Over at Gawker.tv, a video of 14-year-old Graeme Taylor has become a viral sensation. The video features Taylor, who is openly gay, speaking at a recent school board meeting.
Taylor presents a remarkably eloquent defense of Jay McDowell, a high school teacher in Howell, Michigan, who was suspended last month for disciplining an “anti-gay student.” McDowell apparently received one-day suspension without pay.
One parent accused McDowell, who is also president of the Howell Education Association teachers’ union, of using the schools Spirit Day as an opportunity to vocally support gay people. Given the recent spate of suicides by young gay people, I think we need more teachers who are willing to voice support.
Ironically, the whole idea of Spirit Day on October 20th was to spread awareness about gay teens and to remember gay teens who have been bullied to death. Students were urged to wear purple to commemorate the day.
Apparently, the student who McDowell disciplined announced, “I don’t accept gays.” McDowell was accused for violating his freedom of speech.
“I’ve been in classrooms where children have said the worst things,” Taylor told the board. “The kinds of things that drove me to a suicide attempt when I was only 9 years old.”
“These are the things that hurt a lot,” Taylor said. “There is a silent holocaust out there, in which an estimated 6 million gay people every year kill themselves.”
In support of McDowell, Taylor said, “He did something that inspired a lot of people.”
I agree with Gawker.tv’s assessment that Taylor gives “an incredibly articulate/inspiring speech.” Gay or straight, this is one kid who has confidence in himself and the intellect to present a strong argument. He’s a great example of how kids can stand up for what they believe in — and occasionally, teach the grown-ups around them a lesson.
Check out the video for yourself. This kid is amazing.
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