US school defends “outing” gay student to his parents to keep him “safe”

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A school in Utah has defended its decision to tell the parents of a student that he was gay saying it was concerned about bullying.

When the 14-year-old wrote about being gay for a project in which they had been asked to design an advertisement for themselves, his teacher reportedly asked him if he wanted it to be publicly known.

MSNBC reports the assistant principal then spoke to him about telling his parents and the boy “reluctantly” agreed for it to happen, as long as he was not there at the time.

Rhonda Bromley, a spokeswoman for the Alpine School District in Lehi, Utah, said that as a negative reaction to his sexuality had been noted, the right thing had been done: “We are not going to back down. We take bullying very, very seriously.”

“If there is the potential for a bullying or a harassment situation, it’s the responsibility of the school to step in and to make sure the student is safe.”

Eliza Byard, GLSEN Executive Director said schools should not ‘out’ students who have not given consent.

“Outing a student not only violates their right to privacy, but also could compromise their safety. Parents can be notified of their child being bullied at school, but without disclosing their sexual orientation or gender identity.

“Taking away the choice for a LGBT student to come out on their own terms opens the door to significant risks, including harassment at school and family rejection,”

The boy’s parents had reportedly kept him away from school this week.