Most high school seniors are excitedly preparing to put on their cap and gown and looking forward to the future right now. Kaitlyn Hunt, 18, is instead fighting bigotry and hoping she won’t be forced to go to jail instead of college. Her crime? Dating another student – a female student. Kaitlyn’s family took her story public on May 17th, via Facebook.
Hunt was a highly respected student at Florida’s Sebastian River High School with good grades and participation in cheerleading, basketball and chorus. She was even voted “most school spirit.”
All of that changed when she started dating a fellow student, a girl she met on the basketball team, at the beginning of the school year.
According to Kaitlyn’s father, Steven R. Hunt, Jr., the relationship caused waves at the school from the start. His daughter was dropped from the basketball team because the coach feared a same-sex relationship would bring unwanted “drama.”
Then the family was shocked and devastated when police came to their home in February to arrest Kaitlyn. She was charged with two felony counts of lewd and lascivious battery on a child 12 – 16 years of age.
Kaitlyn was 18 and her 15-year-old girlfriend's parents pressed charges. Hunt’s mother, Kelley Hunt Smith, says the other set of parents have made it their mission to destroy her daughter’s life, all because they can’t accept that their child was in a same sex relationship.
The girl’s family petitioned the school board and got Katilyn expelled from school, weeks before graduation. This decision was made in spite of a judge declaring she could continue to attend school as long as she didn’t have contact with the girl.
“They are out to destroy my daughter, because they feel like she ‘made’ their daughter gay. They see being gay as wrong and they blame my daughter. Of course, I see it 100% differently. I don’t see or label these girls as gay. They are teenagers in high school experimenting with their sexuality – with mutual consent. And even if their daughter is gay, who cares? She is still their daughter.”
The heartache for the Hunt family continues even with Kaitlyn forced out of the school. Steven said their younger child is also a student at Sebastian River High School and is forced to see words like “criminal,” “rapist” and “child abuser” written about her sister on the bathroom walls at school, despite his repeated request that the school to do something about it.
Kaitlyn has been offered a plea deal of house arrest for two years, plus a year of probation. This would delay her entering the next phase of her life and stay on her permanent adult record, limiting her career choices.
Her parents say all of this is because she fell in love with another girl and that girl’s parents couldn’t handle it. They are urging the public to step up to “stop the hate, free Kate” by signing a petition they will present to the Indian River County State Attorney’s Office. Click here to sign. You can also learn more about Kaitlyn Hunt’s story on the Free Kate Facebook page.
Correction: Kaitlyn Hunt was 18 when she began dating her girlfriend, a 14-year-old freshman. The girl is now 15.