Updated 06/18/2012 11:15 PM
Student Allowed To Give Speech On Same-Sex Marriage At Queens School
A Queens fifth grader finally got to deliver a speech on same-sex marriage at his school on Monday, several days after the school forbid him from giving the address as part of a contest. NY1's CeFaan Kim filed this follow-up report featuring exclusive video taken by the boy' father.
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NY1 was the first station to report last week how fifth grader Kameron Slade was not allowed to give an address on same-sex marriage at his school, P.S. 195.
The boy was supposed to have delivered the speech in a schoolwide competition on Friday after winning a classroom contest. His chance finally came in a special assembly on Monday morning, and his proud father shared video of the assembly with NY1.
"I believe that all people should have the right to marry whoever they want," Kameron said in his speech. "Marriage is about love, support, and commitment."
Kameron's parents alerted NY1 that the boy was not allowed to deliver the speech, as the principal said it wasn't an appropriate topic for school. He would not be allowed to compete unless he wrote another speech on a different topic.
"I was disappointed and I had to make another speech really quickly," said Kameron.
The boy gave a speech on preventing animal cruelty but he did not win.
Still, after NY1 broke the story, the Department of Education agreed to let Kameron recite his speech on same-sex marriage to fifth graders at a special assembly.
The boy's father, Lee Slade, said he does not think the school would have even allowed that if it were not for the attention NY1 brought to the story.
"They resolved it okay. The reason I say they resolved it okay is because they gave him a chance to actually say his speech," said Lee Slade. "But at the same time, the speech was for a contest and the contest was given on Friday. So therefore, his speech wasn't even entered into the contest."
DOE officials said the principal wanted to give parents a chance to have discussions at home before the speech was heard by students. Some parents also felt it was a topic better left to adults.
Others felt it was wrong to censor the speech, especially since it called for acceptance and tolerance.
"I think the message they should have mostly got is that no matter which orientation you are you should always respect people," said Kameron.
But Kameron said he is happy with the way things turned out, that thanks to all the attention he was able to bring his message to the whole city and not just his school.