Valedictorian denied speech rights after planning to come out as gay
LONGMONT, Colo. -- A charter school in Longmont is coming under fire after denying the senior class valedictorian his right to give a speech at graduation. That student planned to come out as gay during his address, but the school board wasn't keen with the idea.
Evan Young, 18, figured coming out to everyone at graduation would help go along with his theme of respect and tolerance. When his principal at Twin Peaks Charter Academy caught wind, he asked Young to alter his script.
Young went along with it and made a few changes, but refused to take out the part about him coming out.
"My school's mission is one of promoting tolerance and respect and it's these values I sought to promote in my graduation speech," Evan Young said in a statement.
The principal, BJ Bachmann, decided to call Evan's dad Rob and tell him about the speech. In doing so, Bachmann also told Rob his son was gay. Problem is, Rob and his wife Alise Curry had no clue.
"First of all, Mr. Bachmann outed Evan to us. Which was not the way Evan wanted it to happen," Alise Curry explained.
"The act of outing someone is dangerous and irresponsible. We're lucky in this case Evan is in such good hands," said Mardi Moore, Executive Director of Out Boulder.
Five minutes before he was supposed to give his valedictorian speech, Mr. Bachmann told Evan's parents their son wouldn't be talking. To make matters worse, Alise says the school never even acknowledged Evan as valedictorian.
"Several students asked Mr. Bachmann what happened, why was his speech not given? And his reply was 'Evan has bad character,'" Curry said.
The student with a 4.5 GPA who has a scholarship to Rutgers University had been silenced by a school board who didn't feel his message was appropriate.
The school board released a statement, which you can read here.
To read Evan Young's full statement, click here.
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