Student Suspended for Saying Homosexuality is Wrong: VIDEO

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A Texas student has been suspended for telling a friend during a class discussion of homosexuality, "I'm a Christian and, to me, being homosexual is wrong."

Fourteen-year-old Dakota Ary, an honor student and football player, has become an instant cause celebre among conservatives. Liberty Counsel, a right-wing defense firm, helped him clear his permanent record and get the suspension reduced to a day:

Ary's lawyer, Matthew Krause, said the suspension was unjustified and that Ary is entitled to express his opinion on homosexuality in school.

"Just because you walk through the schoolhouse doors does not mean you shed your 1st Amendment rights," Krause said in a statement. "Dakota wasn't disrupting class. He wasn't bullying or harassing anybody. He was just stating his personal opinion on a topic somebody brought up and in a civil and respectful manner." (...)

It all began in Ary's German class, where the teacher was leading the students in a discussion about religion in Germany.

According to a statement from Liberty Counsel, one student asked what Germans thought about homosexuality in relation to religion. Another student asked to hear the German translation of "lesbian."

That's when Ary turned to a friend and said, "I'm a Christian and, to me, being homosexual is wrong," the teenager said in a television interview on Fox News earlier this week.  

"It wasn't directed to anyone except my friend who was sitting behind me," he said. "I guess [the teacher] heard me and started to yell about it."

I'd be more inclined to symphatize if the conservatives showed any interest whatever in the endemic homophobia of the American school system and the gay children committing suicide because of bullying.

Nonetheless, I think Ary acted within his First Amendment rights by making a private remark to a nearby classmate in response to an open question about religion and homosexuality. And the teacher could have handled it the right way by addressing the remark calmly, and using it to start up a civil discussion. Merely suppressing an opinion does no one any good - it certainly doesn't change minds.

Did he deserve a suspension at all? Or am I all wrong?


Student Suspended for Saying Gay Is Wrong:

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  1. Replace 'homosexuality' with 'being black' or 'being Jewish' or ... and see how it plays. Suppressing the opinion was overreaction and I think the kid's lawyers are going to walk all over the school. However, his opinion was open to *challenge*.

    Posted by: justinw | Sep 24, 2011 12:46:26 PM

  2. I would question the story. I find it hard to believe that he just turned and said something so innocent as that to get suspended. Never the less, of course it should be a teachable moment and not a punishment.

    Posted by: Spike | Sep 24, 2011 12:47:27 PM

  3. If the situation was as stated in the article, then the suspension was wrong. The teacher should not have made a production and should have moved on reminding everyone that the discussion was about the German language and not social issues. As it was handled, the right wing just got more fodder with which to attack us.

    Posted by: romeo | Sep 24, 2011 12:52:45 PM

  4. Lawrence King's murder was a "teachable moment" too Spike.

    And what was taught from that? We deserve to be shot in the back of the head twice at point blank range -- that's what was taught!

    Posted by: David Ehrenstein | Sep 24, 2011 12:53:37 PM

  5. The fact that the teacher felt sufficiently agrieved to report him to the head suggests to me that something more was said than just a general statement about his Christian beliefs, it would be beneficial if the teacher and school simply issued a statement reiterating exactly what was said and in what context, for example was it said mockingly and targeted to another classmate by the student. Even if they don't want to actually discuss the case some clarification is required.

    Posted by: Den | Sep 24, 2011 12:55:01 PM

  6. Hey may be wrong in his beliefs but he has the right to have them. He should not be suspended.

    Posted by: Jeff | Sep 24, 2011 12:56:37 PM

  7. As for studying German in Texas - half of Texas is of German extraction. Check out some of the street names for the main drags in Texas cities. A lot of the original cowboys were Germans, which should tell you something.

    Posted by: romeo | Sep 24, 2011 12:56:53 PM

  8. Yeah, I think the REAL problem here isn't WHAT the kid said, but WHERE and WHEN he said it. I think most kids learn by grade 3 that (most) teachers don't welcome spontaneous outbursts of any sort in the middle of a lesson.

    Had he spontaneously said "I like cake" or any other innocuous thing he would likely still warrant detention for disrupting the class, no?

    Posted by: SearchCz | Sep 24, 2011 12:58:40 PM

  9. David quote above - which I agre, "Of course he doesn't deserve to be suspended. Suspension is ridiculous and does nothing to address his skewed worldview. This was a teaching opportunity missed."

    Posted by: PSGuy92262 in PS | Sep 24, 2011 12:59:52 PM

  10. Wrong decision, just what the right wing religious scumbags want to hear. There are worse things than saying being gay is wrong. I think there's a lot about heterosexuality that is wrong and I'll say it, please or offend.

    Posted by: Robert in NYC | Sep 24, 2011 1:06:48 PM

  11. The idiot reporter at this Fox affiliate tells us the kid was suspended for a single comment then ends the story by telling us that officials are still trying to determine exactly what happened. All she knows is what the kid told her. Other news reports suggest that the kid's comments were more extensive and disruptive. But don't expect to see that on Fox.

    Posted by: Check the facts first | Sep 24, 2011 1:21:59 PM

  12. What struck me most about this post is when Penn writes "I'd be more sympathetic if conservatives showed any interest..."

    Well, if we're not able to show sympathy for the suppression of free speech, how can we expect any sympathy when we voice our own opinions?

    These things aren't supposed to be conditional. Ary's first amendment rights were quashed by the teacher and the school - it's a clear violation. We should be standing up for him even if we disagree with his statement. Ensuring Ary can say what he wants ensures that a girl in Alabama can wear a t-shirt that says "Gay? Fine By Me."

    Posted by: S D | Sep 24, 2011 1:26:37 PM

  13. If it were as simple as the story states it is obvious the teacher and school overreacted. That being said, I don't believe what's been stated is the truth. The pieces of the story don't add up and why would the mother be worried about future reprecussions if the school is so clearly in the wrong. The school would be the entity worried about future reprecussions.

    If I were a betting man, the word "homosexual" was never uttered. It was more derogatory. And this kid says in one breathe it wasn't aimed at anybody and the next he says he said to his friend behind him, who then got upset. Hmmmm...

    Simply put I think the kid is lying and his mother needs to protect his record so he gets into the college they want him to.

    Posted by: Bart | Sep 24, 2011 1:29:10 PM

  14. This is going to be painted as some kind of "homofascism" but I'm willing to bet that both the teacher who punished him and the principal who suspended him for his comment--both of whom I think acted very foolishly--are heterosexual. (Moreover, I predict the ACLU will come to his defense, but will continue to be portrayed by the right as leftist and anti-Christian.)

    Posted by: John B. | Sep 24, 2011 1:40:36 PM

  15. Suspension is stupid. This should have been used to start a discussion. Maybe it would have changed his mind, maybe not. His first amendment rights were violated.

    Posted by: parkavman | Sep 24, 2011 1:47:28 PM

  16. We're not hearing the other side of this story... I'm certain his 'innocent opinion' was phrased far more disruptively, offensively, threateningly, and he probably deserves to be punished for it.

    Posted by: Jexer | Sep 24, 2011 1:50:26 PM

  17. Is it me or does his blouse just scream, "I'm gay!" ?

    Posted by: Tallulah | Sep 24, 2011 1:55:36 PM

  18. I'd like to hear from the teacher & principal before forming an opinion. This story could not possibly be more one-sided. This might be the end result of the kid being constantly disruptive in class, for all we know, and have nothing at all to do with the content of his speech.

    Posted by: AdamK | Sep 24, 2011 2:00:53 PM

  19. What this comes down to is, he disturbed class and is rightfully punished for it. As for his beliefs, what's sad is that he's only 14. He never had a chance. 14, living in Texas, bigoted parents. That's what the real problem is. People like this kid and potentially others in the class have been mentally destroyed by the households and cultures they live in.

    I agree, this was the perfect time to talk sense into the kid. Now he feels like/has become a marytr, and the conservatives are going to make sure of that.

    Posted by: Francis | Sep 24, 2011 2:12:11 PM

  20. Suspending him was the wrong thing to do. It's just a fact of life that self-proclaimed Christians have (are taught) homophobic ideas and suspending him only creates a martyr and gives support to the idea that THEY'RE the real victims here. Maybe it was a "teachable moment" but what it comes down to is he has the right to believe whatever he wants, however wrong he may be.

    Posted by: Caliban | Sep 24, 2011 2:19:30 PM

  21. if the story is true as reported here (BIG "if") then the school's action against the kid is really, really messed up. And I don't like all the projections about the kid in this discussion thread either. Yeh; maybe doth protest too much. But every one of us has to be cut some slack at that age--and most of us for many more years after that. So lay off him. How would YOU like to be held responsible as an adult for everything you said and thought in high school? Criminy.

    Posted by: Danny | Sep 24, 2011 2:20:01 PM

  22. Also, I 100% agree that the full story is almost assuredly not being printed by these right-wing shrills. Yes, he's entitled to his opinion, but openly proclaming homophobia in class isn't a noble cause to defend, and certainly, the rules within a class when talking about free speech are much different than in every day society. Ultimately it seems like the conserva-bigots creating a story to suit their agenda.

    Posted by: Francis | Sep 24, 2011 2:20:02 PM

  23. The kid should be able to express his view since he was not inciting or doing anything other than stating his own understanding about homosexuality, albeit an idiotically based and stupid and arrogant Biblical perspective.

    Posted by: greg warnick | Sep 24, 2011 2:30:41 PM

  24. How do you know what he was doing, Greg? We'vce only heard one clearly slanted side of the story.

    Posted by: David Ehrenstein | Sep 24, 2011 2:41:22 PM

  25. mmmm Let's see, learning German, hates Homos, blonde tussles, he is either off to some supremacist Kamp in Idaho or to Bel Ami studios in Prague once he is 18!!

    Posted by: alexInBoston | Sep 24, 2011 12:20:11 PM



    Are you one of those people who hate, are distrustful of anyone who isn't 'ethnic' looking? Why do you have a chip on your shoulder regrading blond [gasp!] hair? If his hair was black, brown, more 'ethnic' looking, would that be OK? Well, at least his eyes don't appear to be blue ... that would probably really send you over the edge.

    As far as the German angle: Germany is it a great place for homosexuals. Germany is a very tolerant, advanced, country. Other northern European countries where there are many pale skin, light haired, light eye color people are also very tolerant [probably the most tolerant in the world] countries.

    Alex, if you made similar comments about people who were 'darker' [for lack of a better word], more 'ethnic' looking, you'd have tons of posts screaming at you you, calling you racist, etc.

    Posted by: ratbastard | Sep 24, 2011 2:44:26 PM

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