karlton-o-johnson-3.jpgTo the Editor: I am writing in response to the article printed in your May 19 issue, titled, Principal ‘outs’ gay student. I was appalled to find that this level of discrimination was being tolerated from a principal in our Broward County school system. Not only is it being tolerated; the school superintendent is justifying this principal’s behavior.

I suppose they could hide behind the school’s code of conduct rule to “keep your hands, feet, and object to yourself,” which was implemented to keep students safe and prohibit aggressive behavior, but this is merely a scapegoat.

Anyone who graduated high school within the last 20 years knows that holding hands or hugging was never reprimanded. I graduated 11 years ago and even then it was not uncommon for students to be holding hands, hugging and kissing in hallways without incident.

If this was a case of racial or gender discrimination, this principal would have been terminated.

Furthermore, I am outraged that, as a professional, he would be so careless as to call the teens’ parents on such an issue.  If he is properly educated to work in a setting where teenagers are in his care, he should understand the sensitivity of this situation. Something like this can traumatize or drive a student to suicide. It can also tear families apart if they are not properly prepared for it.

We need to hold our school employees to a higher standard. This is a diverse society and we must not allow ignorance in our schools if we are ever going to break the cycle of prejudice in all its forms.

Fort Lauderdale

Pictured Above:  Blanche Ely High School Principal Karlton O. Johnson