Utah School “Outs” 14-year-old Student to Parents

“Fears that he would be bullied” led administrators at Willowcreek Middle School in Lehi to out a 14-year old boy to his parents after the student chose to write about his sexuality for an assignment.

MSNBC reports, “When the teacher approached him on December 6th about whether he wanted to share that information publicly, the boy said he did. The teacher decided to involve the assistant school principal, who spoke with the boy and counseled him on talking with his parents.  The student was hesitant to approach his parents, but agreed “reluctantly” to let the administrator to speak with them, Bromley said.  At the boy’s request, he was not present when his parents were told.”

“Because of that concern about bullying, on Dec. 7 the assistant principal called the student into her office. The boy told her that his parents did not know about his sexual orientation. The administrator felt the parents needed to be aware of the potential bullying and safety concerns, and called the parents into her office. At the student’s request, the boy was not present when his parents were told about what had happened at school,” reports the Daily Harold.

In a statement released Wednesday, Gay, Lesbian & Straight Education Network, (GLSEN) Executive Director Eliza Byard was critical of the administrator’s handling of the Situation. “Schools should not out LGBT students without their consent. Outing a student not only violates their right to privacy, but also could compromise their safety. Parents can be notified of their child being bullied at school, but without disclosing their sexual orientation or gender identity.”

Andy Thayer, co-founder of the Gay Liberation Network, tells MSNBC,  “Family rejection is a real risk, and some young gay teens have found themselves homeless as a result. The school “could very well have worsened that situation considerably,” he said.”

Contrary to some news reports, the boy was not suspended, though his parents chose to keep him out of school for the week. A spokeswoman for the school says the boy was never in trouble and the goal of the district was “to keep him safe”.

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