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Verfasser: Hexe
Datum: Sonntag, den 5. Dezember 2004, um 7:11 Uhr
Betrifft: Die Macht der Mormonen in der Schule

Diesen Artikel fand ich in der Salt Lake Tribune:

Prom dream a dance step closer for gay student

Note from home: The principal will re-evaluate a policy requiring permission for same-sex couples
By Jessica Ravitz
The Salt Lake Tribune 

     
  Jason Atwood protests outside Copper Hills High School in West Jordan . A policy requiring parental permission for same-sex couples to attend school dances has sparked a wave of protests at the school. Atwood is the co-chair of the school’s Gay-Straight Alliance and the person who went public with his concerns about the rule. (Steve Griffin/The Salt Lake Tribune)   
WEST JORDAN - No promises. But it looks like - come prom time - Jason Atwood may be able to walk onto the dance floor arm in arm with his boyfriend without a note from his parents.
    After four days of protests outside Copper Hills High, Atwood, 17, and his allies won a small victory Friday afternoon when Principal Tom Worlton agreed to re-evaluate the school’s policy - issued last month - requiring same-sex couples to get parental permission before attending school dances.
    With about a half-dozen additional supporters, the handful of Copper Hills students took to the street, across from the school, to challenge the edict, which Worl- ton saw as a way to alert the parents to the dangers their children might face.
    "The kids themselves were expressing concern about harassment at the school dance, which is what generated my response," Worlton said Friday. "That was not an attempt to get out of liability and not a response to deprive them from coming to the dance."
    But that wasn’t how Jason’s father, Quovaudis Atwood, viewed it. He feared his signature would clear the school of responsibility.
    "I’m not at the dance with Jason. . . . How could I be responsible for my son?" the father asked. "As long as I’m paying taxes to support that school, my son deserves every bit of protection, education, whatever that school has to offer."
    This from a man who struggles with his son’s sexual orientation. "I’m sort of torn here," he conceded. "I love my son deeply. I will always love him. But I don’t approve of his lifestyle."
    With posters bearing slogans such as "Stop Discrimination" and "Give Gays a Chance," Atwood and a small circle of friends - including his boyfriend, Tom Tolman, 15, of Granger High in West Valley City - staked their positions Friday morning.
    "I’m so proud of   you," Tom’s mother, Patricia Gilley, said after dropping him off. "You can’t help who you love."
    The young protesters then braced themselves for the predictable insults, obscene gestures and, hopefully, some honks of support.
    Meanwhile, inside his office and on his phone, Worlton said he had received a stream of calls supporting his stand.
    "I don’t think that what’s happening out there is good for anybody," he said. "Apparently, from what I hear, they’re taking abuse. And I don’t perceive that as healthy for these kids."
    By afternoon, Atwood said the cold protesters were greeted with a lunch offering - subs, fries and drinks - brought out by school administrators, who encouraged them to come indoors to meet with Worlton. But before they were inside, Atwood said his boyfriend was pelted with a raw egg.
    For more than an hour, Atwood and two friends sat with administrators. They spoke of the abuse they had suffered in school and promised to start reporting incidents when they occurred. Until now, they had been keeping the attacks to themselves.
    "We did make some progress," Atwood said.
    Worlton said he couldn’t promise he would change his policy, but he did vow to re-evaluate it and discuss it with school officials. Either way, he will make his decision in time for the prom.
    Whatever the outcome, Jordan School District officials said they stand by the principal and his right to make safety decisions.
    "If we become aware of an issue that we believe would pose a harm or injury to a student," Superintendent Barry Newbold said, "we need to take reasonable action on it."
    But Louie Long, Granite School District’s senior director of high school services, said all couples attending a dance should be   treated equally.
    "We wouldn’t require permission slips from any other couples," said Long, a former principal at Cottonwood and Skyline high schools.
    Last spring at Murray High, two girls attending Junior Prom were allowed to do the traditional promenade down the Capitol steps as a couple.
    "We’ve chosen not to make [same-sex couples] a problem, and we’ve never had a bad experience as a result of it," said Martha Kupferschmidt, Murray district’s director of personnel and student services.
    If he could have his way, Jason Atwood would like Copper Hills to accept him as he is.
    "But a part of me knows that’ll always be a dream because wherever you go, you’ll always find intolerance," he said.
    Brian Chase, a Dallas-based attorney for the Lambda Legal Defense and Education Fund - a national civil rights organization for the gay, lesbian,   bisexual and transgender communities - is more hopeful.
    "As more kids come out of the closet . . . it lets people realize gays and lesbians aren’t outsiders," he said. "They’re actually their own kids from their own community."
    jravitz@sltrib.com

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