This incredible young ally who's orientation is not gay, is enduring a homophobic backlash by his adolescent classmates and in all of places, Arkansas. The home of former Governor Huckabee recently enacted a state amendment to its constitution prohibiting adoption of children by same sex couples.
Arkansas is one of the most anti gay states and this according to Will is being proven true as the same children have over and again taunted him with phrases such as 'Gaywad'.
***Update December 3, 2009***
I have been contacted separately by Will's mother and father. Both are very grateful for the emails and phone calls in support of Will. Both are happy that Will is now focused on his school work and both are satisfied with the response from the school. It would seem at this time continued contact with the school is not necessary at this time.~kelli
Please take action "Support Will Phillips" by emailing the The West Fork School District.
Dr. Naccaman Williams
Chair of the State Board of Education.
Mailing Address: 2807 Brookshire St., Springdale, AR 72762
President West Forks District Board
359 School Ave, West Fork, AR 72774
Re: Protect educational integrity and protecting Will Phillips from bullying.
Dear Deborah Harnish and Dr. Naccaman Williams,
It has come to my attention that a substitute teacher in your district has attempted to intimidate and bully a student, Will Phillips, into doing something that was against that students better judgement and moral values. Phillips decision not to participate in reciting the pledge of allegiance was in fact, a constitutional right protected by a supreme court ruling.
The student Will Philips, has since then reported becoming the subject of homophobic bullying even though Will Phillips himself does not identify as gay.
I am asking that you require this teacher to apologize for attempting to intimidate Phillips, and that the school principal make a announcement that the school respects individual rights and the school will not allow harassment within it's walls. This would send a message to your students and teachers that bullying is not acceptable.
I wold also ask that you require your teachers to make a speical effort to be attentive and aware of bullying and to stop it immediately when it is apparent. These actions will save lives and allow your schools to pursue the American ideals that are set forth in the Pledge of Allegiance and so valued by Will Phillips.
Kelli Anne Busey
Dallas Transgender Advocates and Allies
On the Web:
West Fork School District
Edge San Francisco article Arkansas 10-Year-Old Won’t Pledge Allegiance Until Gays Gain Equality
Arkansas Times article A boy and his flag
Why Will won’t pledge
Arkansas Grass Roots Group 'CAR' Partners With “Know Thy Neighbor” to Publish Act 1 Ballot Initiative Signatures
LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (AP) – A conservative group says it may ask Arkansas lawmakers to block the release of petition-signers’ personal information after a group posted the list of voters who had signed petitions to put adoption and foster parenting restrictions on last year’s ballot.
KnowThyNeighbor.org on April 28 posted a list of voters who signed petitions to put an initiated act banning unmarried couples from fostering or adopting children on the ballot. Voters approved the act, which took effect Jan. 1.
The Arkansas Family Council, which pushed for the act, complained that placing that list online violated the privacy of voters who signed petitions. The council says it will ask Attorney General Dustin McDaniel for an advisory opinion on whether the information can be released.
On the Web
Gay and Lesbian Times AP Article "Ark. group seeks to restrict petition information"
Arkansas Ballot Arkansas Unmarried Couple Adoption Ban (2008)
Opponents of Act 1 Center For Artistic Revolution
Proponent organization of ACT 1 Adoption Ban Family Action Council Committee
Publisher of signatures of Act a Signatures Know Thy Neighbor.org
Who signed the anti-gay adoption and foster care petition in Arkansas? Click Here to Find OUT! "NOTE: CAR DOES NOT advocate any derogatory actions based on the publication of the Act 1 petition signatures information. Our intention in publishing the list is to shine the light while promoting and furthering the dialog regarding equality in Arkansas."
By Kelli Busey
May 8, 2009