An openly gay Iowa teenager says his school left him feeling invalidated after a decision about his scholarship presentation at graduation.
But now they’ve reached a compromise that Keaton Fuller says he’s happy with.
Keaton won a $40,000 scholarship to the University of Iowa from the Eychaner Foundation. The Matthew Shepard Scholarship honors students for their efforts working for the acceptance of the LGBT community and raising awareness and understanding. It is named for another teen who was beaten because of his sexual orientation and later died.
When Keaton applied for the scholarship, a teacher at Prince of Peace Catholic School in Clinton, Iowa signed a form acknowledging that a representative from Eychaner would be presenting the award to Keaton if he won.
Click to see that form: Scholarship Presentation Acknowledgment
When Keaton was selected, the Diocese of Davenport reversed the decision. It said it wouldn’t let the foundation present the award to Keaton at graduation. Instead, a member of the school staff will present the award.
The diocese explained the decision in a statement by Bishop Martin Amos.
“We cannot allow any one or any organization which promotes a position that is contrary to the teachings of the Catholic Church to present at a diocesan institution.”
Keaton decided to tell his classmates about the controversy by writing a letter and taping it to every high school locker.
Now he credits the support of his classmates for helping get the decision reversed. The school superintendent will read a script prepared by the foundation and approved by the Bishop. Then a member of the foundation will present Keaton with a trophy.
Keaton says he’s happy with the compromise, calling it the best way to end his senior year.