Thursday, December 15, 2011

Utah Teen Outed by School Officials... to "Protect" Him?

School administrators in a Utah middle school "outed" a teen against his will saying that they were preventing him from being bullied by doing so. The Alpine School District teen who has remained unmentioned by name was out to his friends, but not his parents.

Coming out to your parents is a very hard,  very  emotional and troubling time. To have school officials tell your parents you may be gay before you're ready is going above and beyond their responsibility to protect kids while in school or on school premises and can lead to disastrous results for the outed teen.
Civil rights groups blasted the move as a violation of the student's right to privacy.
"The school's decision to disclose deprived the young man the right to reveal highly personal aspects of his life at a time and manner of his choice," Joe Cohn of the American Civil Liberties Union of Utah told The Associated Press on Thursday.
Cohn said there are serious consequences in such cases, especially in communities where homosexuality can carry a tremendous stigma.
"Taking away the choice for a LGBT student to come out on their own terms opens the door to significant risks, including harassment at school and family rejection," network Executive Director Eliza Byard said in a statement. "Schools should be able to provide LGBT students with support and resources in order to make an informed decision if and when they decide to come out to their school community and family."
 One out of four homeless teens are LGBTQ according to recent statistics. Most of them were thrown out before the age of 18 for coming out to their family and friends.

This move on the part of school administrators violates every common sense thought about protecting someone from being bullied. Apparently they don't possess common sense, or most likely, both that and are very uneducated about what it's like to be LGBT. Educating teachers and school officials is of the utmost importance in preventing teen bullying, homelessness and teen suicide as a result of identity struggles with being LGBT.

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