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. Why do so many gays see a guy who is 'cute' looking, handsome, and feel the need to immediately crack gay jokes? Oh, he must be gay....oh, look at his face...oh, they'd love him in prison, etc.

    This kid is, literally, a kid...14 years old. Bear that in mind.

    Did the teacher and school officials over-react? Sounds like it. Even 2 days detention is un-called for, as was the teacher having a hissy fit. This is all assuming it had to do solely with him saying something to a fellow student the teacher didn't like.

    Posted by: ratbastard | Sep 24, 2011 2:51:48 PM

  2. the fact that his parents immediately hired a lawyer and started rambling at the First Amendment rather than talk to their son about the potential hurt his words would have cause his classmates, a few of whom are undoubtedly gay, speaks volumes.

    your kid gets in trouble for saying something perceived as anti-gay. for the first time in decades the non-gay community is finally talking about gay-bullying and LGBT youth suicides, and the parents of this kid don't sit him down to talk about how maybe he shouldn't have said what he said.

    no. they hired a lawyer instead.

    seriously. think about it for a moment.

    Posted by: Little Kiwi | Sep 24, 2011 2:55:44 PM

  3. Please explain 14 year-olds to us, Ratbastard. The monster who murdered Lawrence King was also 14.

    Posted by: David Ehrenstein | Sep 24, 2011 3:00:37 PM

  4. @Little Kiwi,

    He is entitled to express his opinion. He apparently said he though homosexuality was wrong, based on his religious beliefs. If this was the real reason why the teacher had a hissy fit, then the teacher was way out of line.And the school does indeed have a possible lawsuit on their hands.

    We still have extensive freedom of speech [and thought] in the U.S., unlike many comparable nations.

    Posted by: ratbastard | Sep 24, 2011 3:06:19 PM

  5. @David Ehrenstein,

    Are you saying 14 year olds should be treated like adults? Aren't you 'progressive'? Don't people like you always whine when a kid who commits a terrible crime gets a harsh sentence?

    I'm saying he's 14....a kid. He's an honor roll student. He has no history that we know of bad behavior, hurting others, etc. You know perfectly well what I mean David, you're just being a smart-a**.

    What I do see here [as the story is presented] a teacher and school authorities who acted like the very bullies they allegedly are trying to counter-act.

    Posted by: ratbastard | Sep 24, 2011 3:14:57 PM

  6. We really don't know if the boy in question deserved the detention that he got or not. It seems as if he was talking in the classroom (even if it was by whispering) and when you are in the classroom it is your obligation as a student to pay attention and keep your mouth shut so it seems as if may have deserved a detention (depends upon the amount of times he has done this before I'd guess).

    That said, to the extent that he was punished for expressing his beliefs about the topic it is unconstitutional. He has a right to believe what he believes and to express his opinion in a respectful manner when the classroom is opened up for the purposes of a debate.

    Teachers should not yell at students for taking any position on homosexuality (for or against) when the floor is opened for a debate, nor should they single out students (as the teacher did here by going after this student but not the one who asked for the German translation for "lesbian") for engaging in inappropriate behavior (talking while the teacher is talking). Doing so only stifles the debate which they can all (pro and con) benefit from.

    Posted by: John | Sep 24, 2011 3:24:16 PM

  7. I don't understand the US. You guys always seem to be so busy defending your "right" to do something that it appears you never take the time to ask yourselves if it's even THE RIGHT thing to do, or worth doing, or if your "right" to do it will come at the expense of someone else being hurt or made to feel unsafe.

    it's galling.

    like i said, his parents hired a lawyer. they didn't sit their son down to say "you know, there's a lot about anti-gay bulling and teen suicides in the news these days, why did you say this? i know you have the right do, but what GOOD did you think would come from doing this?"

    it's like you people with gun rights. you care more about your "right" to own and carry a loaded gun than about working to create a culture in which fewer people will feel a *need* to ACT ON that right.

    Posted by: Little Kiwi | Sep 24, 2011 3:27:23 PM

  8. "Are you saying 14 year olds should be treated like adults?"

    When "lying in wait" is established the crime automatically converts to adult status.

    " Aren't you 'progressive'? Don't people like you always whine when a kid who commits a terrible crime gets a harsh sentence?"

    No. What caricature do you have me confused with, KAPO?

    "I'm saying he's 14....a kid. He's an honor roll student. He has no history that we know of bad behavior, hurting others, etc. You know perfectly well what I mean David, you're just being a smart-a**."

    Yes. I know perfectly well what you mean.

    Posted by: David Ehrenstein | Sep 24, 2011 3:28:30 PM

  9. Funny..what I'm seeing is a story about parents who care more about their son's "right" to say bigoted things that will indeed make his LGBT classmates uncomfortable, rather than saying to him "just because you have the right to speak your mind doesn't mean that you needed to say what you said. gay teens are committing suicide at an alarming rate. maybe you shouldn't contribute to that problem"

    but, no. no no no. we have people saying "he has a right to say this

    yeah. and that's why the US is decades behind other countries in terms of LGBT Equality. Y'all are so busy defending your right to do this that you've never stopped to ask if your right to do it comes at someone else's expense.

    Posted by: Little Kiwi | Sep 24, 2011 3:31:13 PM

  10. No, he does not need a suspension. What he needs is a lesson concerning the difference between opinion and fact. He may have been taught by his homophobic parents that it is a sin but "wrong" is a relative and highly subjective term and has no bearing on anyone's innate sexuality or sexual orientation.

    Posted by: J. Leo | Sep 24, 2011 3:44:25 PM

  11. It's possible that he's been repeatedly disruptive in class and this was the last straw.

    Germans settled large parts of Texas and that where the majority of German WWII POWs were kept. For some reason, many chose to stay in TX after the war ended. Go figure. There are sections of Texas where it's not unusual to hear German spoken natively and it's frequently taught in school.

    The first amendment exists largely to prevent our political system from outwitting itself. Think of Prohibition as the cause celeb of bad laws done for supposedly the right reasons. Censorship laws are equally bad. They are a trap.

    Posted by: anon | Sep 24, 2011 3:44:43 PM

  12. Sorry Mr. Ehrenstein, I meant to say aren't you a Marxist, not 'progressive'.

    And yeah, I know you know what I mean.

    Posted by: ratbastard | Sep 24, 2011 3:48:30 PM

  13. The school should rescind Dakota's suspension and apologize. Fox News should then leave him alone for the rest of his life and stop using children to pimp their hateful views.

    Posted by: Skye Winspur | Sep 24, 2011 3:50:32 PM

  14. Ifthis is completley accurate of the situation the teacher totally blew it! This was a 14 year old child sitting in a classroom where a discussion on religion and culture were taking place. The teacher showed a real misunderstanding of the opportunity that was before him/her, to have a real open discussion about cultural differeces, the historical context of Germany and intolerence towards religion, as well as the most important point to actually teach these kids to be TOLERANT and respectful of other peoples cultures, beliefs, etc. This teacher, IMO, knows nothing about teaching. You have a kid who has some real issues with tolerence for people who believe differently then he does, and you shout him done and suspend him? What did he/she just teach that kid? To continue his intolerence.

    Posted by: The Iron Orchard | Sep 24, 2011 3:50:44 PM

  15. I don't believe in shutting anybody up. Better to know what people are thinking so we have the information needed to counter their skewed ideas than to make them hide like cockroaches and only come out in the dark.

    Posted by: kyle Michel Sullivan | Sep 24, 2011 3:53:55 PM

  16. Some of you people are insane this CHILD as smart as all accounts say he may be is still a CHILD who has been very active in his church all his life and very probably believes (because it’s what he has been taught) what he said. He didn’t say it to be mean he didn’t say it out of the blue he didn’t even say it to the whole class. He said it privately to a classmate during a class discussion about homosexuality initiated by the teacher. the teacher over heard it and instead of trying to teach him why saying something like that in a classroom setting is hurtful he blew up on the kid threw him out of class and got him suspended for 4 days 2 in house 2 full, reduced to one day I’m going by earlier stories this one skipped over a lot it was a total over reaction by everyone at the school and a lost opportunity to teach an entire room full of students how to deal with that kind of a situation without it turning into us versus them

    Posted by: eds | Sep 24, 2011 4:00:56 PM

  17. Some people on here keep on harping about the Germans, Nazis, intolerance, etc. Should everyone feel the same way towards the Spanish and Portuguese, considering what they did with their empires in so-called Latin America? The negative effects are felt in 'Latin' America right down to this very day. Or the Chinese and the way they treat their neighbors in Nepal and elsewhere? The Japanese? How about the Aztecs who were in constant, brutal conflict [including engaging in genocide and slavery] or their fellow 'Indian' tribes?

    What about the people responsible for Marxism and communism, without a shadow of a doubt responsible for the deaths of probably in excess of 100 million people in wars, persecutions, famines, forced labor camps, etc.? What about those behind the Eugenics movement [Planned Parenthood is the modern day incarnation; they had to change the name after WW2 because of the Holocaust]?

    Like I've said before, hardcore 'progressives' HATE white males, especially northern European, 'blond', etc. males. They are to 'progressives' what the Jews were to the Nazis. And there are various 'ethnic' organizations in the U.S. [La Raza for example] that likewise, hate 'whites' and align themselves with radical 'progressives' [99% because 'progressives' support illegal immigration and unchecked social welfare programs].

    It is what it is.

    Posted by: ratbastard | Sep 24, 2011 4:11:03 PM

  18. How do you know "He didn’t say it to be mean he didn’t say it out of the blue" EDS?

    you're extrapolating from a (to put it kindly) wildly incomplete news item.

    Posted by: David Ehrenstein | Sep 24, 2011 4:11:53 PM

  19. insane

    Posted by: eds | Sep 24, 2011 4:13:57 PM

  20. @David Ehrenstein,

    YOU DON'T UNDERSTAND; the kid was and is entitled to his opinion. By the account given, he didn't say it in a disrespectful [what's the agreed upon definition of disrespectful?] manner. He attends a H.S. in modern day, early 21st century America, not a 're-education' camp in Nazi Germany, Stalinist Russia, Mao's China, or some Latin America Communist dictatorship banana republic..

    Posted by: ratbastard | Sep 24, 2011 4:17:54 PM

  21. I read more than just this one very short piece looked up some local news from his area did a little looking in to it before I made a kneejerk decision about what may have happened

    Posted by: eds | Sep 24, 2011 4:20:06 PM

  22. is there a "respectful" way to be an anti-gay bigot? i don't think so.

    just because anita bryant smiled while she said it didn't mean she wasn't a bigot.

    once again, you're all too concerned about his "right" to say something rather than the fact that nobody in his life appears to have sat him down to inform him that words can hurt, words can harm, and just because you have "a right" to say or do something doesn't meant that it doesn't come at the expense of someone else's well-being or sense of safety.

    Posted by: Little Kiwi | Sep 24, 2011 4:22:24 PM

  23. "By the account given, he didn't say it in a disrespectful [what's the agreed upon definition of disrespectful?] manner."




    Posted by: David Ehrenstein | Sep 24, 2011 4:26:05 PM

  24. something said might offend you and not offend me so who get to decide what wrong and right to say?

    Posted by: eds | Sep 24, 2011 4:27:07 PM

  25. Ary has every right to express his opinion that homosexuality is wrong, and that it is against the teachings of his Church.

    So, NO, he should NOT have been suspended.

    Ary's opinion should have NO bearing on others, however. If he made explicit threats against a gay student, then he should be disciplined. If he said something like "all fags will burn in hell", then the teacher should have made that a focal point for discussion in order to illustrate that there are better ways to express your feelings.

    Simply expressing an opinion that you feel homosexuality is wrong is akin to expressing an opinion that underage drinking or drug use is wrong. You may hold that opinion, but it does not mean others (even most) don't feel differently.

    As long as we respect each other's right to an opinion, I see no problem.

    Posted by: Chris | Sep 24, 2011 4:30:17 PM

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