I could not be happier that Michelle Rhee's StudentsFirst group dropped its plans to award Tennessee state representative John Ragan the group's "Education Reformer of the Year" award. Rhee dropped these plans finally, after 11-year-old Marcel Neergaard pleaded with her group not to give Ragan the award because Ragan's "Don't Say Gay" bill puts gay young folks like himself at grave risk.
But even as I'm happy that Rhee listened to Marcel's heart-rending plea, I'm deeply troubled--I'm frankly furious--that I live in a society which forces an 11-year-old boy to plead with adults to listen to reason and take measures to prevent school bullying. Tears spring to my eyes as I listen to Marcel because I know he's right when he says he's just one youngster who has wondered about taking his life due to anti-gay bullying. And not all young people living through that kind of oppression have the parental support Marcel obviously has.
What kind of adults (and what kind of people of faith) force 11-year-olds to plead with them to stop making bullying and suicide of bullied children easer?