I was sent out on a story with not too much time to turn it around, thanks to just general timing, and Friday traffic. But, when I got to Rosedale, Queens, I knew I had a juicy one.
5th grader Kameron Slade goes to P.S. 195. He won an essay-writing competition in class. He was thrilled. The assignment: write about any topic you want relating to democracy. His prize for winning: He gets to give his speech to the entire school. Problem: he wrote about same-sex marriage and the principal pulled the plug, saying it was inappropriate.
Two things to consider: Same-sex marriage is legal in New York State. Many parents of students we spoke to didn’t want to talk about the topic, and didn’t feel it was an appropriate topic for a speech either.
“They seemed happy,” he said. “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.”
And Slade’s main point in his speech: “No matter what orientation are you should be treated the same way as a straight person.”
“It’s something that the principal felt that she needed more due diligence with the parent community.” said School Chancellor Dennis Walcott.
Now, the school says they’ll still consider Slade’s original speech as part of the competition and let him give his original speech on Monday. But, this will only be after parents receive a letter, warning them about the subject matter of the speech.
“People don’t really want to talk about this to their children and there no point of hiding it, they can sneak stuff, they can search on computer,” Slade said. “They can watch it on the news.”
Meet Kameron, who is a pretty cute kid, here. This piece aired in our 5 pm news. Our 10pm producer had it slated for a vo/sot at 10p, but I really felt strongly about the controversial nature of this story and suggested it be a package. My producer agreed, and the change was made. I don’t know if that made a difference to the viewer, and it probably didn’t do much to change the timing of the show as the package is pretty short, but I just knew that I felt strongly our viewers needed to hear more from Kameron, and I’m glad they did.
What do you think – was the principal right? Or should Kameron speech not have been squashed?