Unholy Mess

Parents of lesbian student accuse former high school of forcing her into conversion therapy

Magali Rodriguez. Courtesy the Rodriguez family.

Just days after the student body staged a walk-out in support of her, the parents of Magali Rodriguez have accused her former high school, Bishop Amat Memorial High School in La Puente, CA, of forcing her to undergo conversion therapy.

“They wanted to talk her out of being gay, out of feeling this way,” her mother, Martha A. Tapia-Rodriguez told Huffington Post. “They wanted to convince her that this was something bad. I’m just so enraged at the fact that it went on for such a long time and we didn’t know anything about it.”

Magali Rodgriguez attended Bishop Amat for a full three years before her parents pulled her from classes in September. Rodriguez had not even come out to her family before school officials began pressuring her to acknowledge the fact that she’s gay. They then promised to keep Rodriguez’s sexual orientation a secret, so long as she attended counseling sessions.

Related: 200 high school students stage walkout in support of queer classmate

“The goal there was pretty much to shame her to stop or to change her,” Nicolas Rodriguez, Magali’s father, said of the sessions. The family also claims that school officials were ordered to watch Rodriguez to make sure she didn’t have close contact with her girlfriend. They also claim counselors at Bishop Amat tried to subject Magali to conversion therapy without the consent of a parent.

California law bans therapists–including school counselors–from practicing conversion thereapy, a practice viewed by the medical community at large as extremely harmful and ineffective.

“How the school could do something like that, refer some kind of psychiatric care without our knowledge, I just couldn’t understand that,” Nicholas Rodriguez adds.

Rodriguez’s parents pulled her from Bishop Amat after their daughter wrote a letter detailing the abuse she received from school officials. She is currently finishing out her senior year at another school.

Officials for Bishop Amat deny any wrongdoing, though characterize Rodriguez’s charges as not “entirely accurate.”