Skip to main content

Currently being featured in a big front-page splash at Huffington Post's Gay Voices veritical is the story of 11-year old Marcell Neergaard, who has endured so much bullying for identifying as gay in the Tennessee public schools his parents had to take him out of the system and homeschool him.

Marcell writes:

I am Marcel Neergaard, and I am 11 years old. This year I was homeschooled for sixth grade because of severe bullying. If I had gone back to public school, there is a great possibility that I would have taken my own life. That possibility would have grown if a certain bill introduced in my home state of Tennessee had passed into law. This bill was known as the "don't say gay" bill. Though that bill never became a law, Oak Ridge's own representative, John Ragan, introduced a new version of the Classroom Protection Act. It is the "don't say gay" bill, just more homophobic. While he crafted this horrifying bill, he received an award. I wrote a petition to take a stand against this.
At issue is Michelle Rhee and StudentsFirst naming the author of the "Don't say gay" bill, Tennessee Rep. John Ragan Jr., educational "Reformer of the Year" in 2012. When called out on this in April, StudentsFirst was clear they didn't support the bill, but made no moves to distance themselves from the bill's sponsor, or make any other conciliatory promises that such a egregious oversight would not reoccur.

Ultimately their weak response lead Salon to conclude that "Michelle Rhee’s group stands by anti-gay honoree." The educational advocacy group has not taken any issue with that report.

But the Neergaard family finds that unacceptable. Marcel's petition asks:

We want StudentsFirst to withdraw their award to John Ragan as educational "Reformer of the Year." Instead, they should work to protect all bullied students, including LGBTQ, by supporting Tennessee's Dignity for All Students Act, as well as the federal Safe Schools Improvement Act and the Student Non-Discrimination Act.
The petition can be found here. I do hope you sign it and encourage your friends to as well by spreading it through your social media network. It has picked up 7,000 signatures just this morning alone!
The Neergaard Family.
Messages of support can be left for Marcel and his family at their Facebook page, which is here. News updates will also be posted there.

Update: This is kind of cool, yes? SIGN!

Originally posted to Milk Men And Women on Sat Jun 01, 2013 at 08:41 AM PDT.

Also republished by Daily Kos.

EMAIL TO A FRIEND X
Your Email has been sent.
You must add at least one tag to this diary before publishing it.

Add keywords that describe this diary. Separate multiple keywords with commas.
Tagging tips - Search For Tags - Browse For Tags

?

More Tagging tips:

A tag is a way to search for this diary. If someone is searching for "Barack Obama," is this a diary they'd be trying to find?

Use a person's full name, without any title. Senator Obama may become President Obama, and Michelle Obama might run for office.

If your diary covers an election or elected official, use election tags, which are generally the state abbreviation followed by the office. CA-01 is the first district House seat. CA-Sen covers both senate races. NY-GOV covers the New York governor's race.

Tags do not compound: that is, "education reform" is a completely different tag from "education". A tag like "reform" alone is probably not meaningful.

Consider if one or more of these tags fits your diary: Civil Rights, Community, Congress, Culture, Economy, Education, Elections, Energy, Environment, Health Care, International, Labor, Law, Media, Meta, National Security, Science, Transportation, or White House. If your diary is specific to a state, consider adding the state (California, Texas, etc). Keep in mind, though, that there are many wonderful and important diaries that don't fit in any of these tags. Don't worry if yours doesn't.

You can add a private note to this diary when hotlisting it:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary from your hotlist?
Are you sure you want to remove your recommendation? You can only recommend a diary once, so you will not be able to re-recommend it afterwards.
Rescue this diary, and add a note:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary from Rescue?
Choose where to republish this diary. The diary will be added to the queue for that group. Publish it from the queue to make it appear.

You must be a member of a group to use this feature.

Add a quick update to your diary without changing the diary itself:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary?
(The diary will be removed from the site and returned to your drafts for further editing.)
(The diary will be removed.)
Are you sure you want to save these changes to the published diary?

Comment Preferences

Subscribe or Donate to support Daily Kos.

Click here for the mobile view of the site