Last week I blogged about the principal of East Chapel Hill High School, David Thaden, who admonished the Queer-Straight Alliance’s members and advisor for holding a tolerance information sessions during class assembly. English teachers who took their classes to the event, which was run by the students, also ran afoul of school policy that requires administration approval since the assembly was not part of the official curriculum of the school.

Here is the audio of Dave Thaden’s call to parents:

“I apologize to all of the families at East over the English assembly that took place last Wednesday. We had a student club that got ahead of itself and did a presentation that didn’t have my approval or didn’t have school approval and I want to apologize for that. I’m working with the teachers to make sure that we never have this situation occur again. I want to extend an apology to any of the students who found that they were put in a position where they were uncomfortable or angry. So, we’re working on that and we’ll take care of it from here on.”  

Man, talk about paranoid. Notably, he didn’t say whether he would have ever approved the assembly if the QSA advisor had brought the request to him.

A petition asking Thaden to retract the apology is below the fold.

 According to the site, East Chapel Hill High School seniors Rebecca Lange and JJ Lang started the petition; it can be signed here.

Mr. Thaden Should Revoke his Apology for the QSA Assembly

Dear Mr. Thaden,

We were deeply disappointed by your apology to East parents and families for the recent Queer Straight Alliance presentation. The school should be proud to have such intelligent, independent, and thoughtful students, and should be encouraging them to speak out against discrimination/injustices as the QSA did. Instead of valuing this assembly as a showcase of the kind of socially conscious, intelligent individuals the school supposedly tries to raise, the East administration chooses to disaffiliate itself from it, which is not only dumb, but also offensive.

The assembly simply encouraged students to speak out against discrimination against the LGBT community, by denouncing terms like “no homo” and “fag”. Anyone who supports these discriminatory terms, or any kind of discrimination, is not the kind of person the East administration should be trying to cater to.

The assembly was also informational. Students were taught the correct terms to use for various sexual identities, and were told which businesses discriminate against their LGBT employees. Surely no one can find any fault with this.

East should support its students bravely speaking out against discrimination, and can fully endorse the assembly, just as it endorses the Black History Month presentations, which no one calls “biased”. The opposing view is a hateful one, and need not be accepted/catered-to any more than views which are discriminatory against Blacks, women, Jews, Muslims, Latinos, etc. The school rightly supports these groups, and the LGBT community should be treated no differently.

Additionally, Mr. Thaden’s referring to the event as “a student group that got ahead of itself” in his phone call to East families was demeaning in tone, and the News and Observer article about the assembly makes it sound as if no adults were present, which is false. In fact, many adults applauded the event, and were impressed with the East administration for supporting it (or so they thought).

Please support your students as they do what few have the guts, intelligence, or moral capacity to do: Speak out against discrimination and organize a successful assembly to help the student body better understand and combat the discrimination faced by our LGBT friends. Please revoke your apology — there is no need to be sorry for doing what is right.


* NC principal: Queer-Straight Alliance violated policy by holding awareness session during assembly

Pam Spaulding

Pam Spaulding