NY Court Keeps Mother of Gay Son on Child Abuse Registry
A New York court has rejected an appeal by a woman who was put into a Child Abuse Registry – because she pulled her gay son out of school.
Rhonda Mangus started taking her then 13-year-old son Mike out of classes at North Tonawanda High, near Buffalo, in 2005 – after years of harassment that culminated in a death threat left on his notebook. Mangus says Principal James Fisher and other school officials placed the blame for the abuse on her son.
Mangus: “It was very clear to me that Principal Fisher was not going to take the steps necessary, because he perceived Michael as the problem. He told Michael, right there in that meeting, ‘You’ve got to tone it down.’ Michael started crying, ‘What more can I do?’ This school district particularly wanted Michael to conform to what they perceive as the norm.”
So Mangus took Mike out of class – but a North Tonawanda School District employee reported her for ‘educational neglect and inadequate guardianship.’ Mangus was given a hearing before the State Office of Children and Family Services, but she lost, and her name automatically went into the State Central Register of Child Abuse and Maltreatment. Mangus had been a substitute teacher.
Mangus: “The limitations it places on me is that every time I fill out an application that would ask if I have ever been indicated for abuse, I have to put that down.”
She appealed her placement in the register, but last month a mid-level court upheld the decision. Mangus says she will continue to appeal.
Spokespersons for Niagara County – and two New York state agencies did not return OutQ’s repeated calls for comment.