Wednesday, June 3, 2015

School claims right to notify parents that children are gay

The outing of a high school valedictorian near Boulder has gotten considerable attention around the world, but one issue that appears secondary is the charter school telling the teen’s parents that he is gay.
The school, Twin Peaks charter school, objected to valedictorian Evan Young talking about being gay and how he was treated. They told him to remove the material, and when he refused they denied him the right to speak at the graduation.
Later, he read his speech at another location, hosted by OutBoulder, a group that defends homosexuals.
But the question of whether Young’s parents should have learned that he was gay has not been a center of attention.
A spokeswoman for the district, Tracy Wiese, answered a question reporter this way:
“You suggest that Mr. Young’s privacy rights might have been violated because he is 18.  You are simply wrong. The Department of Education’s regulations are quite clear on this point.
“The parents of a dependent student – even one who is over 18 – have the right to access to his education records. The school’s attorney assures us that Mr. Buchmann (the lawyer) did not violate any of Mr. Young’s statutory or common law privacy rights. “
This response does not answer the question. The lawyer effectively informed the boy’s parent that he was gay. It was not a question of school records. And if it was, does that mean schools keep a list of who is gay?
Nor are parents entitled without exception to information about their children, especially one 18 are older.
Initially the Charter Peaks Academy said it would allow an investigation of the events, the Boulder Daily Camera reported.
Then the school changed its mind.
It told U.S. Rep. Jared Polis, D-Boulder, to mind his own business, and made clear that since the school was not in his district it was not his business.
Polis, who is gay, had asked for an internal investigation but after the criticism, which included a remark that only 10 percent of Americans approved of Congress, he asked for an independent probe.
“I hereby withdraw my request for a purely internal Twin Peaks investigation and will notify Dr. Haddad (St. Vrain Valley School District Superintendent Don Haddad) that in my opinion as a founder of several charter schools, a former chair of the State Board of Education, and the representative of many families who attend Twin Peaks that the district (or mutually agreed third party) should lead the investigation. ... 
"You reference that your internal investigation will be complete in early July in your letter, and yet the content of your letter seems to definitively indicate that your minds are made up regarding this matter.”

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