A Queens fifth-grade student planned to give a speech about same-sex marriage for a school competition but his principal prohibited him, saying the speech was inappropriate. NY1's Ruschell Boone filed the following report.
Kameron Slade worked on his speech with his mother and his teacher after winning a class competition. He was slated to deliver it in a school-wide contest at PS 195.
That's no longer going to happen. His mother, who doesn't want to be identified, said the principal told her the topic is inappropriate.
"For him to be denied the right to voice his opinion really upsets me," she said.
"I was really looking forward to it," Kameron said. "I thought that this was a real good winning speech for tomorrow."
Kameron's mother said he was told to choose any topic, so he chose same-sex marriage. But on Wednesday, the principal said he should write another speech or be removed from the contest.
"She said that people have different opinions on it and that some parents may not want their children to learn about this type of topic," Kameron said.
Kameron's speech calls for acceptance and tolerance. It describes his mother's explanation of the issue and his impression of his mother's friends who are gay.
"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."
"It’s on the news," his mother said. "It’s a part our lives now. They need to open up. The New York City Department of Education need to open up."
The New York City Department of Education told NY1 Thursday night that Kameron will be permitted to give the speech Monday in some sort of a different assembly. They did not comment on the principal's decision.
We spoke with a number of parents at the school about the issue. Most of them supported the principal's decision, but one parent said she didn't.
"I wouldn't mind," she said. "That's fine. It's a free country."
The other parents said they support gay marriage but the subject doesn't belong in school.
"That's an adult conversation, yes," said one parent. "That's between a parent and a child."
"I think they are a little too young to hear about this," said another.
Kameron and he mother feel otherwise but he's writing a new speech. This one is on preventing animal cruelty.