Watch: Parents blasted by superintendent after attacking LGBTQ student during televised school meeting
The Franklin, Massachusetts public schools superintendent is responding to homophobic parents attacking a gay student during a televised schools committee meeting.
Noting her "heavy heart and sincere anger," Superintendent Sara Ahern in a 3-page letter to parents denounced the "conduct, tone, and disruption by some members of the audience" as "appalling and a violation of Franklin Public Schools' core values of a safe and inclusive environment."
During Tuesday night's meeting student representative Mackenzie Atwood (photo), a senior at Franklin High School, tried to address the topic of "protected classes," including LGBTQ people, minorities, and people's religious beliefs.
Atwood, who is openly gay, discussed incidents of her fellow students being called "faggot," she said, at school, along with the use of racial slurs.
“When kids are coming to theater every single day telling me, 'Oh, I got called a faggot in the hall today,' or 'I got called a racial slur in the hallway today,' that's not something to joke about, though it's become something that we're so numb to that it becomes a joke," Atwood shared. “So I think it's important to understand that yes, everyone is protected at the school, but being someone who is caucasian is not something you're getting bullied about."
Parents in the audience yelled, "nope," and expressed disagreement.
“Being homosexual, which may I say I am gay, tell me what you want about that, I am being personally attacked in school about this," Atwood said.
More outbursts from homophobic audience members caused the chair to repeatedly pound her gavel to quell the attacks.
It is "extremely disgusting that you can look me in the eyes and say that I'm not being oppressed at the school," Atwood cried.
"This has to stop," one homophobic parent yelled from the audience. "This is the indoctrination."
Boston.com reporting on the attack notes "indoctrination" is "a common rallying cry on Fox News and other conservative media outlets."
Superintendent Ahern called Atwood's response "eloquent and articulate."
"The jeers from some audience members," Ahern added, "however, created a traumatic situation for the student and invalidated her statement of reality she so courageously shared. We are processing the impact of this traumatic event on those in attendance as well as the vicarious trauma ringing throughout the community."
The attack was captured in the video below, with Atwood's remarks starting at the 38:37 mark. The video cuts out at points, possibly with the feed being cut or muted: