Monday, July 27, 2009


Mr. Segal....

Wow, it has been so many years - 13 years exactly. I have to say that there isn't a day that goes by that I don't think of you or the student named Chris Hunt. After all these years I never have found him but always wondered where he ended up.

The main reason why I think about you everyday is because it is quite haunting the impression that teachers make on you when you are so young - like I was at 15 years old and living in the closet or just confused as fuck - LOL. I can remember countless times in your drama/english class where you would often perform the stereotypical gay lisp and it would get a chuckle out of everyone in class - I can even remember kids would copy you out of class - to them it was a funny joke and hell even sometimes I would laugh it off but it was a serious mind fuck for me that sent me deeper into the closet and ashamed of who I was. Now when someone does the lisp or a gay imitation I laugh and have the confidence to speak up if it offends me, however as a 15 year old kid everyday in high school was survival and putting a happy face on was mandatory.

Chris Hunt, the student I mentioned, was my classmate that numerous times would call me FLAMER, QUEER and things like that in your English fifth period class and in Mr. Hooven's class (third period I think). Funny how 13 years later I can remember the words, the period and the occurrences and how I felt. I can remember Mr. Hooven and you would tell the class to shush or quickly change the topic, nothing was done and I don't think you as teachers were trained to deal with a student bullying someone based on names like QUEER and FLAMER. Surely I would never speak up, I had no confidence and at 15 years old survival and having friends was more important to me than defending what I thought I might be - a queer or a flamer.

I know that using such lisps - even if you are a drama teacher is not encouraged these days and if you still do use them you will think twice. I have been contemplating writing this email for about a week now but realized I must do it to regain my piece of mind and move on from something that has bothered me for over a decade.

These days I am extremely comfortable with who I am and the only ill feelings I harbor against you is not casting me - a closeted gay male, in one of your plays. Damn it, I always wanted to be in those plays you had - I was so jealous and figured I would be cast on my so-called actions that were obvious to some.

Thanks for reading this email and taking the time! I hope all is well and YES i can still remember being in the front row of your class the first day you quit smoking COLD TURKEY. Everyday we would count - the days would increase and so did your anxiety!

Take care....

Scott Boardman


Dear Scott,

I am so sorry you felt the way you did in my class. To be honest, I really don't think about things like that because, at least these days, it's just one of dozens of voices I do in my classes. My students know that I poke fun at everyone because I love them and it makes class interesting. You must admit not all gay men talk that way but some do, no different than when I talk with a Southern accent. Not all people in the South talk that way, but some do.

As far as being in the plays, how many did you audition for? Because I am always on the lookout for guys as they're scarce in my program. If you did audition, it certainly wasn't your sexual orientation that was the reason you weren't cast as many of my actors are gay or lesbian. We also did a production of The Laramie Project a few years back and the district was very supportive.

To be honest, I don't even remember Chris Hunt, but I do know what it is liked to be bullied. From 6th to 11th grade, I was bullied for being short, Jewish, whatever. I still remember the guys that did it and I wouldn't be friends with them even today on Facebook. The wounds do stay with you and are for life. Regarding your hazing in my class, either I was too inexperienced (Not an excuse) or I was unaware that the name calling was serious. If you don't tell someone, how are they to know?

I'm sorry high school was so difficult for you and that I didn't help and, in fact, made it worse. Keep in mind that I do remember you fondly. You always had a smile and a kind word and I did consider you one of my more personable, fun students.

I'm glad things are better for you now and I wish you the best in the future.


Mr. Segal

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