Jason Howard Green

Jason Howard Green

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

I'm Just Saying - Did She Really Out These Students?

I have to admit that I was outraged at this principal when I first heard this story. The story is about Principal Daphne Beasley of Hollis F. Price Middle College High School in South Memphis. And the story goes that she outed two of her gay students. She posted a list of couples at the school and included the names of two male students that were an item. She additionally placed a phone call to the parents of one of the students and revealed to his mother that he was gay. The story sounds vengefully homophobic - until all the details are revealed.

The list was generated because many students were engaging in inappropriate public displays of affection. Inappropriate PDA may be an understatement. "Some kids were engaged in sex acts in plain view on campus," according to Kenneth Whalum, School Board Commissioner for this district.

I know a lot of high school students. I believe the commissioner. That being said, was the action of the principal inappropriate. She didn't single out the gay students. The list was of many couples at the school, one couple happened to be a gay couple. Wouldn't it be discriminative to only list the straight couples if you're listing all couples on campus?

Now let's talk about this "OUTING." According to another South Memphis parent, all the students knew the guys were a couple and most of the teachers knew the guys were a couple. The list was compiled of known couples. Are you really outing someone if everyone knows their sexuality.

The mother that received the phone call claims she did not know about her son's orientation. But if everyone at the school knew, how could the principal have known that the mom was in the dark about this. I don't know enough about the nature of the phone call to make any assumptions. Were other parents called? Was the call done to inform about the list?

I think the situation could have been handled better, but I can't hate on the principal for wanting to do something to stop inappropriate sex/ PDA in the classroom. I don't want to label this lady as a homophobe when I don't know all the details (I can make assumptions because this is Memphis and the South is a land of bigotry and hatred). But the list was of all couples in the school - not just the gay couples. And if the couple were closeted, how would they have made the list. There is a lot here that we don't know and may never know.

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