Students at a Catholic high school in California have staged a walkout after teachers threatened to out a gay classmate to her parents if she didn’t attend counselling.
High school senior Magali Rodriguez is one of two openly LGBT+ students at Bishop Amat Memorial High School, the only other one being her girlfriend.
The school has no written policy barring same-sex relationships, but when the pair started dating Rodriguez was forced into disciplinary meetings and counselling with the school psychologist, and barred from sitting next to her girlfriend at lunch.
None of these rules applied to straight students, and Rodriguez says she was told that if she refused to comply she would be outed to her parents.
After three years of this she was at breaking point, so she alerted Buzzfeed News to the situation.
Her classmates were appalled to hear how she’d been treated, and the next day they showed their support in an amazing way – by staging a mass walkout.
Around 200 students walked out of their classes on Friday afternoon in protest. “I decided to walk out because I wanted to take a stand,” one told Buzzfeed.
“I didn’t agree with what the administration did with the situation and I feel like it was a good idea for the student body to stand as one to show our support for Magali.”
Another said: “I never would’ve imagined Amat to be an environment like this. Once I started to read about the article I was in full shock. I decided to walk out to stand up for her.”
“I feel as if the principal knew they messed up,” a third student added. “Before the bell rang for lunch he made an announcement saying he was aware of the news article.”
Some teachers apparently commented that there were “two sides to every story,” but none tried to stop the protest.
The school’s president and principal tweeted an official statement acknowledging the matter, claiming that the school “is committed to providing a supportive and inclusive learning environment for all students, irrespective of their sexual orientation.”
Please read this official statement from President Monsignor Carroll and Principal Richard Beck concerning the recent media reports involving our school. pic.twitter.com/F0J5Hdysuo
— Bishop Amat (@AmatLancer) November 9, 2019
But tweets from the former students of the Catholic high school tell a different story.
bishop amat alum watching it get exposed pic.twitter.com/aPypHsKHoD
— emm (@emmanueIle) November 8, 2019
Bishop Amat was filled with pedophilia, rapists, politics, sexual harassment, bullying, and bribery but hey the football team is D1!
— moody (@moody_mads) November 8, 2019
Its bishop amat are we surprised at all https://t.co/DaFwHPlqmf
— Romina Estrada (@rominamargie) November 8, 2019
CAN ANYONE GET ME IN CONTACT WITH THE BISHOP AMAT GIRL WHO WAS FORCED INTO COUNSELING FOR BEING GAY? MY BROTHER WENT THROUGH SIMILAR SHIT AT THAT SCHOOL AND HE WANTS TO TALK. Any help would be appreciated!!
— sable (@expensivefur) November 10, 2019
One former student tweeting as Gabby Monares shared a story of the homophobic bullying she personally faced at the school, and the lack of support she received from teachers.
“It was truly the hardest time of my life and I suffer from trauma from the experience,” she revealed.
My experience at Bishop Amat pic.twitter.com/PRXolSHSOk
— gibby (@gabby_monares) November 9, 2019
Magali Rodriguez’s parents reportedly pulled her out of Bishop Amat when they heard how staff were treating her, and she is now attending a different high school in the area.
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