Friday, May 29, 2015

Gay valedictorian outed, speech blocked

Although American TV includes popular shows like “Grace and Frankie,” two women friends whose husband dump them to marry each other after more than 20 years, apparently it is not suitable to talk about homosexuality at a Boulder-area charter school.
And there are plenty more shows like that. It is necessary to go to an old South Park show to even hear the word fags, and even then it is clearly meant to embarrass the speaker.
Charter schools, sometimes set up to keep God in, and aberrant behavior out, apparently see it differently, if Twin Peaks is an example.
The school’s valedictorian, Evan Young, 18, who had a 4.0 gradepoint, wanted to mention that he was gay during his speech.
The school objected because it said he was ridiculing teachers and other students.
But the school acted in such a way that it was the first time Young’s parents knew he was gay.
A gay liberation group denounced Twin Peaks Charter Academy School. OutBoulder executive director Mardi Moore, said, “It was reckless and very dangerous.”
She said it was more important for aynyone who has a public position, also any position of trust under Colorado law, must observe basic privacy statements even more than the average person.
OutBoulder has arranged for Young to deliver his graduation speech at a private home Sunday.
Such conduct was unlikely to be tolerated at a public school, she said, noting the St. Vrain School
District had condemned the action.
Young said the school suggested changes in his speech, and he made all but one. Still, they declined to allow him to exercise his free speech rights.
Not only does this amount to “prior restraint,” which the Supreme Court has made the foundation of free speech rights, the school admitted calling Young’s parents, and inadvertently or not, revealing that he was gay.
His father, Don Young, said he was not greatly surprised by his son’s sexual preference. He also said he was not sure announcing his choice at the graduation was the best choice.
But the family says they were only notified a few minutes before the speech. And it was made clear it would even be mentioned that he was the valedictorian.
The Camera further reported: "On the Friday, the day before the ceremony, I had written him a handwritten letter so that he couldn't forward it," Evan Young said. "I'd told him I'm not going to remove the part where I say I'm gay, because I am. It's important to me. And I said if he has any questions, he can contact me by email over the next 24 hours or so.
"He didn't ever email me back, and so I figured he must be OK with my speech."
"The kid worked hard for four years," Don Young said. "Straight A's and everything else. He wasn't even recognized."
It would not have been the first time for a graduation speaker at high school in the very liberal area, often called the People’s Republic of Boulder, to have talked of gayness.
A statement from Twin Peaks said: Students have a broad right to express their points of view in a non-disruptive manner when they are not participating in a school-sponsored activity. However, when a student is participating in a school-sponsored activity, the Supreme Court recognized in its Hazelwood decision that the school has not only the right, but the duty, to ensure that the student abides by reasonable standards. Specifically, the court said that the educators may exercise “editorial control over the style and content of student speech in school-sponsored expressive activities so long as their actions are reasonably related to legitimate pedagogical concerns.”
The statement does not explain why the school brought Young’s sexual preference to his parents’ attention.
It added, “The student was asked on more than one occasion to provide a revised draft of the speech for review but chose not to do so. The student failed to abide by the pre-screening rules applicable to all students giving speeches at the ceremony. The Valedictorian further failed to follow guidelines of the evening by cutting off the sleeves of his graduation gown. The school provided another gown for use at the event.”

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