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The mother of a Calvert County middle school student says a school administrator forced her 14-year-old daughter, who is gay, to out herself during a meeting, an event that caused the teen so much stress and despair that she tried to take her own life.
“She questioned her several times until she had to answer the question, and that’s when my daughter had to say because she is gay,” the mother said.
By phone, Simone Smith describes the day in January when her daughter was called into an administrator’s office at Southern Middle School, along with a counselor and a student whom Smith accuses of bullying her daughter by calling her both racial and anti-gay slurs.
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Smith said the administrator pressured her daughter to explain why those terms upset her so much. The 14-year-old, who is Black, felt compelled to defend herself by revealing her sexual orientation, something she had shared only within a close circle, her mother said.
“Even though I knew a year before then, it wasn’t the school's place and it's not the school’s business to know her sexual orientation. That [has] nothing to do with education,” Smith said.
Smith said the school’s principal was apologetic when she made him aware of what happened. But she added that school became a frightening place for her daughter, who attempted to take her own life a few weeks later.
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“Two o’clock in the morning there was a pounding on the door, and I went upstairs and opened the door, and there was a police officer. And he said, ‘Your daughter [overdosed],’” Smith said. “And I said, ‘What?’ So I go in her room, and she’s not there. And I’m like, ‘Wait, what happened, what do you mean? What happened?’ And there’s a letter on the bed.”
The teenager is currently learning remotely but would like to be able to return to school, be around her friends and feel safe.
Calvert County Public Schools said the incident has been investigated.
“We are aware of the alleged incident and have investigated. Given the nature of the allegation and for the privacy of the students involved, we will not comment publicly," the school told News4.
The Leonardtown chapter of the advocacy group PFLAG is asking the board of education to investigate the actions of the administrator.