This story is disgusting. Two girls in Pompano Beach, Florida, are being threatened with suspension because they were holding hands at their high school. Oh, and the principal, a “Karlton O. Johnson,” thought it was good judgment to call the girls’ parents, which resulted in one of the girls being outed to them before she was ready. It’s pathetic when you can’t rely on the adults to be the adults:
Blanche Ely High School principal Karlton O. Johnson, accused of “outing” a gay student and threatening to suspend her and her gay friend for holding hands on campus, is coming under fire for his actions.
Attorney Barry Butin, who co-chairs the Broward County chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union’s (ACLU) legal panel, described the situation as “disturbing.”
“Freedom of expression is just one of the things that it may violate. If the students are suspended or disciplined in any way, we would take action if asked,” Butin said. “They are minors and their parents would have to decide.”
Community activist Michael Rajner, who serves on the school district’s diversity committee, is calling for Johnson to be suspended and for a thorough investigation.”
“His actions were reckless and potentially dangerous, without any understanding of the potential harm he may have caused by outing these students. Many gay youth become suicidal after being outed and the school district must intervene and link these families to counseling services,” Rajner said.
The principal is claiming that the school has a policy against hand-holding or kissing of any kind, but he doesn’t seem to enforce it with straight kids. Funny, that.
Another social worker familiar with the situation explains even further:
Kris Drumm, director of Youth and Family for Sunshine Social Service Inc., takes a dim view of Johnson’s rebuke of the students.
“It’s irresponsible because these kids are literally being put in danger,” she said. “I see it all the time. The parents are not prepared to hear this information and the youths end up abused or homeless after being thrown out of the house. This is serious.”
If anyone understands that, it should be a high school principal. But unfortunately, as I said earlier today, though things are getting better in a lot of places for a lot of kids, it’s still uneven, and it’s basically luck of the draw. These girls in Florida just happen to have to go to a school with a principal who puts his bigotry above his concerns for the kids’ well-being and safety.