My good friend Eric over at Pride in Utah always delivers the goods (and the bads, as far as depressing news goes). In his article here, he reports on a school in Minnesota who is turning a blind eye to anti-gay bullying that has resulted in a teen suicide. This follows three previous suicides last year in the same school district. So, being the wordy little git I am, I wrote the principal a letter.
I am writing concerning your stance of neutrality regarding anti-gay bullying in your schools. While I think it’s nice that you want to please people, it is almost always impossible to please everyone. And in order to be a decent person, one must occasionally stand up and defend what is right. That takes courage, and you, Mr Farley, have showed a startling lack of courage regarding this issue. And because of this lack of courage, people are dead. Children are dead. Children who are supposed to be under your care for several hours a day, who are in your school nearly as much as they are in their own homes, are dead.
A school is supposed to be a safe place for children, Mr Farley. It has to be a safe place for children. If you are purposely allowing children to be in an unsafe environment because you, or certain parents, or anybody has a ‘moral problem’ or ‘differing opinion’ regarding homosexuality—or anything else, for that matter, you are failing in your duties. As a person of authority, a person whom children are supposed to be able to trust and confide in, you have tremendous responsibility to do what is right, even if you disagree with it.
You need to stand up and take responsibility, and push for others to do the same. This kind of lazy, gutless behavior needs to stop, for the safety of the children. People in positions of authority need to stand up and say ‘this is not right. We will put a stop to it.’ And then, follow through. Any kind of bullying should be punished. Those bullies need to know that it’s not okay. They need to know there are real consequences for their actions. Someone needs to tell them that. Children need to be taught what is right and wrong—not only from their parents and religious leaders, but from their educators. Especially because a lot of parents look the other way, and religious organizations promote intolerance, particularly regarding sexuality. Yes, schools can—and probably should—remain neutral with regard to moral teachings (whether homosexuality is ‘right’ or ‘wrong,’ ‘okay’ or ‘not okay’). But when it comes to personal attacks, that kind of behavior should absolutely not be tolerated in any capacity.
How many more kids have to die before this stops? How many kids have died because of people like you turning a blind eye? How many of these bullies grow up, thinking it’s okay because they’ve been taught that it is, either implicitly or outrightly, and then go on to commit worse crimes because nobody stopped them before their misguided hatred went out of control? How many more Matthew Shepards are there going to be because people won’t stand up and teach their children to love and accept everybody for who they are, and not hate them for something that is out of their control?
Do something, Mr Farley. Do it now. Do it before another child takes his life, or has it taken from him, because you didn’t have the courage to stand up for what’s right, to stand up against bullying and homophobia. Do it before you have any more childrens’ deaths on your conscience. Before you have any more blood on your hands. Take a stand.
If you feel so inspired by this principal, school, and school district’s lack of balls, please feel free to write Mr Farley and let him know how you feel. His email address is firstname.lastname@example.org