The video: Last Friday, at a school-board meeting in Howell, Mich., an openly gay 14-year-old gave a speech that is quickly becoming a viral video phenomenon. (Watch below.) Graeme Taylor spoke up to offer his support for Jay McDowell, a teacher who was temporarily suspended after dismissing two students from his class for saying they did not accept gays — sparking a freedom of speech debate. In his "inspiring" and "incredibly articulate" statement, Taylor tells how he attempted suicide at age 9 after being plagued by bullies and urges the school board to reverse the disciplinary actions against McDowell.
The reaction: This is "a touching message of plainspoken sanity from a kid on the front lines," says Mary Elizabeth Williams at Salon. "Taylor's riveting testimony proves the world-shaking power of standing up and speaking out... even in a sea of Internet noise, sometimes, the signal still gets through." Agreed, says Lu Wong at The Good Men Project, "this kid is awesome." Unfortunately, says school superintendent Ron Wilson, as quoted by Edge Boston, that doesn't mean the teacher whom Taylor is supporting was in the right. "It was a teachable moment and there could have been [more] dialogue" before two students were ejected from the class . Watch Taylor's defense: