Middle school students stand up for gay classmate
March 05 2005 1:00 AM ET
Twelve Beatrice Middle School students in Beatrice, Neb., staged a brief walkout this week to protest what they called the unfair treatment of a gay student. The students refused to go to class after a teacher took gay pride posters away from a gay student who had brought them to school, said Stevie Woodrum, one of the eighth-graders involved.
The students also claim the gay student is bullied by other students and that school administrators have not done anything about it. "People shove [the student's] head into lockers," Woodrum said. "[The
student] gets treated way worse than any other kids." School principal Randy Schlueter said the alleged bullying was brought to the attention of school officials, who have taken steps to deal with it.
As for the posters, Schlueter said the school does not allow any potentially inflammatory political statements that might distract from school. He said the content of the statement was not the reason the school objected to the posters. School policy states administrators must approve anything students want to hang in the school, Schlueter said. But Woodrum said the students were going to put the posters in their lockers and not on the walls of the school.
When the posters were taken away, the students decided not to go to class in protest. Woodrum said that after the students' parents were contacted, they were given the option of going back to class or going home, and most chose to return to class. Woodrum said the students involved were all friends of the gay student, the only one they know of at the school. "We were there to support [the student]," she said. (AP)