Monday, June 18, 2012

Kameron Slade Has Something To Say .... And He's Gonna Say It

Kameron Slade is a fifth grader in Queens, New York, and seems to be a very bright young who has a way with words; and an opinion. Which is where the trouble started.

See, Kameron won a class competition in speech, and as the winner, he was invited to speak before his entire school. He thought long and hard about what topic he would speak on, and worked with both his mother and teacher finessing his speech.
Then he was told that he would not be allowed to share it.

What? Was there a problem with his original speech and maybe he didn't win that class competition? Or were there too many speakers and not enough time at the school assembly and someone had to be cut?

It was neither of those things. Beryl Bailey, the principal at Kameron's school called Kameron’s speech “inappropriate” and so he could not give it in front of the whole school.

Inappropriate? Kameron wanted to talk about marriage equality. Inappropriate.

Kameron's mother, who asked not to be identified, said, "For him to be denied the right to voice his opinion really upsets me."

For his part, Kameron is also upset: "I was really looking forward to it. I thought that this was a real good winning speech for tomorrow."

But Beryl Bailey didn’t like what Kameron had to say, and told him to find a new topic or not speak at all. Which strikes me funny because, as Kameron said, his speech was about acceptance and tolerance of same-sex marriage; he wrote about what his mother had told him about the issue—they began speaking when marriage equality was being passed in New York State; he wrote about his mother's friends who are gay.

"They seemed happy," Kameron said. "Best of all, they seemed to love each other. The only difference was that there were two moms instead of a mother and a father."

But the school wouldn’t hear it because it was deemed “inappropriate.”

Until some parents got involved and demanded that Kameron speak. Some thought Kameron had every right to talk on the topic of his choice—and from his own experiences, and those of his mother and her friends—while others felt the topic a bit too grownup for the elementary school.

Still, almost all the parents felt Kameron should be allowed to speak and, finally, the New York City Department of Education overruled Principal Bailey and said Kameron would be allowed to speak to the entire school, in a special assembly.

It’s an opinion. It’s the opinion of a bright young man speaking from his heart. You make not agree with Kameron’s words, but no one should ever tell anyone, Kameron or anyone, that they don’t have the right to an opinion, and the right to speak about.

Kameron Slade, after all, is the future, and it seems a little brighter when he speaks.

School Prohibits Fifth-Grader From Giving Speech

3 comments: said...

Apparently, notices were sent to the parents of his school informing them that he would deliver his speech in a "special assembly" today. At least his voice will be heard.

mistress maddie said...

Good for him, and glad to hear the board overruled the stupid principal.

Biki said...

No matter how they want to deny we exist, exist we do. And not allowing a wee lad to give a speech that talks about us and our right to marry, just made this principle look like a fool.