Monday, August 12, 2013

A Pulpit for Bullies

Here is a powerfully written argument concerning an altercation that occurred at a public school and the court's ruling about it.

It's a shame that a school teacher is able to get away with this and an even greater shame that the court brought upon itself in its verdict.
To campaign against the bullying of LGBT people as if disagreement with the gay lifestyle were an evil is itself a form of bullying.

On June 19, the US District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan ruled in favor of a high school student named Daniel Glowacki, who had charged that his high school teacher, Jay McDowell, had violated his constitutional right to freedom of speech. He was granted one dollar in compensation. The court’s verdict, in vulgar terms, was that the pig had the right to say what he said.
The facts, according to the court’s judgment, are these.

On October 20, 2011, the Gay Straight Alliance at Howell High School planned to take part in a national “campaign aimed at raising awareness of the bullying of gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgendered youth.” The court acknowledges that the day is also called “Spirit Day,” which, the plaintiffs contended, is so-called to foster acceptance in the public schools of the homosexual lifestyle. The Gay Straight Alliance made up flyers to be posted all around the school, urging students to wear purple on that day as a sign of their solidarity with homosexual teenagers. The principal approved the flyer.

Wendy Hiller, one of the teachers, printed a batch of purple T-shirts, reading “Tyler’s Army” on the front and “Fighting Evil with Kindness” on the back. She had, in the past, worn a black shirt reading “Tyler’s Army.” The name refers to Tyler Clementi, a freshman at Rutgers who took his own life after his roommate had secretly filmed him in a homosexual encounter. Hiller, says the court, in evident agreement, did not believe that the shirts would be controversial, since the topic was bullying and not homosexuality. Hiller sold some of the shirts to other teachers at cost.

Jay McDowell, an economics teacher, bought one of those shirts and wore it in class that day. McDowell then showed his students a video about a gay teenager who committed suicide, and devoted the rest of the class period to discussion.

Daniel entered McDowell’s classroom for the sixth period that day. McDowell noticed that one of the girls in class was wearing a belt buckle with the Confederate flag. He ordered her to take it off, because it offended him. Daniel then asked the obvious question. Why should it be all right for so many students and teachers to wear the purple T-shirts, but not all right for the girl to wear the belt buckle?
 Read the rest at Public Discourse.

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