Sunday, June 2, 2013

11-Year-Old from Tennessee Requests StudentsFirst to Rescind Ragan's Award

A petition by Marcel Neergaard, eleven-year-old from Tennessee, has been featured at Huffington Post's Gay Voices. Marcel has endured so much bullying for identifying as gay in the Tennessee public school that his parents had to take him out of the system and home-school him. The youngster explains his story and rails against John Ragan, a state house representative, co-sponsor of a controversial bill requiring teachers to out gay students to parents.

Marcel says:

"I am Marcel Neergaard, and I am 11 years old. This year I was homeschooled for sixth grade because of severe bullying. If I had gone back to public school, there is a great possibility that I would have taken my own life. That possibility would have grown if a certain bill introduced in my home state of Tennessee had passed into law. This bill was known as the "don't say gay" bill. Though that bill never became a law, Oak Ridge's own representative, John Ragan, introduced a new version of the Classroom Protection Act. It is the "don't say gay" bill, just more homophobic. While he crafted this horrifying bill, he received an award. I wrote a petition to take a stand against this".

Marcel's petition asks:

"We want StudentsFirst to withdraw their award to John Ragan as educational "Reformer of the Year." Instead, they should work to protect all bullied students, including LGBTQ, by supporting Tennessee's Dignity for All Students Act, as well as the federal Safe Schools Improvement Act and the Student Non-Discrimination Act".

Please, watch Marcel's video:


  1. Thank you for doing what you're doing, Marcel!

    And thank you, parents, for supporting your son. He's a brave kid and I admire his efforts and your support.

  2. By Jim Chatman:

    I think this kid needs a wide audience to bring attention to the award that the homophobic Tennessee legislator received.

    Good for you, Marcel! You're a brave kid and I hope you're successful in your effort.

    Thanks to +Benja Aquila for posting this.