Schools can’t  ‘out’ students

Published 4:32 pm Tuesday, August 10, 2021

Editor, The Smithfield Times:

According to law, your school does NOT have the right to “out” you to anyone without your permission, even if you’re out to other people at school.

Doing this to a young person can have tragic consequences, such as when police officers in 1997 told a young man in Pennsylvania that they were going to tell his family he was gay. He committed suicide rather than face what he feared would be rejection from his family. His mother sued, and a federal appeals court has held that threatening to disclose private information violated the teenager’s constitutional right to privacy. This applies to schools, too.

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If a teacher, counselor or any other school official threatens to tell your parents or anyone else that you’re gay and you don’t want them to, make it clear that this is against your wishes. If they still do it or threaten to do so, you should contact your local ACLU affiliate or the ACLU LGBT Project.


Jessica Packer Jackman