Assistant Principal Joe Abell of Fullerton Union High School in Orange County, California publicly apologized after removing a gay student from stage during the Mr. Fullerton contest on April 3 after the student said he hoped same-sex marriage would be legal and he would be married in a decade, the Voice of OC reports:
Heather Sutherland, the parent of another student, was in the audience during the Tuesday night competition. She said the male student was asked as part of the contest what he hoped to be doing in 10 years.
She said he initially made a lighthearted comment about being a highly successful entertainer but then turned serious. According to a letter circulated Wednesday by other students to support the teen who was removed from the competition, “he replied by saying he hopes to find the love of his life, and to be able to marry him, and that he hopes gay marriage will be legal.”
While the student was giving his answer, “assistant principal Joe Abell came on stage in front of the hundreds of people in attendance and interrupted [the student's] speech and disqualified him from the competition,” the support letter stated.
According the the district's statement, "an Assistant Principal removed a male student from the stage during the Mr. Fullerton competition for making what the Assistant Principal believed to be a statement that was off script and not pre-approved.” Sutherland said the audience seemed supportive of the gay student's hopes.
Students are protesting, according to the OC Register:
Friends of the student protested by passing out nearly 200 letters addressed to the assistant principal asking, "Where do you see yourself in 10 years?"
The letters included space for protestors to write a personal message. Senior Blake Danford, who helped organize the protest, said the group plans to deliver them to the assistant principal later in the week. "This is an entire situation about bullying," Danford said.