Showing posts with label Homophobia in Schools. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Homophobia in Schools. Show all posts

April 6, 2015

Teenage Basketball Player Chased Out of Court After Coming Out


A TEENAGE basketball player has told how he was chased out of a school by boys calling him a "f****t" after he came out in the US.

Dalton Maldonado, from Floyd County in Kentucky, had been beaten in an away game with his team from Betsy Layne High School when an opponent hurled a gay slur as they left the court.

"Hey number three, I hear you're a f****t," the player shouted, the 19-year-old recalled to Outsports.
His quick reply - "Yeah baby, can I have your number?" - confirmed the rumours and he told his friends he was gay after breaking down in the changing room minutes later.

Dalton never planned to come out while competing in basketball leagues and had only told his parents that week.

After getting changed, he and his team made their way back to the bus that would take them back to their hotel, but some of the opposing team were waiting.

After shouting "f****t", they tried to board the bus before jumping in their cars so they could chase him as it pulled away.

"Members of the other team were pounding on the windows of our bus, yelling 'let him off the bus' and screaming 'f****t'," Dalton told The Independent.

"I felt a little threatened at first, but more so when they started following the bus."
The chase continued through the city of Lexington until the coach of the opposing team intervened. Dalton plays for Betsy Layne High School in rural Kentucky Dalton plays for Betsy Layne High School in rural Kentucky

Police were called to the hotel Dalton and his team were staying at and for the rest of the four-day tournament, held in December, the group had to be escorted to games.

Some of the younger players were so frightened that they returned home early, he said.

As awful as that experience was, the teenager said he shared his experience because of the way his friends rallied around him afterwards.

"My teammates were amazing through the whole ordeal," Dalton told The Independent.

"They stuck by my side and were there for me…I had grown up with these boys.

"I knew no matter what they'd be there for me and support me - they're like family."

Dalton said he did not want to identify the school team who chased him because he wanted to bring positive attention to the support people get when coming out, not get anyone "bashed".

He thinks homophobia in sport is a problem "in general" but that should not stop people coming out.

"Be who you are, do what you think you're ready to do," he said.

"If it's support you are worrying about, just look at my wall or Twitter. The world will support you, and to the people that don’t…they don’t deserve you in their life."

February 6, 2015

Gay student had to leave Religious school because video: No Freedom of Speech if it’s a Religious School


Earlier this week, a 17-year-old YouTube blogger posted an emotional video in which he recounted how he was forced to leave his high school because he’s gay.
In the video, Austin Wallis repeatedly breaks down crying as he sits with his boyfriend and explains how administrators gave him a choice between going back in the closet or finding a new school. Wallis’ story has gone viral, getting picked up by outlets including Huffington Post, and as of Thursday morning, the video had been viewed more than 170,000 times in the four days since it was posted.
Wallis doesn’t identify his former school in the video, saying he doesn’t want the controversy to reflect badly on teachers who supported him, but the Observer has learned that Wallis attended Houston’s Lutheran High North.
Dallas Lusk, head of school at LHN, sent the Observer a statement from Wayne Kramer, executive director of the Lutheran Education Association of Houston. The association covers three schools, including LHN, which has an enrollment of 162.
“Lutheran High North welcomes all students and their families to the LHN community,” Kramer said in the statement. “We profess and proclaim our Christian beliefs with the foundations and authority taught in the Bible, all within the teachings of the Lutheran Church – Missouri Synod. We respectfully require students to adhere to these accepted values and moral beliefs. Sometimes, as in this case, students have to make choices and decide whether their beliefs align with our community and we respect their choices. We also respect student privacy and do not comment on any individual student or their actions.”
In his email accompanying the statement, Lusk wrote, “The allegations you received have been misrepresented.” Asked for clarification, Lusk said he couldn’t discuss specifics about Wallis but called the situation “frustrating.”
He also indicated that LHN students are barred from promoting “anything sinful” and referred the Observer to a “morals clause” in the school’s handbook.
“Lutheran High North reserves the right, within its sole discretion, to refuse admission of an applicant and/or to discontinue enrollment of a current student participating in, promoting, supporting or condoning: pornography, sexual immorality, homosexual activity or bisexual activity; or displaying an inability or resistance to support the qualities and characteristics required of a Biblically based and Christ-like lifestyle,” the clause states.

 According to the Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod’s website, the denomination views homosexual behavior as “intrinsically sinful.” The LCMS is the second-largest Lutheran denomination in the U.S., behind the Evangelical Lutheran Church in North America, which voted in 2009 to ordain gays and lesbians.
“The Missouri Synod believes the Bible teaches homosexual behavior is contrary to God’s Word and will, and the LCMS seeks to minister to those who are struggling with homosexual inclinations,” the denomination’s website states.
Wallis posted a coming out video on his YouTube channel six months ago. Since then, he and his boyfriend have posted dozens of others, including one in which they take off their shirts off and draw on each other’s chests.
In the video about LHN, Wallis notes that he had never previously mentioned the school on YouTube. Nevertheless, he alleges that approximately two weeks ago, he was summoned to the principal’s office. The principal said he knew Wallace was gay and was going to get his parents involved. The next day, Wallis returned to the principal’s office accompanied by his mother.
He said the principal told him that if he wanted to stay at LHN, he had to go back in the closet and delete his social media, including his YouTube account, which he said “means the world” to him.
“It means a lot to me that I can, you know, help a few people who might be feeling like they’re not worth it, or like being gay is too hard, or they need to hide from everybody, and I don’t want people to feel like that,” he says in the video.
Two days after the second meeting with the principal, Wallis says he decided to leave LHN. Although technically it was his choice, Wallis says he felt as though he was in danger of being expelled and didn’t want to attend a school that considered him immoral.
Wallis says he was a good student, and although it seemed the principal was doing everything possible to keep him at LHN, he was baffled by the fact that his sexual orientation had even become an issue.
“I think it’s ridiculous that in this day and age you can be excluded from your own school for being gay,” he said. “When I came out, I knew I was going to have bullies … but I never expected it to be from the people who are supposed to protect you from the bullies, who are supposed to try to stop that.”
Wallis goes on to call LHN’s actions “absolutely disgusting” and says he can’t believe they were legal, even though it’s a private religious school. He says he posted the video because he wants to change the world for the better.
“I am a Christian and I love my God, and I don’t feel like this is what He would have wanted, and I don’t feel like excluding someone for who they are is anything near Christian,” Wallis says.
Ken Upton, senior counsel at the LGBT civil rights group Lambda Legal, told the Observer he personally believes the school’s actions qualify as “abuse.” However, Upton conceded it’s unlikely school administrators violated Wallis’ rights to free speech or privacy.
“The short answer is that if it’s not a government school, if it’s a strictly private school, the First Amendment doesn’t apply to them,” Upton said. “If they’re a private school, then I think it’s game over. They’re entitled to discriminate.”

December 10, 2014

FSU Teacher Resigns after posting with gay slurs

FSU teacher resigns after posting profane Facebook comments
Florida State University does not have a policy governing what faculty and staff can – or cannot – say on social media.
But FSU College of Business senior lecturer Deborah O'Connor agreed that she went too far with her reactions on Facebook last Thursday to a photo of U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder. O'Connor submitted her resignation the following day, one week before the end of finals for the fall semester.
FSU officials have declined to comment on O'Connor's sudden resignation, other than to confirm that there are no rules governing use of social media.
O'Connor took issue with a Facebook post by Colin Lively, a New York City-based consultant to the beauty industry, which welcomed Holder's decision to have the U.S. Justice Department investigate the police shooting death of a black 12-year-old boy carrying a toy gun. The fatal shooting of the boy came amid high-profile deaths of unarmed black men by white police officers in Ferguson, Mo., and Staten Island, N.Y.
O'Connor called Lively a gay slur and used profane language.
"Take your Northern (gay slur) elitism and shove it up your (expletive)," O'Connor wrote on Lively's Facebook post (they are not Facebook friends, but have one mutual friend on the social media site).
"I teach at a University, you (expletive). What do you do?" she added. "You are an intellectual fraud, just like your Messiah. Obama has single-handedly turned our once great society into a Ghetto Culture, rivaling that of Europe."
O'Connor told the Tallahassee Democrat that she was embarrassed by the entire incident. She was not forced to resign, she said, but she was encouraged to.
"I've learned my lesson about Facebook; let's just leave it at that," O'Connor said. "I decided to resign because I didn't think it was feasible to drag myself and Florida State through this kind of mud."
She has worked with her marketing department chair to have an instructor monitor the final exams for her classes this week. O'Connor will be responsible for posting her students' final grades.
Lively said during a telephone interview Tuesday that he was at first amused by O'Connor's comments, but he became increasingly concerned as her vitriol intensified.
"I'm surprised her employers weren't aware of her and hadn't done something about it," Lively said. "I feel very bad for any woman who carries that kind of rage inside her heart. I feel very bad and sorry for her."
Lively's friend Susie Sharp, one of the founders of the Social Media Club of Cleveland, captured all of O'Connor's comments before O'Connor was able to erase them (her comments are no longer visible on Facebook). She provided them to Derek Kinner, a journalist with the Jacksonville-based news and opinion website, His account of O'Connor's writing on Facebook and her subsequent resignation have been making the rounds online.
Sharp also sent an email of concern on Friday to FSU President John Thrasher and members of his leadership team, including Board of Trustees Chair Allan Bense. She had not received a reply from the university by Tuesday afternoon.
"I usually give people a pass, but once I saw that she had a position of responsibility teaching our children, that's what put me over the edge," Sharp said. "My thought is that when you are a teacher you are held to a higher standard."
O’Connor's resignation comes one week after five Wakulla County Sheriff's Office deputies were placed on paid administrative leave for comments they made on Facebook in reaction to protests in Ferguson.
 Doug Blackburn, Tallahassee Democrat

November 21, 2014

Hockey Team Strips off Naked for Campaign Against Homophobia on Nottingham University


WHEN a group of hunky hockey players were asked to strip naked, they didn’t have to be asked twice.
The lads happily bared all to film a one-off naked hockey match as part of a campaign against homophobia.
Unsurprisingly, with no shortage of bare skin in sight, the video has proved an online sensation.
More than 20 players from Nottingham University’s hockey club took part in the shoot to help combat homophobia in sport.
Just 24 hours after being posted on YouTube, the film had already attracted more than 80,000 views.
Piers Denning, president of the hockey club, said: “When we were approached to make the film we were more than happy to do it and didn’t think twice about saying yes.
“On the day of filming it’s fair to say we were a little bit apprehensive at first, but as soon as we stripped off it was fine. We had so much fun.
“It was an absolutely freezing day so there was some hesitation to actually get naked but it just made it even more of a laugh.
“Everyone was in stitches all the way through filming.
“Personally I’ve never done anything like this before but seeing the reaction to the video definitely makes me glad I agreed to strip off!”
For the boys, highlighting the issue of homophobia in sport was a good enough reason to don their birthday suits.
Piers, 22, a fourth year chemical engineering student, said: “Homophobia is something that’s been an issue in sport for a long time, and something all of us were aware of.
“For us sport is such a huge part of our university life and it should be available to everyone, without people feeling they have to hide who they are.”
The video was the brainchild of the people behind Voice Your Rights, a university campaign covering a range of human rights issues.
Project leader Dimitri Vichas, 25, a third year medical student, said: “We came up with the idea for the naked hockey match as we knew it would be popular.
“When we asked the club if they’d be up for it, they didn’t hesitate at all.
“As soon as they arrived on the day of the filming they were asking ‘When do we get to take our clothes off?’. They couldn’t wait!
“It was great to see them throwing themselves into it and the whole day was a lot of fun.
“Obviously there was a serious side to it too, and hopefully it has helped us to highlight that homophobia is still an issue in sport.”
The University of Nottingham has declared a zero tolerance to homophobia in sport.
Dimitri’s aim is to ensure other universities follow suit.
He said: “We hope this video will help spread the message – we’ve certainly had a great reaction so far. Eventually I’d like to see all universities in the country declare a zero tolerance to homophobia in sport.”

pic and post from 

November 14, 2014

Everlades Student Launch “That’s so Gay” anti Homophobia Poster Campaign

That’s so gay” is an expression that’s hurtful to LGBT youth, say Ransom Everglades students who have launched an anti-homophobia poster campaign at the Coconut Grove school. 
“I don’t say ‘That’s so gay’ because the words ‘gay’ and ‘stupid’ are not interchangeable,” says basketball player Jack Woolworth, a 17-year-old senior who posed in one of the posters. 
“On our class Facebook page, there have been a lot of unnecessarily heated debates by some kids in our class being very homophobic,” he said. “I’m really proud of the kids in our class — a lot of them have stood up to that.”
According to a report recently released by the Gay, Lesbian & Straight Education Network (GLSEN), three-quarters of LGBT students report they have heard the word “gay” used in a negative way or frequently at school. More than 47 percent say they commonly hear the expression “That’s so gay.”
In Florida, more than 9 in 10 LGBT students heard “gay” used in a negative way, and almost 9 in 10 heard other homophobic remarks at school regularly, according to GLSEN.
Sophomore Noah Bennett, 15, says he hears the “that’s so gay” expression “like 40 times a day around campus.” 
“I don’t think people were purposely being homophobic,” says Noah, a member of Ransom Everglades’ student gay-straight alliance (GSA). “It’s offensive to gay people because it’s bringing them down. It’s an insult. I don’t want anyone to be insulted.” 
Earlier this year, Noah told GSA faculty sponsor Gregory Cooper about a Duke University ‘That’s so gay’ poster program he had read about on the Internet. 
“I showed him the article and we said, ‘Let’s try getting some kids from our school. Let’s make our own,’” Noah recalled. 
Eleven classmates worked with student photographers to craft posters dealing with gender and sexual-orientation issues. Among the topics: “That’s so gay,” “Don’t say fag” and “You’re such a girl.” The posters are displayed throughout Ransom Everglades’ middle and upper schools.
“I’m not a member of the GSA, but when I signed on to the project they explained it to me. I thought it was a good idea,” says Erica Scott, a 16-year-old junior. 
“People shouldn’t say things that could potentially belittle members of our community,” Erica says. “It’s uncomfortable for all parties involved. I guess the people who say it don’t mean it badly, but it has a negative impact on pretty much everyone. People who are gay or aren’t gay feel uncomfortable by the use of the language.” 
Soccer player Lucas Rodriguez, an 18-year-old senior, says he volunteered to be on a poster “because someone’s sexuality shouldn’t be used as an insult.”
Lucas’ poster hangs in the school library and the boys’ locker room.
“The posters are really good because they challenge people to take it seriously, to rethink the impact of their words,” he says. “No one really speaks up about it. Most of it is going on in the field, away from the coaches. Adults are not really that involved, so it’s up to the students to do it.”
Jack Woolworth says he hears anti-gay talk “a lot” on campus. 
“I’m on the basketball team and in the locker room and by kids in general, it’s used way too much,” he says. “It belittles people. I’m friends with a lot of gay people. I’m close to a lot of gay people and you don’t say ‘that’s so gay’ when you refer to something as ‘that’s so stupid’ or ‘that’s not a good thing.’ The things are not comparable. You can’t do that.”
Jack has attended Ransom Everglades since the sixth grade. He says he has seen many societal changes on campus, particularly since it became acceptable in class to discuss LGBT issues. 
“The GSA has brought a lot the past couple of years to bring awareness to the school,” he says. “It’s very appropriate to talk about this in school because we need to educate people. You can’t send people out of high school thinking that it’s OK to say ‘that’s so gay’ and call people fags. It’s just not OK. Part of schooling should be educating people on social issues. This is one of them.”

Read more here:

Read more here:

November 12, 2014

HeadTeacher Attacked for Fighting Homophobia in Multi-racial School

The Chips programme headteacher Jamie Barry introduced at Welford is used in 35 Birmingham schools.
 Headteacher Jamie Barry, of Welford school, Handsworth, is one of many using the Chips programme to educate children about homosexuality. Photograph: David Sillitoe for the Guardian

Jamie Barry turned up at Welford primary school on 3 October expecting a routine meeting of the twice termly parents’ forum – about 20 mums and dads, there to discuss issues such as the annual community festivals and home-school diaries. Instead, the headteacher found five times that number of parents and one item on the agenda: the Birmingham school’s recent introduction of a range of teaching materials called Chips – Challenging Homophobia in Primary Schools.
Some parents had been supported by Safe at School, a campaign run by the anti-abortion group the Society for the Protection of Unborn Children (Spuc), which had emailed them a list of questions and comments to make (see below). “Teaching children about sexual orientation isn’t making them safe,” point 12 says. “It’s putting ideas into children’s heads.”

Part of the email sent by the Safe at School campaign, linked to an anti-abortion group, suggesting questions for parents at a meeting with Barry, to which the police were called.
Part of the email sent by the Safe at School campaign, linked to an anti-abortion group, suggesting questions for parents at a meeting with Barry, to which the police were called.

As the meeting became more heated, a group of around 10 parents came to the fore. Their complaints became, in Barry’s words, “very personal and very aggressive”. Homophobic abuse was directed at the head, alleges Cllr Brigid Jones, Birmingham city council’s cabinet member for children and family services. Eventually, increasingly concerned staff called the police, and Barry was advised to leave the room and wait in his office. 
A month later he chooses his words carefully when talking about the incident and keeps his description brief. He wants the school to move on, he says, and refutes reporting that claimed he had been “escorted from the premises for his own safety”. Others are more outspoken: Jones calls it a “dark and horrible episode”. Rob Kelsall, the National Association of Headteachers’ senior regional officer, says he was horrified by what happened.
Kelsall is calling on the DfE to give its “full support” to heads who deliver the Chips programme and find themselves in Barry’s position. “It’s about coming behind the head and the school to say ‘this is a fundamental value that there’s no negotiation on’,” he says. “We’re calling for more clarity on what is described all too often as ‘fundamental British values’. It’s about sending a message to the community that we teach respect of law and tolerance, and Chips is an important part of that.”
Chips was introduced to Welford, where 44% of pupils are from families of Pakistani origin and 22% from African-Caribbean backgrounds, in the wake of the Trojan Horse affair. The school, which has 480 pupils, in Handsworth, was one of 21 in Birmingham to be inspected in the inquiry into claims that Muslim hardliners had infiltrated some schools, and while it was given a clean bill of health, inspectors reported some children saying they believed it was wrong to be gay.
“We were aware that they might do, because culturally, within the community we serve, we know those views are heard,” says Barry, adding that there was no problem with homophobic bullying in the school. “But it made us think that as a school we need to do a little more in terms of teaching children about diversity and relationships.
“While we respect everyone’s right to a personal view, same-sex marriage is legal and some same-sex couples adopt or foster. Our children will come into contact with these people and we don’t want it to be a shock to the system.” Those at the meeting in October came from a variety of religious backgrounds, and included parents with no religious affiliation, he says.
The Welford protest comes at a time of confusion over new rules issued after the Trojan Horse affair, stating that all schools should promote the “British values” of respect for the law, democracy, equality and tolerance of different faiths and religious and other beliefs.
Last week, education secretary Nicky Morgan warned that faith schools must follow the rules, but the DfE dismissed any suggestion that schools would be forced to teach gay rights against their will.
The rules allow inspectors to censure schools that do not conform to the EqualityAct, which encourages respect for lesbian, gay and transgender people, and other religions and races.
Ofsted tells inspectors to look at what primary schools are doing to tackle and prevent homophobic and transphobic bullying, Barry explains, including whether they’ve given lessons about different types of families. “It’s very clear from the guidance what we should be doing and we shared that with our parents,” he says. He’s full of praise for the inspectorate’s reaction – Michael Wilshaw came to visit and offered his full support, says Barry – and that of the local authority.
In fact, Chips is being used in 35 other Birmingham schools. Two years ago the council hired the award-winning teacher and campaigner Elly Barnes as its LGBT adviser for schools, and began rolling out her Educate and Celebrate teaching in secondary schools and Chips in the primaries.
Chips, written by teacher Andrew Moffat, uses existing story books as the basis to teach children that LGBT people exist, via acceptance and celebration of difference, and is designed to be woven into literacy or PSHE lessons, rather than standing out on its own (“It’s not a big lesson about being gay,” says Barry). It’s not about sex, and as it’s not part of sex and relationships education (SRE), parents have no right to withdraw their children.
Like Welford, Anderton Park, in Sparkhill, Birmingham, started using the resources this term. Year 1 pupils listen carefully as their teacher Rachel Dutton reads them “And Tango Makes Three”, based on the true story of Roy and Silo, two male penguins in New York’s Central Park zoo who hatched a spare egg given to them by a keeper and cared for baby Tango.
Afterwards, Dutton asks questions: “Why did the zookeeper think Roy and Silo were in love? Did he think they’re both boys, they can’t be in love?”
“No,” the children chorus.
“It’s usually a girl penguin and a boy penguin, but this time it was two boys – is that ok?”
“Yes!” comes the reply.
Later the children, who’ve already learned not just about same-sex families but also single-parent and adoptive ones, settle down to draw a family of their choosing. Amarah draws two mummies and a baby, while her friend Maysa goes for two daddies. Why have they picked those? “Because we like them,” says Maysa. “And they’re easy.”
Unlike Barry, Anderton Park headteacher Sarah Hewitt-Clarkson didn’t tell parents about Chips in advance, and has had no complaints at the school, where the vast majority of pupils come from Muslim families. “It’s just some books,” Hewitt-Clarkson says. “Lovely story books. I wouldn’t talk to parents if I was going to buy books about children in wheelchairs or children who are blind. We’ve just spent £9,000 on some new books for the library – I didn’t tell the parents about that.”
She is appalled by what happened at Welford. “It’s a shocking indictment of a part of society that adults could behave like that. I think if parents start kicking off like they did at Welford, they should lose their right to a free education [for their children]. British values are about the rule of law. The Equality Act is the law, so you can’t pick and choose that bit; it should not be negotiable.”
Safe at School, which campaigns for the removal of “sexually explicit” teaching materials from schools, says Welford parents are “worried sick about what is happening to their children” and fear Chips is “sexualising” them. A review of the scheme on its website states that although its author says he is only teaching children that gay people exist and that that’s OK, “Chips can also be seen as a programme for priming susceptible, small children for gay sex later on”.
None of the parents want to talk to the media, says Safe at School co-ordinator Antonia Tully, who got involved at Welford school after being contacted by parents earlier this year. “They told me that someone phoned the police which was a very inflammatory reaction,” she says. “They said nothing that happened at the meeting warranted any police involvement.”
Is she aware of homophobic comments being made? “I wasn’t at the meeting, I really don’t want to talk about it,” she says. Later in October she went with parents to deliver letters of complaint from 160 of them to the council.
One parent posting on Twitter, who described herself as white British and a Muslim, said the incident had been blown out of proportion. “It was not nasty at all, it just got very loud,” she said, adding it was “not a Muslim issue”.
“Homophobia is just as important as racism, sexism etc – but they are too young for this yet, it’s confusing,” one of her tweets reads.
A DfE spokesperson said: “We are committed to tackling all forms of bullying, including homophobic bullying, in an age-appropriate manner.” Frequent homophobic bullying in secondary schools had almost halved since 2009, she said. However, “Primary schools are not required to teach about relationships. If they do, it must be age-appropriate and done in consultation with parents’ wishes.”
Birmingham has never seen anything like what happened at Welford, says Jones. “This is 2014 and the behaviour of these parents has been extraordinary,” she says. “It’s appalling what they’re doing. Some of their children will grow up to discover they’re gay. How on earth are they going to feel about that? We’ve been clear in letting them know this is absolutely not acceptable.” Like Barry, she’s adamant Chips is staying put at Welford.
The quote of the week on the school’s website last week was from Maya Angelou: “Hate. It has caused a lot of problems in this world but not solved one yet.” There have been words of support from some parents, but it has been a difficult time for Barry nonetheless. “Not just because they made personal comments towards me, but because I came into teaching to make a positive impact on the lives of our children,” he says. “I know it sounds a terrible cliché, but I wanted to mould and shape the future generation. I don’t do anything just because I’m told to do it – I do things if I think they’re right.”

September 27, 2014

Suspended Teacher that Wrote ‘Im Gay' on Student gets suspended again

 Daniel Mark Ogloff has been teaching at a school in southern Alberta since January. (
A Langley, B.C., teacher, who was suspended for writing "I'm gay" on a piece of masking tape and sticking it on the back of a student's jacket last year received a second suspension this month.
Daniel Mark OgloffDaniel Mark Ogloff,  a metalwork teacher at Aldergrove Community Secondary School, was first suspended for 10 weeks in November 2013 by the school district for the homophobic prank on the male Grade 11 student.
On Sept. 10 this year, he received a second two-week suspension from the B.C. Commissioner for Teacher Regulation, according to documents that were recently released. That suspension ends early in October.
Grade 10 student Cameron Snow says he was in his class Sept, 24, 2013, when the incident happened.
"Mr. Ogloff,  just as a joke, came up and stuck a sticker on him that said, 'I'm gay, LOL.'  We didn't think anything of it.  No one did because we always mess around with the teacher and he messes back. He's friendly," said Snow.
Aldergrove Community Secondary school - Sept. 24, 2014
Aldergrove Community Secondary School in Langley, B.C., is where Daniel Mark Ogloff played a prank on a student that led to the teacher being suspended twice. Ogloff stuck a piece of masking tape reading 'I'm gay' on the back of the student's jacket. (CBC)
But Snow recalls students were pointing, laughing and taking pictures of the student, who was clearly upset.
"He took it to offence, walked out of the room, told the principal ... and then the next day we came to school and Mr. Ogloff wasn't there."
Ogloff later described the incident to officials as "horseplay."
But the school district disagreed and suspended Ogloff from work without pay for 10 weeks, beginning last November, for acting unprofessionally and disrespectfully.
When he returned to work, he met with the offended student and took some mandatory courses.
The B.C. Commissioner of Teacher Regulation then suspended his teaching certificate, effective Sept. 22 to Oct. 5.
LGBT advocates, such as Dara Parker, executive director of QMunity, say they are stunned a teacher would have done something like this.
"This is just an affirmation that, despite all of the progress that we've made and all of the legal equalities we've achieved, that the day-to-day lived equalities are still not there," said Parker.
 "This teacher thought it was acceptable to put a sign that says 'I'm gay' on a student's back. And that's completely wrong."
Martin Rooney, the founder of Out in Surrey, agrees.
"In this day and age, with all of the conversation regarding gay and lesbian issues in school, and with the transgender issue being forefront, it surprises me there's not a sensitivity," said Rooney.
Nevertheless Snow says he wants Ogloff to return to the classroom.
"I learned all of my welding skills from him. I'm pretty good at it now. I'm already starting to get a job somewhere from welding."
Ogloff has been disciplined before. 
In 2011, he received a warning for making inappropriate comments to Grade 7 students.
The Langley School District and the B.C. College of Teachers did not return CBC’s calls for comments.

March 21, 2014

Student Banned From Yearbook Because He is Gay

Taylor Ellis

 A high school in Arkansas banned a yearbook interview with a gay student because he talked about his experience coming-out.
Officials at Sheridan High School decided to pull the interview of openly gay student Taylor Ellis from the Yellowjacket yearbook because it was not in line with “the mission of our school,” CNN reported.  
"We must make decisions that lead in the proper direction for all of our students and for our community," Sheridan School District Superintendent Brenda Haynes said in a Tuesday statement obtained by CNN.  The school didn't just ban Ellis' profile, but seven others. “The seven profiles will not be published in the yearbook. 
"We have reviewed state law, court cases, and our own policies," Haynes continued. "It is clear that the adults who have the responsibility for the operation of the District have the obligation to make decisions which are consistent with the mission of our school. We have done so."
In the interview, Ellis, a 17-year-old junior, said at first he was afraid of being honest about his sexuality. But "he found that most of the student body, as well as the teachers, were very accepting of him," the profile said according to CNN.
Ellis, who came out a year ago, said he did not understand why the school decided not to publish his interview.
"It's not something I'm ashamed of," Ellis said according to Arkansas News. "In fact, I'm proud of who I am. That's why I can't understand why my school was trying for force me back into the closet."
The Human Rights Campaign, which advocates on behalf of the LGBT community, has started an online petition to get the high school to reinsert the interview. The organization has collected over 30,000 signatures so far, according to Arkansas News.
"This discriminatory exclusion by Sheridan High School administrators has nothing to do with Arkansas values," HRC President Chad Griffin said according to KATV, a CNN affiliate.
 Ellis said his high school is "history" once he graduates.
"When I'm done with Sheridan, I'm done with Sheridan. I have one more year, and after that I’ll thank God every day that I'm not there anymore," KATV reported.

By Oulimata Ba | 

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