Join Date: Feb 2005
Location: Phoenix, Arizona
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Hi, all! I'm not sure if this is the right forum, but I think I'd like the opinion of a gay person on an upsetting experience I had this morning. Ok. I teach junior high school science. At the end of class today, one student, Carlos, stays back to talk to me obviously upset. When I ask him what what's up, he very hesitantly tells me that another student in class has been "telling everyone I'm gay" and "saying I'm like Michael Jackson." He tells me he is thinking of going to the assistant principal to complain, but doesn't want to "snitch." Then he tells me that this has happened to him before, in elementary school. By now, tears are rolling down his face and he's fighting back sobs....
OK. This is a 13 year old boy who is incredibly sweet and kind. He is somewhat feminine in his mannerisms and most of his friends are girls.....I don't know, but I think he may very well be gay. I do know that he is the very dedicated only son of an extremely religious catholic hispanic mom, so maybe being gay is not something he wants to consider, but I don't know, he may not be gay, he may just have really strong feminine influences....
Anyway, I'm really upset, but I try to speak carefully and this is what I say: First of all, let me tell you that I don't consider saying someone is gay to be an insult. Being gay is just one way of being.... some of my favorite people are gay and they are wonderful people. So there's that. But, I know that the boy who said that was trying to hurt you by saying it, and that makes it wrong. No one has the right to say things about you in order to hurt you.
This is when he tells me that it has happened before. We talk about his going to the assistant principal, and while I know him ( the AP) to be a very kind and fair man, he's also a big time athletic coach and the mean boy is one of his athletes. Carlos doesn't want to get the kid in trouble, he just wants it to stop.
So we make arrangements for Carlos to see the school counselor, telling him that I'm here if he wants to talk to me again. He thanks me and says he loves my class, or else he would just try to get his schedule changed.Then he leaves to lunch and that's it.....now I'm thinking of a million other things I could/ should have said to Carlos.....Do you think I handled this correctly?
Thanks in advance for any responses.
Jenny: 40 Something AP mom to 2 adult kids, 2 teen step kids, and one amazing 7YO. Doula and Brio Birth educator, too!