Gay O.K.? Not at this Texas school.
Faubion middle school disciplined several students this week for wearing T-shirts they printed with the words “Gay O.K.” to support their seventh grade friend who was bullied for being gay.
Two students were sent home and the rest were forced to cover their T-shirts after a lunchtime commotion disrupted school activities.
At least 15 students wore the Gay “O.K.” shirts to school Wednesday in a silent show of support for gay rights, seventh grader Anna Thompson told NBC Dallas Fort Worth.
“Being gay is OK. And it is OK to be open about it.”
Everything was going well until lunchtime when the administration decided to remove the students wearing the “Gay O.K.” T-shirts from the cafeteria.
That’s when the other students went wild yelling and chanting “Gay OK,” classmate Sammy Heiman told Yahoo News.
“And then [the administration] called us all out, all the people wearing them, called us out of the cafeteria. And people started getting rowdy because they knew what was going on. They were making us take off the shirts.”
Another student slapped the cell phone out of an administrator’s hand while other students stood around them and shouted encouragement.
That’s when school officials decided they had enough and sent two of the students home after they refused to change or cover up their Gay “O.K.” T-shirts.
The school’s spokesman, Cody Cunningham, told WFAAthey disciplined the students for disrupting school activities not for supporting gay rights.
“While we respect student free speech, our primary obligation is to ensure a safe and productive learning environment for students in McKinney. This was not a civil debate, but rather yelling and shouting, and [it] alarmed a large number of students.”
Others disagree, however, including David Mack Henderson, president of Fairness Forth Worth. He told Yahoo Parenting the school appears to have violated the student’s right’s to free speech and administrators need to take a hard look at their school’s anti-bulling policy.
“The US Department of Education has been crystal clear about the rights of LGBT students and their allies in regards to free association and speech rights. We absolutely support the students.”
Faubian isn’t the only school dealing with gay rights issues these days.
Students at a Pittsburgh area high school planned an anti-gay day where they wore plaid and bullied gay and lesbian students leaving many of them feeling unsafe at school
The McGuffey High students planned the anti-gay demonstration to protest the “Day of Silence,” which is meant to raise [awareness of bullying gay students, according to the Inquisitr.
Meanwhile, a Longmont senior was unable to give his valedictorian speech last month because he planned to use the opportunity to come out of the closet. The principal then outed the student to his parents, according to the Inquisitr.
These and other school debates concerning gay rights may have to wait for the summer to end.
[Photo by Sandy Huffaker/Getty Images]