UPDATE: Del City High School has responded to claims made in this story, and the original report covered by KWTV, to say that they are investigating the situation and will be in touch with both Melissa and Kelsey. Meanwhile, other LGBT students and graduates from the district have spoken out in defense of the school. To view a follow up report on this story, please click here.
Melissa McKenzie and Kelsey Hicks are two 18-year-olds in Del City, Oklahoma, who live together in an apartment. They're a couple. They're also recent drop outs of Del City High School. However, both recognize that their decision to drop out of high school wasn't the smartest thing for their future, so they're trying to re-enroll. There's just one problem.
The principal of Del City High won't let them. And according to McKenzie and Hicks, the reason the principal won't let them return to school is because he doesn't agree with their "homosexual lifestyle."
In a video interview with KWTV Channel 9, Hicks and McKenzie said that Del City High has a history of homophobia, and that most school officials (and especially the principal) have talked down to LGBT students, and told them that they'll lead unhealthy lives if they don't change their sexual orientation.
"He'll be like, 'You're gay ... you might as well just drop out now,'" Hicks said of her recent conversation with the principal. "It's the stuff that puts you down that makes you want to drop out."
The school district won't comment officially on any of the allegations, telling KWTV that none of the students interviewed in their report were current students of Del City High. But that's kind of the point of the report, to draw attention to at least two students who'd like to return to the school, but who are saying that their principal won't let them because he doesn't like their sexual orientation.
Send Del City High administrators a message that if there are students who want to return to school, their sexual orientation shouldn't factor into the equation. Principals are supposed to be looking out for the best interests of their students, not encouraging them to dropout or telling them that if they're gay, they'll go on to lead unhealthy lives.
In the report, the students allege that a principal at Del City High encouraged them to drop out because their sexual orientation "would lead to an unhealthy lifestyle." These two students were joined by a third woman, an alum from Del City High, who said the same principal hassled her about her sexual orientation, and said that homosexuality is an unnatural and unhealthy lifestyle.
This is deeply troubling if true. Principals should be in the business of making sure all of their students are safe, and that all students have an equal chance to succeed. A principal who openly makes comments about a student's sexual orientation, or tells a student that they lead an unhealthy lifestyle because of their sexual orientation, is absolutely unacceptable. I expect better from Del City High School.
Please address this report. And if the two students covered in KWTV's report are not allowed to re-enroll because of their sexual orientation, I urge you to reconsider. That decision punishes two students who clearly see the value in getting a high school diploma.
Thank you for your time.