Anti-bullying lesson: Schools should not “out” students to their parents!
A school district in Lehi, Utah, is on the defensive after its decision to out a student to his parents, and the situation backfiring.
We are not going to back down,” a spokeswoman for the school district said. “We take bullying very, very seriously.
The Gay, Lesbian & Straight Education Network (GLSEN) has noted that while it is important for schools to deal with bullying and notify parents of any instances, this should be done without disclosing a students sexual orientation or gender identity.
“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,” GLSEN said.
The school said that it asked the student’s permission first. The student was hesitant to approach his parents himself, but agreed “reluctantly” to let an administrator speak with them.
Obviously, the school thought that once the parents knew, they’d be more involved with their child’s safety and wellbeing.
Except in this case, what happened is the parents stopped sending their child to school, have maybe put him in counseling, probably thinking that the school was indoctrinating him with too much gay tolerance. (Edit: The Salt Lake Tribune reports that the parents are supportive, but what if they hadn’t been???) A Facebook page then created a widespread false impression that the school suspended the student for being too vocal about his gayness in the classroom. This led to national media contacting the school for clarification.
A school cannot ensure that the student is safe or accepted at home, so it is never appropriate to out a student to his family.