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#1 Texas School Punishes Boy for Opposing Homosexuality09-23-2011, 12:26 AMTodd Starnes
Published September 22, 2011
Western Hills High School.
An honors student in Fort Worth, Texas, was sent to the principal’s office and punished for telling a classmate that he believes homosexuality is wrong.
Holly Pope said she was “absolutely stunned” when she received a telephone call from an assistant principal at Western Hills High School informing her that her son, Dakota Ary, had been sent to in-school suspension.
“Dakota is a very well-grounded 14-year-old,” she told Fox News Radio noting that her son is an honors student, plays on the football team and is active in his church youth group. “He’s been in church his whole life and he’s been taught to stand up for what he believes.”
And that’s what got him in trouble.
Dakota was in a German class at the high school when the conversation shifted to religion and homosexuality in Germany. At some point during the conversation, he turned to a friend and said that he was a Christian and “being a homosexual is wrong.”
“It wasn’t directed to anyone except my friend who was sitting behind me,” Dakota told Fox. “I guess [the teacher] heard me. He started yelling. He told me he was going to write me an infraction and send me to the office.”
Dakota was sentenced to one day in-school suspension – and two days of full suspension. His mother was flabbergasted, noting that her son had a spotless record, was an honor student, volunteered at his church and played on the school football team.
Officials at the high school did not return calls for comment. However, the Fort Worth Independent School District issued a statement that read:
“As a matter of course, Fort Worth ISD does not comment on specific employee or student-related issues. Suffice it to say that we are following district policy in our review of the circumstances and any resolution will likewise be in accordance with district policy.”
After a meeting with Pope and her attorney, the school rescinded the two-day suspension so Dakota would be allowed to play in an upcoming football game.
“They’ve righted all the wrongs,” said Matt Krause, an attorney with the Liberty Counsel. “This should have no lasting effect on his academic or personal record going forward.”
Pope contacted the Liberty Counsel immediately after her son was punished.
“I told the school that he should never have been suspended for exercising his Constitutional rights,” Krause told Fox News Radio. “The principal is sincere in trying to do the right thing and hopefully they will tell the teacher, ‘Do not do that anymore.’ He won’t be pushing his agenda.”
Krause called the incident “mind blowing” and said the teacher had frequently brought homosexuality into ninth grade classroom discussions.
“There has been a history with this teacher in the class regarding homosexual topics,” Krause said. “The teacher had posted a picture of two men kissing on a wall that offended some of the students.”
Krause said the picture was posted on the teacher’s “world wall.”
“He told the students this is happening all over the world and you need to accept the fact that homosexuality is just part of our culture now,” Krause said.
The school district would not comment on why a teacher was discussing homosexuality in a ninth grade German class.
“In German class there should be no talk of being pro-Gay or homosexual topics,” Krause said.
Dakota’s mother said she believes the teacher should apologize.
“He should never have been punished,” Pope said. “He didn’t disrupt the class. He wasn’t threatening. He wasn’t hostile. He made a comment to his friend and the teacher overheard it.”
“My son knows people that are homosexual,” she said. “He’s not saying, ‘I don’t like you.’ He’s saying, ‘I’m a Christian and I believe that being that way is wrong.’”
Krause said school leaders told Dakota that in the future he should be careful when and where he talks about his opposition to homosexuality – suggesting that he talk about such matters in the hallway instead of the classroom.
He said Liberty Counsel will monitor the situation to make sure there is no future retaliation. Meantime, Pope said her son will return to the teacher’s classroom.
“I’ve told him to treat this teacher with respect,” she said. “He is your elder. He is your teacher. What his beliefs are or what they are not – outside the school is none of our business.”The difference between pigs and people is that when they tell you you're cured it isn't a good thing.
09-23-2011, 12:29 AM
School was totally in the wrong here IMO.In most sports, cold-cocking an opposing player repeatedly in the face with a series of gigantic Slovakian uppercuts would get you a multi-game suspension without pay.
In hockey, it means you have to sit in the penalty box for five minutes.
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09-23-2011, 09:07 AM
The school was wrong. The kid expressed an opinion-it wasn't obnoxious, he wasn't calling anyone a name, he wasn't bulling another student.
Discussions of sexuality have no place in german class. That's what health class is for.
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09-23-2011, 10:08 AM
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Next, it will be some grunt in the military facing punishment over something like this.
09-23-2011, 10:17 AM
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Students are expected to:
• Attend school the entire instructional day, except when ill or otherwise lawfully excused and be on time to all classes.
• Follow the rules and regulations established by the teacher and the school as stated in the Student Code of Conduct,
Campus Discipline Management Plan, and the procedures concerning appropriate behavior.
• Cooperate with all lawful and reasonable directives issued by school personnel.
• Be prepared for each class with assigned work and appropriate materials.
• Pursue mastery of the essential knowledge and skills of the curriculum as prescribed by the District and the State.
• Establish an effective working relationship with parents, peers and school personnel.
• Show respect for others and their property.
• Abstain from making profane, insulting, threatening or inflammatory remarks.
• Stay away from other Fort Worth ISD campuses during the school day, except with permission from school personnel.
• Express opinions and ideas in a respectful and courteous manner.
• Strive toward self-discipline, setting individual goals and utilizing good work habits.
• Leave campus immediately after the dismissal bell unless involved in a school activity.
• Assume responsibility for making choices and accept the consequences of those behaviors.
• Adhere to dress code standards.
GENERAL MISCONDUCT VIOLATIONS
Students are prohibited from:
• Cheating or copying the work of another.
• Being disrespectful to adults and/or other students.
• Engaging in any conduct that constitutes harassment of any type.
• Bullying others.
• Violating the Student Code of Conduct.
• Violating the campus student handbook.
• Violating the behavioral standards set by teachers, coaches, administrators and/or sponsors.
• Leaving school grounds or school-sponsored events without permission.
• Scuffling or fighting.
• Disobeying school rules regarding conduct on school buses.
• Failing to comply with directives given by school personnel.
• Possessing matches or a lighter.
• Behaving in any manner disruptive to the school environment or educational process.
• Violating safety rules.
• Violating the dress code.
• Violating extracurricular standards of behavior.
• Unauthorized use of a telecommunication or an electronic device.
• Possessing, smoking or using tobacco products.
• Possessing a hazardous item or storing a prohibited item in his/her vehicle if the vehicle is unoccupied.
In any professional workplace in the US, this student's comment, which was obviously made to the teacher or loud enough that he heard it, would be considered "creating a hostile workplace."
OK, so I think that's a stifling standard, and we know that the "hostile workplace" construct has many workplaces considered hostile by most people who work there, not due to the off comment but the policy making it so that almost anyone can be hauled down to HR at any time.
But looking at these broad rules and considering the response to the same remark if one were to plug in a race, sex, or religion, then the action of the teacher seems to be consistent with Fort Worth ISD policy.
The bottom line is that you wouldn't make a similar remark about another race, religion, etc... then you shouldn't make it about gay people. The only thing new here are the particulars which have evolved considerably in our lifetime. But society has always had expectations of respectful speech and consequences for disrespectful speech in certain environments. Wrapping an anti-gay statement in religion doesn't make it more acceptable, nor does it protect it in places where rules require that one not make offensive remarks.
09-23-2011, 10:22 AM...in the future he should be careful when and where he talks...
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