Utah school criticized for outing student to parentsThis Week, Around the Nation, Around the World Tuesday, December 27th, 2011
LEHI, Utah – A school district in Utah has come under criticism for its decision to tell the parents of a student that he is gay. The school claims it was being “proactive” about preventing bullying. The parents of the student have decided to keep him home until attention surrounding the issue dies down.
A report in the Salt Lake Tribune said that the Alpine School District had received emails and phone calls from many in the LGBT community nationwide since a Facebook page was created to protest the incident at Willowcreek Middle School in Lehi, Utah.
Commenting on the incident, Valerie Larabee, director of the Utah Pride Center, said,
“It’s important to me that school officials deal with bullying issues and don’t cause another problem for the child by outing him to his parents. That conversation can be really devastating to young people when their family rejects them. Once you’ve uttered the words, ‘I’m gay,’ your home life can change forever.”
According to a recent study published in the medical journal Pediatric LGBT youths who experience high levels of family rejection are eight times more likely to attempt suicide, six times more likely to experience depression and three times more likely to use illegal drugs than those who don’t.
School district spokeswoman Rhonda Bromley said, “This student’s parents have been very supportive of their son. That is their No. 1 concern right now, to help him feel safe and help him feel supported.”
The student plans to return to school after the winter break.
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