Suspended for an Open Love Letter

I haven’t written a post under World Gone Mad in a while, but a story I read this morning has prompted me to add a new one.

A young man at a school in Durham, wrote an open letter to the girls at his school for Valentine’s Day. This is what it said:

A love letter to all women

Written by Paul Gomille

Could I please have your attention for a few moments? I guarantee you won’t regret listening to what I have to say. You definitely won’t regret hearing this in your life time, especially from a man of dignity. It’s an idea that I have held close to my heart even before the kilt controversy arose in the media. This message is not meant to address the kilt controversy directly by any means, but rather, this message is a general and all-encompassing statement. It is a message about the qualities that really matter in a woman, and what really makes a woman attractive. Although this speech has some relevance to the way women dress and present themselves’ nowadays, the message in this speech goes far beyond one’s preferences, or feelings of pressure, as it relates to the way they dress, and it goes far beyond any concept of modernity. It strikes at the very core of humanity itself, in an attempt to make a revelation of truth apparent to all of you, with awe inspiring certainty. If you read this, and receive anything less than a feeling of absolution from it, then I have committed a grave sin, a sin against myself and a sin against all of you.

The people this message concerns are the young women of this school, and of the world. In particular, it concerns the silent ones, the intelligent ones, the ones that don’t talk about people behind their backs, the ones that guys don’t flock to in droves, the ones that don’t dress in revealing clothing, the ones who would love to be in love, and the ones that are continually disappointed in their appearance because the only thing they have to compare themselves to are the women that have been put on pedestals by our society. This message also concerns those of you who may consider yourselves the so called “opposite” to the demographic I just described. The ones who do dress in revealing clothing, and the ones who try to fit in with the crowd. You don’t need to dress or act a certain way to fit in, to feel attractive, or to BE attractive. You’re all far more attractive than you realize. All of you. But that’s not to say that you should all dress in revealing clothing. No, not at all. Sure, a girl who dresses that way might turn a few heads, and get some compliments. But real attractiveness doesn’t come from wearing the latest fashion, and it doesn’t come from being scantily clad in public, or putting on make-up, or having a pretty face, or a nice body. No. Real attractiveness comes from having a certain dignity. It comes from having class. It comes from being true to yourself, being yourself, and being comfortable in your own skin. This message is for all young women within the sound of my voice and beyond. You’re all beautiful. You all have inner beauty AND outer beauty.

Wow. What a letter! After the post I wrote this week about raising girls in an over-sexualized society I thought this young man’s letter was a breath of fresh air. Apparently though the school didn’t and they suspended him. That’s right, they suspended a Grade 12 student with an impeccable record for writing an open letter to teen girls encouraging them to love themselves from the inside out. Yes, it is a WORLD GONE MAD. Daily, little punks who are bullying other children are allowed to continue with their tirade, while a boy who writes a love letter gets suspended. If I was allowed to swear right now, I would have a terrific string of curse words going here.

It would seem that the school was initially on board with Paul’s letter, but when he refused to bow to their politically correct silliness they told him he could no longer read the letter out loud at the school. So that’s when young Paul went rogue and printed the letter and distributed it. Crazy kid, thinking for himself. He wasn’t distributing racist tracts, anti-abortion material, or political or religious pamphlets. He was handing out a letter that says something every teen girl should hear, worry less about the outside and more about what’s inside.

I’d like to give Paul a standing ovation. Don’t let them get you down young man, your future is bright.

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  1. says

    I am allowed to swear right now and this kid getting suspended is the most FUCKING ridiculous thing I have ever heard…I went to a catholic high school where I had to wear a kilt and saw how girls tried to make it Sexy…Just unreal…

    THIS is the kind of boy I want my daughters to date..and THIS is the kind of boy I want my sons to be…

    • Candace says

      Agreed. This is precisely kind of boy I hope my girls meet down the road. Some mama did a good job.

  2. Angie Bailey says

    Wow! I would have loved to have had someone (especially a boy) tell me this when I was a teenager. It is refreshing that I young man thinks like this. I hate that the school suspended him for this. He probably would have gotten a lesser punishment if he had called the girls names and told them they were all fat and ugly. That just seems to be how schools operate these days. 

    • Candace says

      That’s what really got me too. How many times do we hear about bullies that torment a kid for an extended length of time before anything is done? This is hardly an offense punishable by suspension.

  3. says

    HOLY HELL! This literally makes my blood boil…my eyes have even welled up! I would’ve LOVED to receive a letter like that in high school! Suspended for being a kind, sensitive guy! WTF?!

  4. Kelly says

    Wow. So nice. I’m going to save this letter at let my 12 year old daughter read it. On a side note, do you think he will get a girlriend out of this? I think so.

  5. Lindsay says

    I agree with you Dee, I dream that my son grows up to be like this boy and my daughter dates a boy like this. I think the suspension is crazy and think that the schools and boards need to put this kind of focus on kids actually doing harm.

  6. says

    Now that my friends is a MAN! He should be rewarded not punished. The school was so concerned with PC’ness that that they missed the point and this was not a point to miss! 

  7. Stephanie says

    This made me so angry I have tears in my eyes… And I won’t lie – I was doubly disappointed because I assumed it would have happened in the US not in our beloved country. A beautiful love letter is what that was and if girls need to hear this type of message from anyone, it is way more likely that hearing it from a boy their age would resonate with them. Shame on the school & kudos to Paul… This really is ridiculous.

  8. Meghan says

    This post angered me and literally brought tears to my eyes. What beautifully written word by a young man wise beyond his years. The school should be ashamed of its response to such kind, supportive words being put out there by this student. Just think how much better this world would be if women heard and embraced these words and other men felt this exact way. Bravo to him!!

    • Candace says

      I’ve been on the fence for homeschooling for years. I am reminded daily that I should just do it.

  9. Ellen Monheit says

    I’m mad as hell! Shame on the school for promoting such madness in a progressively mad, insane world!

  10. says

    I would be so proud if my son, now in grade twelve, had written this. Somebody raised this young man right. And some young woman is going to be very lucky because he is going to love her in the real moments. Without make up, when she’s tired or sad, when she’s studying hard or rushing to her job…the things real and beautiful women do every day.  I hope my daughter finds a  young man who can talk to her with half the confidence. And I would have loved to hear this when I was in high school – hell, it’s still nice to be reassured about what is REALLY attractive. Punishing this guy is a travesty!

  11. says

    Interesting. I posted the article on my FB this morning (with a link to the letter) and got a different reaction. This happened where I live and it is my understanding that he offended girls with his letter and that is why he was suspended. I think a suspension is crazy and the administration needs to own their support of his letter (which they offered to publish a revised version of in the yearbook).

    I will say, however unpopular it might make me, that if girls were offended, alienated, or feeling judged by his letter (regardless of his intent), that needs to be addressed. If he is writing for them and about them, their voices need to be honoured. It would have served him better for the school to cease this as a learning opportunity and explain WHY people were offended – based on what I’ve read about him, I get the feeling he’d be open to it.

    • Candace says

      As many times as I read that letter I don’t know see how a girl would be offended no matter what side of the fence they were on. It would have to be explained to me too. What really gets me though is the suspension. There’s so many terrible things happening in our schools on a daily basis that don’t get addressed and this kid gets suspended. No sense to it all.

      • says

        Exactly. What gets me about the suspension is that the principal supported him! I feel like he was scapegoated.

        Once FB friends suggested this:

        “Hmmm, I guess the only thing I find offensive about it at all, (and this only slightly,) is the whole, “I’m a man and, thus, I can tell you women how to be attractive.” which, honestly, is half the problem straight young women have in dealing with their self-worth; it should *never* depend upon a man, or be “given” them by a man. That attitude perpetuates more problems than it solves, IMO.”

        I’ve been thinking about how I would have reacted in HS to it and, honestly, I think I would have been put off in a “that’s sweet, but who are you to tell me that” in a kind of way. I was a bit of a hard-ass.

        Regardless, a suspension is absolutely ludicrous.

  12. says

    WOW, I am almost speechless. That is what is wrong with the world. Rather than congratulating this student they punish. More men and boys need to stand up and speak their minds when it comes to respecting women and girls. So sad. Thank you for sharing

  13. Elizabeth Raymond says

    I know that school owes that young man an apology. This Was in no way offensive and should have treated it like it was. More young men should take such an opinion. Maybe then our young ladies won’t copy these sleezy shows and go back to being self-repectfuk

  14. Kathy says

    I, personally, don’t see how anyone could be offended, but if they were it’s unfortunate.  And, sometimes, I think we just need to tell the offended that the feeling will pass and they need to move on without punishing someone each time a sensitivity is touched upon.  This letter is not threatening in any way, he doesn’t ridicule or spew insults so I’m lost as to why the suspension. 

    I’m so nervous for my children and the world that they’re growing up in… 

  15. says

    I heard about the letter and now, having read it (thanks for posting this) I am thoroughly outraged. The school administration has truly gone mad.

  16. Shelley says

    Perhaps I’m just way out in left field here, but if anyone was offended by this, why didn’t they take the time (and their constitutional right) to respond in kind? Maybe I’m just less tolerant of whining now than I was when I was younger, but instead of simply complaining to the teachers or the prinicipal, why not take some of that anger or indignance and write it down. Make your voice heard. This sort of ‘controversy’ is what great discussions and debates are made of. Why not make it a learning experience? Why not open a dialogue and see what the other side looks like? THAT would be the kind of discourse that I would want in my school and that is exactly what I hope my daughter would do. It’s alright to question authority and the rules – that’s how change comes about.

    • Candace says

      I couldn’t agree more. He was speaking his mind. Disagree, then offer a retort. The bottom line though, he was respectful in tone and wasn’t bullying anyone, so in my opinion, no suspension necessary. Considering some the truly heinous things that are overlooked in our school system, I’m sure a open discussion with all parties would have been sufficient.

  17. Stephanie Smith says

    I think what that boy wrote was very true and it’s something that I personally believe, especially from a young man, it’s speaks volumes to his character. However that being said, the young man was not suspended so much or what he wrote buy for photocopying his speech and passing it out during school hours when already told to revise his speech.  I agree with Paul that he should not have had FTP rewrite his speech, it was very well spoken in my opinion. But that does change the fact that administration told him no, and he went on to distribute it in school.  He would have my full support had he just read his speech and even if he distributed it after school, but there are rules how ever right or wrong they are.  I still support your right to free speech, and thank you for sharing a beautiful, realistic and moving speech with probly many more than you imagined. I hope young women will take this in.

  18. says

    What a great kid, for writing this and for standing by his convictions! What a skewed value message this Catholic school board is sending.
    It’s how we try to raise our son and I hope he is strong enough to do the same someday.


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