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04/19/2007


Gay Minnesota Teen Gets Death Threat After Coming Out on Facebook: VIDEO

Eichenauer

A police investigation is underway in Circle Pines, Minnesota after Ryan Eichenauer, a gay student at Centennial High School who recently came out of the closet, received an anonymous death threat in his English class, KMSP reports:

"I know there are going to be people in life who don't agree with it. But that's who I am," he said.

Eichenauer says that within weeks of coming out he had two threatening anonymous letters placed on his desk in two separate classrooms, the latest one on Tuesday:

Not only does the note attack his sexuality, but it says "I can't wait for the day that I get to walk over your grave and if you don't put yourself there, I will be glad to. Just do us all a favor and do it soon. Kill yourself already."

Letter

More of the letter:

"Ryan, I see there are many others who also want you dead. Good. And it's not just the two of us who have decided to speak up. It's everyone. […] like you don't deserve to live in this world. Innocent people die every day, but the scum of the earth like you gets to live? […] that. That is about to change. No one likes the fact that you are alive. No one likes the way you show your sexuality. You are a […] sinner. Someone should do something about it…I will. I am not a coward. I protect the house of god from […] like you."

Eichenauer says he's definitely afraid:

"A little scared, I feel safe in my school. Right now, mostly uncomfortable....The first threat I cried a lot. A lot of tears and emotions. Even though that was less threatening. Then this one came along. Is this what I am going to get forever, from now on?"

Watch KMSP's report, AFTER THE JUMP...

Continue reading "Gay Minnesota Teen Gets Death Threat After Coming Out on Facebook: VIDEO" »


Eastside Catholic School President Resigns Following Outcry Over Firing of Gay Vice Principal: VIDEO

Screen Shot 2014-01-22 at 1.25.27 PM

Mary Tracy, the Eastside Catholic School president whose decision to dismiss her school’s gay vice principal for marrying his partner sparked widespread backlash from students and faculty, has resigned from her position at the Sammamish, Washington school. KING5 reports:

Sister Mary Tracy submitted her resignation to school trustees Sunday, effective immediately. In an email sent to parents and staff Tuesday night, the school said a search for her replacement will begin shortly.

"For Sister Mary it was a difficult but necessary decision so that a new leader can be brought in to ensure the entire Eastside Catholic community is on a positive path forward," the email said.

Screen Shot 2014-01-22 at 1.25.08 PMThe news was a welcome change for critic’s of the school’s decision to remove Vice Principal Mark Zmuda (pictured right), who lost his job when administrators learned he had married another man. Zmuda was told that he could keep his job if he dissolved his marriage, but refused the offer.

Zmuda’s termination was not well-received by the students and faculty at the school. Protests were organized on campus and a ‘Z Day’ protest event was planned for later this month. While there is no word yet on whether Zmuda will be reinstated to his position, supportive parents see Tracy's resignation as a positive first step.

"This opens the door for us being able to have an open communication with the board about other issues that need to be resolved," said Eastside Catholic parent Florence Colburn.

Colburn and more than twenty other parents met Tuesday night to discuss a petition for the community and for school board members, asking for changes beyond a new president.  That includes alterations to campus policy on who can teach, to Catholic law on gay marriage and for Zmuda to be reinstated.

"I don't know if fair is the right word," said Colburn of Sr. Tracy's resignation, "But it is the correct outcome.  There just have been too many misrepresentations."

Watch KING5's report on the resignation and other campus developments, AFTER THE JUMP...

Continue reading "Eastside Catholic School President Resigns Following Outcry Over Firing of Gay Vice Principal: VIDEO" »


Florida Teen Allegedly Suspended for Performing in Sean Cody Film Allowed Back to School: VIDEO

Maruchi

Robert Marucci, an 18-year-old Florida teen, will be allowed back to school, officials said, after students protested his dismissal, which was allegedly for his participation in a Sean Cody film.

MarucciEarlier this week, a Redditor on the subreddit GayBros posted about Marucci:

He got severely bullied and, instead of helping him, the school will not let him graduate due to him causing a "campus disturbance". They suspended him for 10 days, which leads to an automatic FA (failure from absences). Several students planned to protest by wearing support shirts, making posters, and skipping a class. The principle is threatening to automatically expel any student who joins in.

I am still very closeted, and it hurts to hear friends and family think this guy is a sick and disturbed person...

Marucci said he turned to making gay adult films in order to help pay his family's bills.

Marucci's mother spoke with Local 6 News: "She (Dr. Sullivan) flat out told me that my son was expelled not just suspended, he was expelled due to his explicit, adult, lifestyle career."

The school will not say why Marucci was suspended but after the student's dismissal and protests by fellow students (who say the school threatened them as well) began making national headlines, he has been allowed back.

Said the school district's spokesperson: "In this particular case, we had an investigation, which is now complete, and the student is welcomed to come back to talk to Dr. Sullivan about his educational options."

Watch the Local 6 report, AFTER THE JUMP...

Continue reading "Florida Teen Allegedly Suspended for Performing in Sean Cody Film Allowed Back to School: VIDEO" »


Protests Supporting Fired Gay Principal Continue at Catholic High School in Seattle Suburb: VIDEO

Merrow

Eastside Catholic High School outside of Seattle, which made headlines in December after firing its gay vice principal Mark Zmuda, an action taken after Zmuda married his husband. Zmuda said that the school gave him a choice: he could keep his job if he dissolved his marriage.

ZmudaThere have been several developments since late December. Students are still protesting Zmuda's firing and are planning 'Z Day', a day of protest on January 31 in which they will wear orange in support of the fired vice principal and are asking supporters to do the same on social media.

Also, a board chair involved in the dismissal of Zmuda has resigned, citing a need to "take a break", and Stephanie Merrow, a night freelance drama coach at the school, announced that she was engaged to her girlfriend in a public show of support for Zmuda.

KING5 reports:

The situation with Merrow developed Monday, as she expressed a need to stand in solidarity with students protesting Zmuda's removal.

“I got several really good, long hugs,” Stephanie Merrow said.

She returned to Eastside Catholic High School on Tuesday afternoon where she is a freelance drama coach currently choreographing “Guys and Dolls”.

After watching news coverage of student protests after the termination of Mark Zmuda, she wasn’t sure what to expect.

Watch KING5's report on current conditions at the school, and the students' protest announcement video, AFTER THE JUMP...

Continue reading "Protests Supporting Fired Gay Principal Continue at Catholic High School in Seattle Suburb: VIDEO" »


Covenant College Censors Gay Rights Work from Former Student's Alumni Update

Kathryn Brightbill, an alumna of Covenant College, a Christian liberal arts college in Georgia, recently sent in an update to the school's alumni newspaper because she was proud of some of the recent professional work she had accomplished, assisting on research for an amicus brief in the Prop. 8 and DOMA cases.

Writes Brightbill: Brightbill

And so, I filled out the alumni update form to say that I’m a student at UF Law and was asked to work on the Family Equality Council, et al. brief in Perry and Windsor, and that as part of that I coauthored the LGBTQ Youth and Young Adult Survey as a joint project between the University of Florida Center on Children and Families and the Emory Child Rights Project. All very professional and academic. There was no intent to make a political statement. It wasn’t a protest against Covenant or the PCA’s position on homosexuality in general or marriage equality in particular. It was just a nice, generic alumni update about what I’ve been up to recently.

So what did the school publish?

Kathryn Brightbill '03 is currently studying law at the University of Florida Law School.

Adds Brightbill:

The only part of my update that Covenant published was my name and the fact that I’m a student at UF. The rest of the update, the professional accomplishments that prompted the decision to send an update in the first place? Gone. Erased. Unacknowledged.

Covenant tells me that they won’t run it because they won’t print anything that’s counter to the position of the college. Apparently doing so would “celebrate” something they disagree with. The disclaimer in the masthead that the contents of the View may not necessarily reflect the views of the college isn’t enough. Neither was my suggestion that they print a disclaimer before the updates specifically stating that updates were for informational purposes only and did not imply endorsement by the school.

Read her full post here.


Gay Catholic School Vice Principal Was Given A Choice - Divorce Or Be Fired: VIDEO

Crittenden and Zmuda

A few days ago we brought you the news story of Mark Zmuda, a Catholic high school vice principal who was fired for marrying his husband and the backlash from students and faculty that resulted. The school maintained the position that it was a mutually-reached decision that Zmuda end his employment with Eastside Catholic High School, but an interview between Zmuda and a former student reveals otherwise. 

Caterina Crittenden conducted a 45-minute interview with her former vice principal about his employment and termination, and her family has released the first minute of it online, with the rest to follow in the coming days. In the interview, Zmuda revealed that he broke no contract with the school, that his termination was in no way related to his performance, and that he was given an offer that would never have been given to a straight couple: he could keep his job if he dissolved his marriage.

On the part of the school, President Sister Mary Tracy claimed that she was trying to do everything she could to keep Zmuda. The decision to terminate him was that of the church, not of the school, and the option to dissolve the marriage was a last-ditch effort to retain Zmuda and his services. Sister Mary Tracy says that she is not proud of making that offer, but owns that she made it.

The clip of the interview between Zmuda and Crittenden can be seen AFTER THE JUMP...

Continue reading "Gay Catholic School Vice Principal Was Given A Choice - Divorce Or Be Fired: VIDEO" »


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