A fifth-grade student in New York who wanted to deliver a speech for marriage equality had his opportunity censored, but later reinstated at a different session due to immediate backlash, US media organisations report.
Kameron Slade, a student at a local school in Queens won a school-wide competition to deliver a speech, but upon discovering that his topic was marriage between same-sex couples, his principal threatened to remove him from the contest if he did not change the topic.
His speech, since released by the websites NY1 and Think Progress, has gone viral. In it, he says:
Some people are for same-gender marriage, while others are against it. Like President Obama, I believe that all people should have the right to marry whoever they want. Marriage is about love, support, and commitment. So who are we to judge? If we judge people like this, this is a form of prejudice. We must learn to accept all differences.[...]
My mom is very open to me about same-gender marriage. However, some adults may feel uncomfortable and think it’s inappropriate to talk about this to children. I think adults must realize that as children get older, they become aware of these mature issues that are going on in the world. If children read or watch the news, they can learn about things like same-gender marriage, so what’s the point in trying to hide it?
In conclusion, I hope that everyone understands how important it is to respect everyone for who they are. Same-gender marriage is becoming more popular. I believe that same-gender marriage should be accepted worldwide and that parents and teachers should start to discuss these issues without shame to their children.
His mother reportedly told NY1 that she was ‘really upset’ by the principal’s decision, adding: “[Equal marriage] is on the news… It’s a part of our lives now. They need to open up. The New York City Department of Education need to open up.”
The young student instead spoke on animal cruelty.
However, reports just coming in suggest that Kameron will be allowed to speak on the topic after all, to a special assembly of fellow fifth-graders this Monday. The decision was made by Schools Chancellor Dennis Walcott, who has also told reporters that the principal in question will send out a memo to the parents of the fifth graders to inform them of the contents of the speech.
This however has been deemed discriminatory by New York City Council Member, Daniel Dromm, who called the principal’s decision ‘a lesson in hate.’ He also added: “Separate but equal does not work.”