Friday, February 10, 2012


The main objective for my writing this blog everyday is to make a difference.  I found it difficult to sit on the sidelines and watch the horrors of the bullying, the teen suicides, the hatred and intolerance, and everything else that came along with it.  Since its creation, I've learned that the scope of the problem is much greater than I ever would've imagined from the sidelines.

Last week, for example, I learned about the teacher in Oklahoma who let her own bias get in the way of doing her job, which is to educate young minds.  Not liking what I was reading, I got involved.  In turn, we ALL got involved.  Now, the fruits of our labor is evident.

This letter from Khrystal's mother, the high school student from Oklahoma who's teacher allowed her bias to get in the way of a student's education, just came in to the Wipeout Homophobia on Facebook page:
This is Khrystal's mom with another update on the school report situation. Principle Davis called me this afternoon and said that Mrs. Applegate would like to meet with me after the school day was over. I agreed. Khrystal went to the meeting with me, this was about her after all.

Mrs Applegate said that Mrs Ford (superintendent), Mr Davis (principal) and herself had met multiple times to figure out ways to keep this situation from happening again. She admitted it was too late to go back and change how things were handled this year. She talked about not grading Khrystal's note cards this past Friday, which put her on the failing list, and how bad she felt about it. She said Khrystal didn't do anything wrong. She was just afraid of grading a paper where her bias could get in the way. I did not ask her position one way or the other. All we wanted was for a fairly graded report.

[Mrs. Applegate] said that beginning next year there would be safeguards in place to protect the students from situations like this. She then proceeded to tell Khrystal she was more than welcome to complete her desired report and it would be graded with the utmost fairness. Mrs Applegate said Khrystal would also be given extra time to complete the report to make up for the time lost. Mrs Applegate is even allowing Khrystal to use her aunt as one of her 7 references as she just completed a college report on gay marriage. We are extremely excited over that. So, Khrystal won the battle! But the good news does not stop there!

This was not just a win for Khrystal but also for every student in Mrs. Applegate's class. Mrs. Applegate took it further (without suggestion from us) and said she would allow every other student the opportunity to change their topic to whatever they wanted and receive fair grades for merit not topic. She also said that anyone who changed their topic would also be given the extra time to complete their report. This is such a huge win for the students!
Shortly after leaving the meeting, I ran into one of Khrystals peers who said that a number of students were told they had to change topics (including himself) and that Khrystal was the only one to stand her ground. He was thrilled that someone stood up for what was right and wished more people had that courage. He is excited to complete his original topic. So, not only did Khrystal win the battle, with all of your support, she won the war for everyone!

Our family has been extremely blessed to have had the support from each of you. Your calls and emails to the school administration, your suggestions, your prayers, your ultimate support made this happen.

We need to give special thanks to Aunt Megan Stewart, Uncle Rob Tirawat and Honorary Uncle Alex Tooke for stepping up and getting the ball rolling when I did not know where to start. Without these three people, this issue would not have gained the momentum necessary for Khrystal's cause to succeed.

Our deepest gratitude goes to everyone world wide who supported Khrystal. Our love and prayers go out to each of you!!!
Naturally, my first reaction was elation!!!  Elated that Khrystal was able to explore her own mind and write creatively about what she chose to write about.  Elated because all of the support, from so many of you, made such a positive impact not just on Khrystal but on the other students and, especially, Gale Applegate.  Elated because we can now see without a doubt the power of numbers!  This could not have been possible if not for so many of you getting heatedly involved.

The beauty of it all goes even beyond Khrystal, her paper, and even this particular class.  The beauty of it is that, because of the power of numbers, there will now be safeguards in place at Eufaula High School to ensure that this never, ever happens again.  I can't even begin to tell you how big that is.  So, on behalf of Khrystal and Kimberlee, her mother, I say thank you from the bottom of my heart for getting involved and supporting Khrystal.

Thank you, Gale Applegate, for reexamining and reconsidering your stance on this matter.  It means a lot to the future of the students you'll be in charge of teaching.

There is definitely, and definitively!, power in numbers!