WEST JORDAN, Utah — A Utah high school will allow “Singing Valentines” to same-sex students on Thursday after students, faculty and parents complained that a flyer distributed last week singled out LGBT students and was described as anti-gay bullying.
The flyer, promoting Copper Hills High School’s annual choir fundraiser — in which students make a donation and choir students in turn deliver songs to other students — carried the message, “Sorry, no same-sex delivery.”
Copper Hills Principal Todd Quarnberg said that the flyer was a “mistake” by choir students and not meant as a slight against any group of students, reported The Salt Lake Tribune.
“It was a misunderstanding,” he said, “They don’t care if you’re gay or lesbian. It was just miscommunication.”
But not everyone agrees that the “no same-sex” message was simply a “miscommunication.”
Dylan Lukes, 17, co-president of the school’s gay-straight alliance, called the flyer “offensive.”
“It upset a lot of the student body,” said Lukes. “”I think schools should be a place for acceptance. They should not post no same-sex deliveries — they’re singling everybody out.”
Kim Hackford-Peer, a University of Utah lecturer who specialized in gender studies, said situations like the one at Copper Hills High are not unusual because of the way conflicting Utah laws are written.
She referred to a Utah Board of Education rule that prohibits “the advocacy of homosexuality.”
But a Utah educator standard, which protects all students, states that “an educator shall not exclude a student from participating in any program” on the basis of race, color, creed, sex, national origin, marital status, political or religious beliefs, physical or mental conditions, family, social, or cultural background, or sexual orientation.