NYC Principal Bans 5th Grader's Marriage Equality Speech

Principal Beryl Bailey in Queens, New York blocked 5th grader Kameron Slade from delivering a speech on marriage equality.  She said the speech was too “inappropriate" for the Democracy Speeches contest at PS 195.

Principal Bailey told students to write a speech on any topic for the contest, and Kameron’s was the winning speech in his class competition.  “I was really looking forward to it,” he told NY1, “I thought that this was a real good winning speech for tomorrow.”  But on Wednesday, the principal told Kameron that he would have to write a new speech or be removed from the contest.

“For him to be denied the right to voice his opinion really upsets me,” said Kameron’s mother, who explained the issue to him after acquainting him with her lesbian friends.  His speech, which he instead delivered to NY1, shares a touching anecdote about the couple, "They seemed happy. 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."

He continues eloquently:

My mom is very open to me about same-gender marriage. However, some adults may feel uncomfortable and think it’s inappropriate to talk about this to children. I think adults must realize that as children get older, they become aware of these mature issues that are going on in the world. If children read or watch the news, they can learn about things like same-gender marriage, so what’s the point in trying to hide it?

In conclusion, I hope that everyone understands how important it is to respect everyone for who they are. I believe that same-sex marriage should be accepted worldwide, and that parents and teachers should start to discuss these issues without shame to their children."

Kameron’s mother said, “[Same-sex marriage is] on the news. It’s part of our lives now. They need to open up. The New York City Department of Education needs to open up.”

On Thursday, the New York City Department of Education told NY1 that Kameron could deliver his speech at a different assembly on Monday, but did not comment on the principal’s ban.

Watch Kameron Slade rock his heartwarming speech below.

AlterNet / By Angela Lee

Posted at June 15, 2012, 7:29am

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