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.”