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Gay student can't go on his senior trip......
Old 08-26-2018, 12:23 PM
 
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Our school is small and rural. It's a pretty conservative town, with a few liberals like me spread around for good measure lol. DD has a friend "James" who is heading into his senior year. James is gay, and has been out since 7th grade. This is pretty unusual for our school.......usually kids wait until college to come out because they fear backlash. The Senior Class is going to Washington DC for their Senior Trip. They stay in a hotel, rooming in groups of 3-5. All rooming situations must be same-sex. No exceptions.

Well, this is a problem for James. None of the straight boys at our school would tolerate sharing a room with him. It might even be dangerous for him. All of the girls in his friend group asked if he can room with them. They stipulated that he would sleep on a pull-out cot, and all of their parents wrote letters giving their permission for this arrangement. The administration won't budge.

I suggested that James ask for a single room, due to the extenuating circumstances. He did, with the knowledge and permission from his mother that it may cost extra money, and he was denied this as well. "It wouldn't be fair to other students who might want a single room."

This is the district where I teach, and I'm so discouraged, disappointed and frustrated. Does anyone know of districts with policies in place for such situations? The trip isn't until May, so I'm hoping I can help James find a solution before then.


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Old 08-26-2018, 12:33 PM
 
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Can his parents go with him and he could then bunk with them? Would a teacher be willing to have him bunk with them?

It doesn't seem fair that he is not allowed to attend his Senior Trip. Maybe the ACLU should get involved.
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Old 08-26-2018, 12:36 PM
 
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It’s not something I would normally say or even suggest but I’d be going to and possibly suing the school board/state board of education on this one.

There is absolutely no reason this should even be an issue, especially with letters from all of the girls parents. Nor do I think his parents should have to go or that he should be required to stay with a teacher... doesn’t really have the same feeling to me that a senior trip should.
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Old 08-26-2018, 12:49 PM
 
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Quote:
Can his parents go with him and he could then bunk with them? Would a teacher be willing to have him bunk with them?
His mom is a single parent (no dad in the picture as long as I've known him), and works at an hourly-wage type job. If she doesn't go to work, she doesn't get paid. She's expressed that she couldn't afford this option. I asked James if he would be willing to room with a teacher, and he said no. As I said, our town is super conservative. The senior class advisors are very right-wing and most likely disapprove of his sexual orientation.
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James needs to get an attorney.
Old 08-26-2018, 12:54 PM
 
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Pronto. This is illegal, bigoted, and just plain crazy B.S. being perpetrated by your school district. They are admitting that it would be "DANGEROUS" for him to share a room with other students? Then they MUST accommodate. And if they cannot trust these other students to not abuse a classmate, those students must not be allowed to attend.

Attorney. Attorney. Attorney. Preferably an ACLU attorney. Start a Go-Fund-Me for James. This is outrageous. The reign of #45 has allowed all the mental cockroaches to come out and do their thing. Quick, someone get the RAID.

This is a clear violation of his civil rights. He is being denied an educational opportunity based on his sexual orientation because this school has been unable to teach its students TOLERANCE. If this was my kid, trust me, the entire damn trip would be shut down before they would not allow James to go. Please, please, please help James. Call the nearest ACLU office and they will help him get a pro-bono attorney. I am livid just reading it.

In fact, why not call the media yourself? And start a letter-writing campaign or petition on FB. You should also contact the State Board of Education. And look at your state ed codes and student handbook to find how this violates James' rights. OMG, I'm SOOOO angry reading this garbage.



Last edited by Clarity; 08-26-2018 at 01:10 PM..
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Old 08-26-2018, 01:00 PM
 
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Wow, my heart breaks for James! This is so sad! Especially since alternate arrangements appear to be accepted by everyone BUT the administration.

What's really astonishing is the response of "It wouldn't be fair to other students who might want a single room." So let me get this straight... "fairness" applies to everyone BUT James? Really???

I agree with the other posters... ACLU needs to get involved with this.
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Old 08-26-2018, 01:04 PM
 
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I would be contacting the America Civil Liberties Union and seeing if they can provide direction on this and possibly a pro bono lawyer or contact information for someone who could provide direction and legal aide.

This is discrimination based on "James" sexual orientation. Plain and simple. If a blind student asked to bring their seeing eye dog it would be allowed or they would be sued. If a handicapped student needed a handicap acessable room it would be allowed or they would be sued. This is no different.

Rooming alone is a reasonable accomidation that would allow equitable participation and shouldn't be denied-and for that matter he shouldn't have to pay more. A handicapped student in a wheelchair could not be charged extra for needing an acessable room so this student shouldn't be either.
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Old 08-26-2018, 01:22 PM
 
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I suggest the ACLU also. What a horrible situation for him to be in. It’s exactly the kind of hateful intolerance that causes kids to harm themselves.
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Old 08-26-2018, 01:33 PM
 
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I do not think it would be wise for any teacher to room with a student. I am sure it wouldn’t be allowed. I do think he should room with boys. He should definitely be allowed to go.
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Wow.
Old 08-26-2018, 01:45 PM
 
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This is terrible that James is being discriminated against! I agree wth Clarity. This is wrong on every level.


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Old 08-26-2018, 01:46 PM
 
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The ones who should be allowed to go are the ones who wouldn't "tolerate sharing a room with him". Bigoted arseholes should be made to stay at home. End of discussion.

Lawyer. Now.
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He has a reasonable concern
Old 08-26-2018, 01:55 PM
 
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that it would be dangerous to room with boys. There are legal reasons why he should not room with teachers. The school has an obligation to come up with a solution, since they have rejected out of hand both the solutions James has proposed. At this point, it seems that he should either contact the ACLU, or get public pressure on his side. I am sure there are many, many news outlets that would find this story compelling. Writing to "Good Morning, America" or the "Today" show might be another possibility.
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This is so sad...
Old 08-26-2018, 02:00 PM
 
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How brave he was to come out at such a young age. I can't believe such a thing is happening. I'm afraid it will be a long year for this person. Bless him.
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Old 08-26-2018, 02:06 PM
 
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His parents should see a lawyer. Sometimes a firmly worded letter on a law firm's letterhead is enough to get things to happen.
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Old 08-26-2018, 02:15 PM
 
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I agree with those who say media and legal pressure is needed, but I’d be sure to talk to James and mother before doing anything yourself. Let him decide if he wants to be a test case for the school.
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Old 08-26-2018, 02:24 PM
 
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I am 100% outraged and agree with Clarity's post--she said it far better than I could.
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Old 08-26-2018, 03:17 PM
 
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This situation is outrageous and Definately illegal. Please keep us informed. This poor child has enough going on in his short life and does not need these Neanderthal minded adults making inappropriate decisions on his behalf. If this school receives any federal funding, they just jeopardized future funding as well!
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What a lame excuse by the administration..
Old 08-26-2018, 03:38 PM
 
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I hope James gets a lawyer and ACLU involved. He needs to do this for himself and for all the other gay students who are or will attend that school.

The only bright spot in this whole administrative mess is that there are other students with their parents approval who are accepting and willing to let James share a room.

Get everyone you can to go to all the next board meetings. Get parents and people from the community who want to support James to speak to the board. Demand the board make a new policy so that things like this don't happen. Have reporters there. Have those adults and students write letters to the editor of the paper. Does this high school have a student council? Have them address it too.

Also get people to demand that the staff in this high school have some sensitivity training and PD on equal rights.
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Old 08-26-2018, 06:40 PM
 
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The district can be sued big time for this. Our district had a bullying situation against a guy who everyone thought was gay. They failed to take proper action against the bullying, and the boy and his family sued our district. He was awarded enough money to go to college all four years, with plenty of money left over. BTW, he wasn't gay. Everyone just thought he was.
If the boy's family threatens a lawsuit, policies will change.
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Old 08-26-2018, 07:47 PM
 
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Quote:
The trip isn't until May, so I'm hoping I can help James find a solution before then.
I hope James sues your idiotic district for every cent they have. What a travesty of justice.
I hope the ACLU organizes against your district.
I hope James gets real support from people who truly care about him.

I wish I hadn’t read your post. I had no idea James’ predicament was even a possibility in 2018. I am truly appalled.
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Old 08-26-2018, 08:27 PM
 
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Absolutely agree with Clarity and Tiamat.

If the school acknowledges or fears that the other boys are dangerous for James, why would they be allowed to go on a school trip???
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Old 08-27-2018, 04:12 AM
 
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As a guy, I'd like to look at this in a different way. I don't believe James is being treated fairly at all, but there may be more to the story. There may be a way to solve the problem.

When I was growing up, I'd always share a double bed with my brother when we were on vacation. We tolerated it and didn't complain because there was no other choice, but neither of us enjoyed it. We got along very well and still do, but two growing boys in a cramped double bed . . . not our idea of a good time. I don't know how teen girls feel about sharing beds with each other, but boys aren't crazy about it.

I went to camp in high school, but never on a school overnight trip with a hotel room. If I had been required to share a bed with some of the other guys I knew . . . I'm grossed out thinking about it! In college, I was part of an organization that occasionally took overnight trips. We'd often stay with host families--single beds--but there was a trip or two involving a hotel which involved sleeping in double beds with other guys. None of us loved it. When college athletic teams travel and stay in hotels, I"m not sure how they do it, but I suspect they often arrange it so that each player has his or her own bed.

I have a feeling that a lot of the boys in your school aren't comfortable with the thought of sharing a bed with each other. There may be other boys who don't fit in for other reasons--perhaps overweight, autistic, poor social skills, etc. There are probably some girls who also feel awkward about sharing a bed with others.

I don't know how common it is, but there are hotels that have rooms with single beds. I'd see if it might be possible to get some rooms where three (or more) single beds could be put in. Don't ask--assign. Put James and two other boys you think would be nice to him in one of these rooms and leave it at that.

Could the trip be scheduled for a time when college students aren't on campus? Some universities rent dorm rooms to high school groups when school isn't in session. If you could do that, nobody would have to share a bed, and it might make things more comfortable for James (and possibly other students too).
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Old 08-27-2018, 04:46 AM
 
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I have a feeling that a lot of the boys in your school aren't comfortable with the thought of sharing a bed with each other. There may be other boys who don't fit in for other reasons--perhaps overweight, autistic, poor social skills, etc. There are probably some girls who also feel awkward about sharing a bed with others.

But the other populations you suggest aren't being banned from the trip.
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Old 08-27-2018, 05:22 AM
 
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How are the rooms being assigned? I wonder if there isn't going to be a guy who has to have a single or double room.

As a parent (or the student), I would write a strongly worded letter to the school admin and the school board stating the problem and several solutions. In that letter, I would also include that if this isn't resolved quickly and quietly, that I would contact the ACLU and my lawyer.
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Old 08-27-2018, 09:48 AM
 
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Is the school leadership directly telling James he can't go? Or, are assumptions being made--none of the other boys would ever agree to share a room with him, so we don't know how he could possibly go? Do other staff members agree with you, or are you by yourself on this?

It might be necessary to get lawyers involved--I certainly wouldn't rule it out--
but here's what I'd suggest first (assuming other staff members agree with you). Let all the students know that if they'd prefer, they can bring a sleeping bag and compact air mattress and sleep on the floor. If a large number of boys are interested (I suspect that will happen), find two or three other "sleeping bag" boys who are mature, and quietly ask if they'll agree to share a room with James. Even though the majority of boys might not, I'm sure there are a couple who will say yes.

There are some little incentives you can quietly offer those who agree to room with James. Unlike other rooms that have four or five students, their room will only have three. You could also agree to spend your personal time writing glowing letters of recommendation for college admission or scholarships. If they act mature about it, they deserve it! You could also remind them that during the day, they won't be in their hotel rooms very much.
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Old 08-27-2018, 10:06 AM
 
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I suggested that James ask for a single room, due to the extenuating circumstances. He did, with the knowledge and permission from his mother that it may cost extra money, and he was denied this as well. "It wouldn't be fair to other students who might want a single room."
That's a ridiculous argument! I'm sure the hotel would be more than happy to take extra money from any kid who wanted to pay for a single room.

Admin is punishing him - either for not adhering to their beliefs, or for being an "inconvenience". They liked it better when nobody came out, and they didn't have to think about the fact that gay kids have been going on this trip for years.

I agree with contacting the ACLU.
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Old 08-27-2018, 03:47 PM
 
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I also agree with contacting the ACLU if James is willing to.put himself out there publicly. It sounds like he presented two very reasonable solutions and it's sad the district is not cooperative.

Clarity-I completely agree.
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Old 08-28-2018, 03:35 AM
 
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So sorry to "post and run" - I started school this week, and you know how that is!!

I'll try to quickly answer a couple of questions.......

The kids choose their roommates in groups of 3-5, all must agree. If there are kids who have no roommates, they put them together. James is worried about sleeping in a room with people who aren't his *friends*.

When I wrote that it might be dangerous for James to room with the other boys, those were NOT administration's words. Not sure how that came across that way. But those are OUR assumptions, knowing these redneck, homophobic kids.

There's no possibility of changing the date and using a local college for housing.

I've spoken to James only once since posting this, and he said he just wants to drop it. His mom promised to take him to NYC for a weekend (we live only 6 hours away, they can drive, stay with family, see a show -- on a budget and it will be cheaper than the senior trip). I suggested that I could help them pursue this, fight this, further. He doesn't want to. He's going to be the kid that leaves town when he graduates and never looks back.

Thanks for all of your support.
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Can we support him somehow?
Old 08-28-2018, 04:21 AM
 
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Would it be possible to do a thread to him and his family offering our support for him as a person, or would he be embarrassed by our good wishes?

I wish I could do something for him. He would be so welcome here in the NY/NJ area. He has a happy future ahead of him, once he's with a diverse population of intelligent people who love you for who you are. People who know it doesn't matter who you love, as long as you love.
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Old 08-28-2018, 04:24 AM
 
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He's going to be the kid that leaves town when he graduates and never looks back.

I can't wait for him to escape.
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Thank you for the update
Old 08-28-2018, 05:37 AM
 
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My brother was gay and grew up in the 60s and 70s. He has since passed away. He had married, had kids and then "came out" in his 40s. The stress of living a lie led him to drink. He went through rehab and 7 years later died from liver cancer which I think was a result of his drinking which was a result of hiding his identity. He said he would never had come out in that climate of "smear the queer"--a game some kids played when we were growing up. How very brave James is. It is sad we are still in this mindset in some areas.

I worried for James because it is the beginning of the school year, it would be a long, long year for him if he hired a lawyer and all. I wish he were in a more accepting area. It is up to him to decide what he is comfortable with. I wish him the best, I wish him strength, I wish him close friends, and I wish that your community examines itself and is more accepting of people. Thank you for your concern for him. I bet it means a lot to him to know he does have support.
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Old 08-28-2018, 05:40 AM
 
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I wonder.... if he or his parents could reach out to a local college (close to NYC) LGBT organization and if they could help bring him a good NYC experience on or near their campus? I bet they have some organized activities and they may be willing, knowing that he needs support?

I can totally understand him not wanting to make (more) waves than he has. I often wonder how some kids get strong enough to stand up alone.

Truthfully, I think as a teacher in such a close minded community, with no obvious tie to the gay community, if teachers could bring some attention to the fact that the district needs to develop some programs to aid the LGBT community. Push for training and acceptability. It has to happen sometime or they will end up under a lawsuit. No better time than the present. They just need someone to spearhead it. I am quite sure that although no one else is living openly gay, there are more in the area. They might not be ready to admit it...but they are there.
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Old 08-28-2018, 05:57 AM
 
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It really feels like your school needs a gay straight alliance club or other type of organization to build tolerance and acceptance and community. I'll be honest, the one at my sons school is a couple of out kids, a bunch of straight girls, and my son-the only straight boy. Its not very big, but if you arent part of the solution then youre part f the problem.

I read your reply that "James" would rather just drop it and do his own trip with no fuss no muss. I can see where he is coming from and his just-keep-your-head-down-and-get-out-of-here mindset. However there will always be kids that come after him and kids that come after them that have to deal with this who also feel alone, isolated and relegated to the margins over something that they cannot control.

Even if he isnt interested in being part of it I would encourage your daughter and her friends to start such a club, if not for James than for the rest of the kids, even those who wait to come out in college. The message need to be more positive and inclusive. Have any other message come at these kids day after day is damaging whether they are out or not.
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James...
Old 08-28-2018, 09:26 AM
 
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May you succeed beyond your wildest imaginations.

I find it rich that the trip is to Washington DC. Honestly, how can people tromp through DC with a straight face while a classmates civil rights are being trashed?

I understand Jame's POV. My ILs are two hairs shy of the homophobic rabble in that area. I get more satisfaction arguing with my dog. You cut your losses. It is beyond wrong, but not everyone is up to battle that much bigotry.

This was writing about Ireland, but switch it to that town, and it fits. Take it away Mr. Joyce...

https://idioms.thefreedictionary.com...ats+its+farrow

"the sow that eats its farrow" is a reference to Ireland.


The phrase comes from James Joyce's Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man: “Do you know what Ireland is? asked Stephen with cold violence. Ireland is the old sow that eats her farrow.” A “farrow” is a litter of newborn piglets, and the reference is Joyce's belief that Ireland had a history of destroying its writers, admirable political figures, and indeed everything that should be saved and nurtured....

The old sows seem to be working overtime in many places.
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Old 08-28-2018, 10:03 AM
 
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Tell James I will pay for his room in DC. Everyone should go to DC in their life when they are young, Yes, James will leave this nasty little town and never look back or it will actually grow and mature like the one I worked for for four decades. James, sadly, is not alone. There are lots of little closed minded enclaves like your district that still see through the eyes of the pick and choose old Testament to devalue other human beings that do not fit in that square pegged hole. Seriously, if James needs the money I have it. Please PM me the address of your district office and/or board members. My daughter and SIL ( lawyers in DC) will write them a letter. IF you cannot pm here just send to gatorpe@yahoo.com
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I am so happy to read all of these
Old 08-28-2018, 12:20 PM
 
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responses and see that those who would defend the school's policy (and there are probably some reading this) are at least too chicken to respond. It would be nice to think that everyone wholeheartedly backed James, but if that were true, your school district and its neanderthal policies would not exist.

I wish James was willing to fight, but I also understand that, having grown up in that town, he has probably gone through more bullying already than any human should ever endure. Let me guess, your principal goes to church every Sunday and professes to love all humankind?

There is an amazing movie called "Doing Time on Maple Drive," which speaks to this issue. I truly hope James escapes with his self-confidence intact. And I am so sorry to learn that evil appears to have triumphed in this scenario. Hope you get in touch with the poster above who left his email and that James decides to take a stand for his rights and the rights of others. Every single administrator in this school should lose his or her job over this.
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Old 08-28-2018, 02:27 PM
 
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Quote:
Tell James I will pay for his room in DC. Everyone should go to DC in their life when they are young, Yes, James will leave this nasty little town and never look back or it will actually grow and mature like the one I worked for for four decades. James, sadly, is not alone. There are lots of little closed minded enclaves like your district that still see through the eyes of the pick and choose old Testament to devalue other human beings that do not fit in that square pegged hole. Seriously, if James needs the money I have it. Please PM me the address of your district office and/or board members. My daughter and SIL ( lawyers in DC) will write them a letter. IF you cannot pm here just send to gatorpe@yahoo.com
Thank you ---- I also offered to pay. James is extremely embarrassed and humbled by any attention to this issue. The only reason I know about it is that my DD brought it to my attention. She has already graduated, but is friends with James. She's a political hero, and would love nothing more than to make this her newest cause. But we have to respect what James wants. I appreciate your offer of support.
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another thought
Old 08-28-2018, 03:36 PM
 
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Though James is going a different direction (in not pursuing legal action) maybe his coming out and this issue that has been brought to the surface in your school (I hope other adults in your school are aware) is the catalyst for change. Are other teachers/staff aware? Maybe there will be LGBT groups formed due to this. How many other gay students quietly went through and never came out till they left the area?

I also think it amazing they are going to DC. I hope something comes of this in a positive way.

Last edited by calumetteach; 08-28-2018 at 04:25 PM..
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Old 08-28-2018, 07:56 PM
 
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http://www.foxnews.com/us/2018/08/28...mates-mom.html

I saw this on the national news tonight. Heartbreaking.
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After reading c6g's comment
Old 08-29-2018, 08:15 AM
 
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I admit that I never thought of sharing a hotel bed with someone else. However, we have traveled every summer with our grandchildren so there are 5 of us. We always have one room, with the two queen beds and a roll out cot or sleep sofa. There would be no reason why James couldn't be on the cot.

I do hope this is solved and he is allowed to go on the trip. I just keep wondering..what is wrong with people? Why are they so concerned with groups of people like gay and trans that commit almost zero crimes against others while turning a blind eye towards adults like priests, scout masters and youth leaders? We see every day where a woman will turn down someone who she does not want to date and then she is assaulted, yet now it is even more difficult to report such crimes on campuses. But this non issue is made into a big issue.

BTW-students choose their own roommates! I don't think James will be the only one who feels hurt by this. And I can only imagine what it is like when the 5 most problematic kids choose to be together, and the 5 out of the 6 nasty girls choose the same room and leaves one out. It must be a great memory for the 5 who no one lists to share a room. Nothing like a week pointing out..no one likes you! I understand letting students suggest a person they may want to bunk with, but making the choice themselves???
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Old 09-15-2018, 05:56 AM
 
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I've read all of the responses and think that you should show James this thread. You say he doesn't like attention, but he should read what this group has written so he knows how people outside of his narrow minded town think.

I wish I could say I'm shocked by this....
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Old 09-19-2018, 10:28 AM
 
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I'll start by saying I'm pretty conservative, but I'm fighting mad at your ignorant District. There is no way to defend such ignorance. The school exists for the students, not the reverse. In my experience the ACLU won't do much unless you can get a politically connected person involved first, so try that. The school is required to accommodate James, many different civil rights laws apply, and it's hard to believe that they are being that stupid. You might try hitting up your congressman, as you might be surprised, and get James a personal tour or visit. Good luck. (Added in edit) Is there a covert way to get the press involved?
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Old 09-19-2018, 10:31 AM
 
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My son has access to a legal network for gay students, if James changes his mind, message me. I'm gonna be mad all day now....
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Old 09-19-2018, 10:37 AM
 
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I've taken hundreds of teens on overnight motel trips, never had more than token complaints. But he needs his own bed for sure.
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