Once again, Indiana is embroiled in a situation that leaves our LGBT kids wondering if they really matter.
Last month, LGBT students at Sullivan High School in Sullivan, IN, a small town near the Illinois border, asked the school administration if they could attend the prom. The school had no problem - sure, the kids could attend. That was great! However, this is when things went downhill in Sullivan.
Some teachers, parents and students decided that they did not want the gay and lesbian students to attend the prom. So they received permission to hold a meeting at a local church. They decided that they would hold a "traditional" prom. And, as if that wasn't bad enough, it seems the media was at that meeting and one Sullivan citizen decided to exercise her free speech rights.
Ms. Diana Medley is a Special Ed teacher in North Central Jr./Sr. High School. At this meeting, she made some statements about LGBT kids, one of them that the LGBT community doesn't have a purpose in life.
Well, that set off a firestorm! A Facebook page and a Change.org petition were started to get Ms. Medley fired. People got confused and thought Ms. Medley worked at the high school. The secretary at the church where the meeting was held received pornographic e-mails. Threatening letters have been sent to Sullivan High School.
In response to all of this, Northeast School Corporation, where Ms. Medley works, issued a statement. "I would like to clearly state that the Northeast School Corporation has never denied any student the right to attend prom or any other Northeast School Corporation-sponsored event due to their race, gender, or sexual orientation," the statement reads in part. "The Northeast School Corporation employee that was interviewed was exercising her First Amendment rights. The views expressed are not the views of the Northeast School Corporation and/or the Board of Education."
This statement set off another outcry by some who felt that the school administration should have either fired Ms. Medley or at the very least discipline her. Many weighed in, each with a different opinion or idea.
Now, on one hand, the fact that so many people are angry about Ms. Medley's words is, to my mind, a good thing. These are people who felt that LGBT kids were being discriminated against unfairly. But instead of focusing on the kids, they focused more on what should be done to Ms. Medley.