LENOIR CITY — An article in the Lenoir City High School yearbook describing the life of a gay student has ignited a storm of controversy that has spilled over onto local blogs and is threatening to disrupt upcoming graduation ceremonies.
The article — “It’s OK to be Gay” — was written by the yearbook’s student staff to profile the experiences of gay student Zac Mitchell.
An article titled “It’s OK to be Gay” in the student yearbook? What could possibly go wrong!
According to students, petitions were being circulated urging others to tear the page from their yearbook as a sign of protest during graduation or to deny Mitchell the right to attend the ceremony.
The 17-year-old student who wrote the article said she was afraid to have her name published.
“There have been threats made starting with, ‘If I found out who wrote the story,’ ” she said.
On his blog, Loudon County school board member Van Shaver called for a criminal investigation into the faculty advisers. Shaver said he believes in being tolerant of an others’ life choices but said he is concerned that the students are being unduly influenced.
This comes right on the heels of national attention for Krystal Meyers, the Lenoir City High student who was denied permission to publish her personal essay, “No Rights: The Life Of An Atheist” in the school newspaper she edits.
This, and the recently-defeated “don’t say gay” legislation, has me wondering if the “controversy” hasn’t been ginned up. Then again, who knows: maybe the halls of the Lenoir City High School really are ground zero for the culture wars.
I dunno. Are students really petitioning the high school to not allow Zac Mitchell to graduate? This sounds like some adult’s idea, like maybe Loudon County school board member Van Shaver’s? Again, I haven’t been in high school since dinosaurs walked the earth, but really? Kids are gonna rip out a page of their yearbook to protest a gay student telling his story? This doesn’t smell right to me. This looks like the 2012 version of rainbow parties.
It would be nice if we could hear from the actual students on this.