FRANKLIN (CBS) – A tense exchange at the Franklin School Committee meeting has a student and officials calling for acceptance and tolerance.
Franklin High School senior Mackenzie Atwood is still trying to process Tuesday night’s meeting, when she was addressing another speaker about protected classes against bullying.
“I am gay,” Atwood told the committee Tuesday. “Call me what you want about that, I’m being personally attacked in school about that.”
About 41 minutes into the recorded meeting, a parent in the audience interrupted Atwood and could be heard yelling, “This has to stop. This is the indoctrination.”
Atwood broke into tears.
“It’s so invalidating because people love to believe that being gay is a choice. It was very emotional.”
It was emotional because Atwood is openly gay and has witnessed the bullying firsthand.
The outburst prompted the school committee chair to intervene, condemning the parent’s actions.
Franklin schools superintendent Dr. Sara Ahern sent a letter to parents calling the disruption “appalling” and “unacceptable.”
“It’s sad that we have adults acting that way,” said Laura Atwood, Mackenzie’s mom.
The Franklin family said they believe positive change shouldn’t start at school, but at home.
“I think it just lies in parents and just people being more educated about respecting people’s identities,” said the high school senior.
Atwood’s mother had a simple message.
“Teach respect. That’s the bottom line.”