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Friday, December 16, 2011

Utah Middle School Outs 14-Year-Old To Parents—For His Own Good

Do you think it’s wrong for a school notify the parents of a 14-year-old student that he might be gay? As reported by KSL 5 News, administrators at Willowcreek Middle School in Lehi, UT, found themselves in that very predicament.

The situation originated with a seemingly innocent assignment, in which students were asked to create an advertisement about themselves. One boy (we’re not mentioning his name) created a poster that clearly indicated he was gay.  The student was fine with it being hung on the wall alongside other contributions, but administrators worried he was getting bullied because of his openness.
So they went and told his parents, a move which the boy apparently did not support but which the school stands by.
willowcreek-middle-school-utah“When there started to be a little bit of a negative response to that, the administration called him in and got involved,” said Alpine County District spokesperson Rhonda Bromley. “In that case, it’s absolutely important that we include parents any time there is a safety issue that has to do with the student. It’s the responsibility of the school to include the parent.”

According to the report, the teen’s father says the school handled the situation exactly the way they should have.

Many adults—parents especially—seem to agree. But young friends and classmates of the student created a Facebook page voicing their opposition to his outing. (The page has since been taken down.)
This is uncharted territory. Yes, the school’s priority is making sure the boy is safe in their hands—and keeping the parents apprised of bullying at school is essential—but should it have gotten his explicit consent?

Will the boy suffer possible physical or mental abuse at home because of being outed? Should he have expected privacy at home when making his sexuality public at school? Give us your two cents in the comments.

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