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Gay, Rural, and Coming Out: A Case Study of One School's Experience

Publication: The Rural Educator
Date: July 19, 2011

Summary: Through the eyes and experiences of a student, his teachers, classmates, and community, this case study shares the story of how a rural school and community dealt with an issue they had never before actively considered and the sometimes hidden challenges of high school.


Excerpt from Article

This essay details my experience as a small, rural school principal in relationship to his student's experiences when he revealed his sexual orientation to his family, school, and community. The lessons learned as he made his sexual orientation known touched many who had not before actively considered the issue of homosexuality in general, and certainly not on their sidewalks and in their classrooms. The essay presents a case study in which the student, his school, and community, find themselves face to face with an issue to which they had never given much thought. The experience reveals shocking and intriguing realities not likely anticipated in this school and community.

As principal, I was familiar with the basic challenges of student discipline and harassment and was fortunate to have an excellent guidance counselor. However, information on sexual orientation was completely absent from my preparation for administration. Not knowing where to turn for advice in handling what I felt could be a "brewing storm", I turned to my fellow administrators. My colleagues, however, were sadly honest, noting that they could offer no real suggestions or experience, either. Not only did my colleagues not have any information for me, neither did the literature."

Copyright © 2004 The Rural Educator. Reprinted with permission.
Pace, Nicholas J. 2004. "Gay, Rural, and Coming Out: A Case Study of One School's Experience" in The Rural Educator 18: 14-18.

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