful way.

    1. de Villiers 17 Dec 2011, 7:56pm

      Does a child under sixteen years of age have a right of privacy against their parents?

  18. Mihai Bucur 18 Dec 2011, 12:16pm

    The problem with reacting so negatively to “outing” is that it strengthens the perception that being gay is something shameful, something that should be kept secret or at least something that is a “big issue” that needs to be treated with a lot of caution and sensitivity. People who agree to keep others in the closet are only contributing to homophobia, since at the end of the day, the closet is what facilitates homophobia. They are contributing to the system of silence that has oppressed LGBT people for decades.

    The world we should be working towards is one where one’s sexual orientation is not an issue, but rather something akin to left-handedness. That’s why I believe that this school did nothing wrong in outing the student to his parents.

    If we want equality, we can’t on one hand tell people to accept our sexuality as a non-issue, as “no big deal”, but on the other hand, force them to deal with it like it’s something incredibly sensitive and needs to be managed very carefully.

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