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Tennessee student takes on anti-gay politician from his state

Tennessee student takes on anti-gay politician from his state

Eleven-year-old Marcel Neergaard has had enough of the anti-gay politicians in his state.

The gay youngster from Tennessee wrote an op-ed for Huffington Post railing against John Ragan, a  state house representative. He is the co-sponsor of a controversial bill requiring teachers to out gay students to parents.

‘John Ragan’s Classroom Protection Act will do harm to LGBT students across the state,’ Neergaard writes. ‘It promotes a system that does not educate students about gays, because no one but counselors, nurses and principals can talk about being gay. This also means that if a student were to talk to a teacher about being bullied because he or she is gay or possibly gay, the teacher would be required to say something like, "That subject is inappropriate for your age group."’

The home-schooled activist wonders how such a politician can be considered an advocate for school children. Approximately a year ago a nonprofit called StudentsFirst named Ragan a ‘reformer of the year.’

‘I am against a man receiving an award for trying to destroy all safe places for LGBT students,’ Neergaard maintains. ‘John Ragan is receiving his honor from StudentsFirst, whose actions are contrary to their name.’

Neergaard is sponsoring a petition asking StudentsFirst to withdraw the award.

Michelle Rhee is the the founder and CEO of StudentsFirst. Between 2007 and 2010 she was the chancellor of public schools in Washington, DC. According to the group’s website its mission is to ‘build a national movement to defend the interests of children in public education.’

This academic year Neergaard was taught at home due to the severe bullying he sustained the year before.

‘During my first year in middle school, I experienced severe bullying,’ the middle-schooler write. ‘I was called terrible names that were quite hurtful. At that time, I had just realized that I’m gay, and the bullies used the word "gay" as an insult. This made me feel like being gay was horrible, but my parents told me otherwise. Their support was tremendous. But as powerful as their love was, it couldn’t fight off all the bullying.’

Below is a video of Neergaard talking about his petition.