A group of parents, teens and a teacher are fighting for a separate “traditional” prom in the town of Sullivan, Indiana. The prom would exclude LGBT students and is being organized at a local Christian congregation in the area. First Christian Church, whose pastor says the congregation has nothing to do with the group, just rented space. At the center of the controversy is special education teacher Diana Medley who stated on NBC 2/My Wabash Valley that LGBT people don’t have a purpose in life and need to change. Medley does not teach at Sullivan High School.

Ronnie Kroell, co-founder of the Friend Movement, wrote a letter to Medley in the Advocate. The Friend Movement inspires people to prevent bullying by enabling them to be a better friend; providing entertaining and educational resources, cultivating global partnerships, and leveraging the latest social media technology.

Letter from Ronnie Kroell in the Advocate:

Dear Ms. Medley,

…My work is in antibullying and encouraging people to celebrate what they have in common while celebrating their diversity. I promote education, understanding, and respect. Your interview, in my opinion, works against that progress we have made. As a teacher, your job is to promote love, kindness, and to teach tolerance. Your interview only further promotes a position of discrimination and “separate but equal” which just does not work in this country…

It is your position, that would leverage the Bible to promote hate rather than love, that causes young men and women all over the world to take their own lives — or worse, it encourages others around them to bring them physical and mental harm.

Being that you work with special needs children, you of all people should know the harmful affects of bullying. It makes me sad that you cannot see the similarities simply because the person being bullied or separated from the rest of the community happens to fall in love with or be attracted to the same sex. This is nothing unique to the human species; if you took a moment to understand nature, you would see that it exists in all of the animal kingdom.

We are all a part of God … we are made in his image … and we all have a purpose. He did not send us to this earth and give us the gift of life so that we can waste our time judging others around us. He gave us life so that we may truly know the love that he has for us and so that we may learn to share that love with all those that we meet.

I wish you kindness and love in your life, and I hope that when you speak publicly you realize that your words are very powerful; they have the power to cheer folks up and they also have the power to bring someone into a horrible state of depression — depression that could ultimately be fatal if they believe what you say to be the only truth.

I have taken a vow to protect all of our youth from being bullied, no matter who they are. Bullying does not discriminate. It needs to be stopped so that young people never have to feel ashamed of who they are or feel that life is not worth living. I hope that you too will join me in these efforts.

Read the full letter in the Advocate.

Students and staff at Sullivan High School are distancing themselves from the group pushing for a “traditional” prom. “In an interview with local NBC affiliate WTWO, Sullivan High School Principal David Springer clarified that officials had no involvement with the group calling for the gay-free prom and that all students will be welcome at the school-officiated event in May.”

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