LAS VEGAS (KLAS) — Students and former students of Bishop Gorman High School are voicing concerns to 8 News Now about issues they believe school leaders need to address.
What started with a few social media posts has turned into a movement for change at the school.
Just today, school administration sent an email to the Bishop Gorman community, referring to “disparaging social media activity” and responding.
The I-Team looked into both sides of the story, talking with students and trying to talk with school leaders.
Bishop Gorman is the oldest Catholic high school in Las Vegas, founded in 1954 and known for its football, education and national recognition.
Now, students and former students are speaking up on social media, saying they were treated unfairly, based on their race, gender or sexual orientation.
“I wanna believe that God is all loving, accepting and not to be feared, but after my experience in high school, I can’t,” wrote Michael Menor of the Class of 2020 in an Instagram post.
He published the message on the social media platform after graduating in July.
“I’ve had people refer to me as the gay kid, and you know, that hurts. I have a name,” Menor lamented.
Jenron Yee also graduated this year.
“I’m gay,” he stated. “In the back of my head, I was like, administration likes to attack people like me.”
Another student, who just completed her freshman year, and her father also spoke with us. They’ve asked us not to reveal their names or faces.
“As an African-American teenaged girl, all I wanted was acceptance,” she said.
The 15-year-old’s dad says he officially withdrew his daughter from the school this week after seeing the many social media posts.
“I’m proud that she has taken this position, stood up, and frankly, made myself and my wife more aware of some real concerns that she has,” he said.
The I-Team reached out to the school principal and president, asking for interviews. Instead, a spokeswoman sent us a statement, which reads:
Bishop Gorman is at enrollment capacity with a wait list and has a diverse student body of 1500 young people whose families make a significant investment in the education of their children. As part of our mission, we welcome students of all faiths, ethnicities, and backgrounds, and believe every student is made in the image and likeness of God.
The suggestion Bishop Gorman does not address incidents reported to us or that we do not support our students is simply untrue. We respect the right of every person to express his or her opinion and we welcome critical feedback that helps us improve as a school and as educators of young people. When we receive feedback from students who disagree with certain rules, policies, or Catholic teachings, we listen, but that does not mean we change every rule or policy in question. However, we continually assess all aspects of our school to ensure we are in alignment with our faith, values, and mission, making changes as necessary.
For every situation of which we are made aware, the Administration follows a process to conduct an investigation and provide disciplinary sanctions where appropriate. While outcomes of disciplinary procedures are not made public or shared with other students, it is disingenuous to suggest that the Administration has condoned or ignored any situation brought to our attention. Any reports of abuse, bullying, discriminatory behavior, or conduct unbecoming of a Catholic school student are taken seriously and dealt with as such.
To suggest that the Administration is not supportive simply because a desired outcome was not achieved, or because the outcome was not made known to others, does not mean the issue was not addressed; nor does such a statement reflect or respect the processes the school has in place to address student conduct. As our students, both current and former, know, these reports can be made anonymously through the Safe Voice Application or on the website which has been utilized by all Diocese of Las Vegas Schools for several years.Bishop Gorman High School spokeswoman
Multiple students say they believe the administration hasn’t done enough to fix issues within the school, including racism.
“Me being called the N word, me being bashed because of my skin color and getting called all of these horrible things,” the former student revealed.
“There is this game called ‘Kahoot’, where you put names in, and one student entered his name as ‘white power,'” said Menor.
Some students question action they say administrators have taken. Yee says after he wore nail polish to a costume event and was reprimanded, the policy was changed, banning male students from wearing it.
“Those rules were meant to discriminate against gay people,” he stated.
Students say one change school administrators made that they agree with is the cancellation of a boys v. girls tradition, an event which they say became offensive.
“The boys would just let loose on the worse they could to make girls feel horrible about themselves,” said Menor. “They’d say things like ‘make me a sandwich’ or ‘we get paid more.'”
Some students say Bishop Gorman has a long way to go, but both graduates also have positive memories at the school.
“A lot of talent, a lot of friends, a lot of memories, but some days, the bad just outweighed the good,” Menor recalled.
He’s now part of a social media movement, calling for administrators to make changes for Gorman’s future graduates.
“I’d like to say to the youth queer people to just to, like, be themselves, and that, like, the people of power sometimes they just do things to exercise that power over you to feel something more than you,” offered Yee.
We asked Menor what he would say to people who watch or read this report and say, ‘It’s a Catholic school. We know what the Catholic religion teaches. It’s a private school.'” He responded:
“As an in-transition Catholic, I know that the religion teaches us to love through people’s differences and to treat people with love.”
The I-Team reached out to the Department of Education to find out what oversight it may have for Bishop Gorman, and we did not receive a response.
If you’re a student and need to report a threat to your or another student’s safety and well-being, click here for SafeVoice.