Pa. Teacher Filmed Gay Student at Prom to Mock in Class
A Pennsylvania high school teacher allegedly filmed an openly gay student and his date, who is a transgender girl, at the school’s prom last week.
GaySocialites.com reports that a Hanover Area High School teacher who was chaperoning the senior prom approached Jared Swank, 18, and his transgender date and asked if she could film the pair. She allegedly said she wanted to show the recording to her daughter to give her a lesson in diversity. But Swank says the video was shown to the teacher’s science class, where students mocked and laughed at the couple.
"I was not happy that this was shown in class," Swank told the Citizen’s Voice. "She told me she wanted to show her daughter. Not the entire school."
Swank was not present when the teacher allegedly showed the video but he heard about the incident from other students.
The teen’s mother, Dawn Mendygral, says that Swank has been bullied for years but little has been done to protect him. "I don’t understand why it was played in the first place, in a school, in a classroom," she said. She attended a school board meeting where she aired out her feelings about the incident.
"He was embarrassed, he was chastised," she told school officials. "As a matter of fact, we just came from the gas station to get a drink before we got here and some of Hanover Area students yelled [an expletive out] the window. So that’s what it’s done. It’s antagonized more bullying."
John Pericci, the school board president, said that the board only heard about the incident a few days ago.
"Of course I’m surprised and, more so, concerned," he said. "We can’t determine yet what’s true and what’s not true."
Swank graduates in less than a month but hopes that his case impacts LGBT students at the high school.
"I’ve been bullied constantly through high school with very little sympathy from school officials," he told the media. "I’m going to graduate in less than a month. I will be OK. My concern is for the next class and classes after that, who, if nothing happens, will have to deal with the bullying and torture I experienced, something that no kid growing up should go through."
In a similar case, but with a fairytale ending, a lesbian couple from Las Vegas was crowned prom king and queen at their high school. Noel-Marie Kot and her girlfriend Miranda Haeick came out as lesbians during their prom but found support from fellow students and teachers while campaigning for the titles. But the couple also experienced some resistance as well as one teacher allegedly refused to hand out ballots after she learned that Kot’s was running for prom king.
"The night of prom, my girlfriend and I (along with the rest of the court nominees) were called to the center of the stage," said Kot. "Everyone was crowded around awaiting the final results. Silence filled the room and the girl on the microphone announced, ’2012 senior prom royalty is... Noel-Marie Kot and Miranda Haeick.’ Everybody went ballistic. People were crying. Everybody was taking pictures of us. I couldn’t even speak. We were both crowned and danced for the first time as Prom King and Queen."