A Pennsylvania student claims he was the victim of bullying by school officials after a video of him dancing with his transgender prom date drew ridicule from fellow classmates.
The Associated Press reports that a teacher who was serving as a chaperone at the dance asked 18-year-old Jared Swank if she could film him and his date, who has been identified by the media only as a transgender girl, dancing at the Hanover Area High School senior prom in an effort to give her daughter a lesson in diversity. Instead, Swank claims the teacher played the video to her science class, who laughed at it, this week.
"I was not happy that this was shown in class," Swank told The Citizen's Voice. "She told me she wanted to show her daughter. Not the entire school."
Though Swank will graduate in less than a month, he said he hoped his case would make a difference for Hanover's incoming lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) students. "My concern is for the next class and classes after that, who, if nothing happens, will have to deal with the bullying and torture I experienced, something that no kid growing up should go through," he is quoted by The Republic as saying.
Jared's mother Dawn Mendygral told WNEP that the incident was just another example of how her openly gay son has been bullied in the school system since eighth grade. "He was embarrassed, he was chastised," she said. "As a matter of fact, we just came from the gas station to get a drink before we got here and some of Hanover Area students yelled [an expletive out] the window. So that's what it's done. It's antagonized more bullying."
Superintendent Anthony Podczasy, who has invited Mendygral for a meeting, said he learned of Swank's claim only recently. "We can't determine yet what's true and what's not true," he told the Voice.
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