Friday, May 20, 2011

FL High School Principal Actions Are Why Some LGBT Kids Commit Suicide

I wrote the letter below to the FL principal and school board who outed a gay teenage girl to her parents and showed intolerance and zero understanding about the struggle these teenagers go through.  Maybe it will provide them with a little insight into their stupidity. The blog posting from, and my letter follow.
South Florida Times has the latest case of discrimination against LGBT kids, followed by outing them to their parents.
The South Florida Times is not identifying the students, who are an interracial couple, one a junior, the other a senior. Both have good grades and one is an honor student.
The two were holding hands while walking to class on May 3 at Blanche Ely High School in Pompano Beach. School Principal Karlton Johnson confronted and took them to his office.
“We were walking to class when he rolled up on his golf cart and said, ‘Didn’t I tell you two to stop doing do that?’ and then he took us to his office,” one of the girls told South Florida Times. “He gave us a speech and then separated us before calling our parents, which was wrong. My mother already knew but my friend’s mom didn’t know she is into girls.”
You should definitely read the rest for much more. Surprising no one, the school board thinks what Principal Karlton Johnson did was just great. North Area Superintendent Sharon Airaghi defended his abuse in a letter to the girls.
But I think the last paragraph I quoted is the most important point and the most damaging to these girls, and to other students at Blanch Ely High. Frankly, this is one big reason projects like It Gets Better and I’m From Driftwood exist, to undo the damage done to our children and youth by bigots like Principal Karlton Johnson before they attempt or complete suicide.
Principal Karlton Johnson
Principal Karlton Johnson
By the way, Principal Karlton Johnson’s outing these girls to their parents is unfortunately not without precedent. In August 2008 posted about a similar story in Holmes County, Florida, where a principal punished a lesbian student and then outed her to her parents.
The court decided that the principal did wrong in Holmes County. Here’s hoping they get a chance to say the same thing about this case in Pompano Beach.
Contact information below is for YOUR email messages:
Principal Karlton Johnson:
   phone 754.322.0955
North Area Superintendent Sharon Airaghi:
   email (that’s a guess)
   telephone (754) 321- 3400
Superintendent of Schools James F. Notter:
   phone (754) 321-2600
Email the School Board:


May 19, 2011
Dear Principal Karlton, Superintendents Notter and  Airaghi and school board -
    As a former resident of south Florida I am writing to express my disgust for your acts of discrimination against two female high school students and outing one of them to their parents. Do you not understand that these teenagers are struggling with their sexuality? If you don't, you're in the wrong job. You should be supportive or at least tolerant of diversity in our schools. You need to understand the DANGER that you have put one of the young girls in by your foolish actions.
   Do you remember the college student in the northeast who was outed by his roommate over the last couple of months? He killed himself. If this girl does something to herself, the responsibility is YOURS.
  I was even more disgusted to hear about your actions when I learned you're an African American. Some African Americans seem to have forgotten all of the hardships they endured as a minority who were severely mistreated. Now, you are doing the same thing on gay and lesbian people. You should be ashamed.
  As a man of 48 years old, I came out to my parents when I was 35 years old. My own mother refused to speak to me for 6 months. I was depressed, angry, hurt, and felt rejected, just as these teenagers do. Sometimes this is enough to cause teenagers to commit suicide.  Apparently you have no idea how to handle children.  Where are the counselors?
  You owe this girl a public apology.
  I'm sure that the girl's family is creating a lot of stress for her, and may have thrown her out of their home. It happens often. Gay teens are often thrown out from hateful parents, like yourselves, who refuse to help them.

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Gift/Memorial Suggestions

Several of our friends have lost loved ones (human and pets) and we found that one of the best ways to honor their memory is to give to an animal charity.
What better way to recognize a life of love, than by giving another life a chance for love?
We donate to many animal rescues, but because we volunteer with
DC Weimaraner Rescue and Coast-to-Coast Dachshund Rescue, those are our 2 favorites.
Consider giving the chance of life to a dog or cat.

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We're two married guys who enjoy the simple things in life, especially our dogs. We volunteer for dog rescues, enjoy splitting dinners, exercising, blogging, helping friends and neighbors, ghost investigations, coffee and tea, Tudor history, weather, superheroes, comic books, mystery novels, traveling, 70s and 80s music, classic country, piano, gardening, writing books on ghosts and spirits, architecture, keeping a clean house, cooking simply, and keeping in shape. You'll find tidbits of all of these things on this blog and more.

Tom and Rob Thinking Hard!

Tom and Rob Thinking Hard!
Wondering what home project to do next