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. @David Ehrenstein

    I don't think that one article @ambrose posted is factually correct because they called it sociology class and it was clearly German language class based on the school's website. I looked it up. He is only a language arts teacher.

    Go to the school website, plus Mr. Franks has had a website (it looks blank now).

    Also I tried to find that article @Ambrose posted and could find it no where but here.

    IF they attacked the teacher with gay slurs then he should have nailed them for that and not what was said (Gays can't be Christians) in the report. They wouldn't even be back in school and shouldn't be. Losing authority in the classroom sets a hideous example and schools usually don't tolerate it.

    I've had aggressive students --when you're a female they try to sexualize you -- and I just wrote their snotty little asses up and they were out of school, not in ISS.

    I would love to see a news report that quotes the school or the teacher. I am with you in that I think there is more to it, but after reading that he was clearly a German language teacher I can't stand behind Ambrose's story that he posted since a) I see it no where else, and b) they called it sociology class.

    Posted by: Rin | Sep 25, 2011 12:47:50 PM

  2. So far its been exploitated to the Max by the 'Phobes -- who the vast majority of posters in here appear to belive without question.

    Posted by: David Ehrenstein | Sep 25, 2011 12:48:31 PM

  3. Notr surprised that Mr. Franks' website is blank. He's probably in fear for his life.

    Not that any of you care.

    Posted by: David Ehrenstein | Sep 25, 2011 1:06:59 PM

  4. We aren't getting the whole story.

    Who brought up homosexuality in the German class before? Was it the teacher? A gay student? Himself, or another anti-gay student?

    How many students overheard the comment? Who reported it?

    We should recall that high school is not a free speech zone, and reasonable limits are placed on student speech, dress, and a number of expressions that would be OK outside the school context. This speech isn't about himself, but about people he doesn't like.

    Particularly with so many LGBT kids feeling isolated in school, it's important that hostile speech about LGBT people be banned.

    Last, if this kid was speaking to a classmate during the discussion, then it seems he was speaking out of turn and disrupting the class, regardless of the content of his speech.

    Posted by: Randy | Sep 25, 2011 2:22:04 PM

  5. @TJ

    As did I with Latin class, but there is a huge difference in what you speak to first year students about with their vocabulary and what you talk to Seniors about. I took German, too, and we learned about Bavaria, Bonn, etc. and then the grammar included it.

    Ich lebe auf Bayern.

    I highly doubt first year textbooks talk about religion, sexuality, etc. IF they talk about religion at all it is to learn the word: kirche, not learn about how German Christians feel about gay rights.

    And...let's get real about kids. They asked so they could learn dirty words. They did it when I went to high school, and they did it when I taught high school.

    The kids in my Latin class were no better, I just used the moment to talk to them about their attitudes and encouraged a real debate.

    and @David Ehrenstein

    Why would you think that I don't care about the teacher????

    I have been in his shoes. I said that if there was a gang of students that were harassing him then he had every right to have them removed permanently from school, IE expelled. Students are usually expelled for harassing teachers--as well they should be. They must learn that you school is about education, not socializing, and the only way to do that is to assert the teacher's authority.

    You cannot be their little friends or give them free passes or they will walk all over you. You can, support them, bring in their parents for conferences, work with them, etc., but you have to establish boundaries.

    I had a few horrible little cretins hit on me and then ended up in the office whereas the Spanish teacher just giggled over it. UGH!

    So, yes, I do care. Even if the original story was true and if Mr. Franks was gay (we don't even know if he is) then it would have totally hurt his feelings.

    I'm not applauding the young man, I'm stating that this is how we lose the opportunity to address bullying. You don't make martyrs of them, you confront their weak arguments and teachers are well able to do that.

    The kid in my Latin class was VERY grateful that we had that debate because the "bullies" were unable to support their arguments and I made them look silly in front of their friends.

    Posted by: Rin | Sep 25, 2011 2:32:45 PM

  6. RIN - why would, or should, words in different languages for "lesbian," "gay," "intercourse," etc. qualify as "dirty" or swear words? I can see how the motives for asking might skew negative, but not necessarily the fact that the words, or what they represent, exist.

    Posted by: TJ | Sep 25, 2011 2:51:33 PM

  7. Yes we DO know that he's gay. Didn't you read what Ambrose posted?

    Posted by: David Ehrenstein | Sep 25, 2011 3:22:12 PM

  8. the bible speak about homosexuality,is a sin
    against god.however this country is far away
    from god, wich is going to take the full
    punishment from god in all his anger.

    Posted by: moises rodriguez | Sep 25, 2011 3:25:03 PM

  9. i never said it wasn't his "right" to dislike or be a bigot. I'm saying it speaks volumes that his family hired a lawyer rather than talk to their son about abusing a right and expressing something that will come at the expense of the well-being and security of his classmates.

    I never said anyone should be "forced to respect things", either. Gotta love ya, ratbastard. you make a beautiful habit of arguing against things that nobody has ever said.

    Posted by: Little Kiwi | Sep 25, 2011 3:33:21 PM

  10. well, we all know now that he was suspended. he got DETENTION.

    and his statements do not match those of school officials.

    this reminds of the story a year or so ago wherein a "Young Christian Girl was discriminated against by her bus-driver who yelled at her for being a Christian and tried to silence the girl's right to her Christian beliefs" - a story that floated around FOX news, and other right-leaning sites.

    the reality of the story? a bus driver called out the girl and told her to stop saying that gays and muslims go to hell.

    yeah. you gotta love the right-wing spin.

    Posted by: Little Kiwi | Sep 25, 2011 3:43:27 PM

  11. Okay...this has been given WAY too much importance....He is just a brain-washed kid who is parroting his parents and church beliefs (And THAT in itself is unsettling, I believe)...if my kid was Jewish and there was a "discussion" about what the bible says is wrong, would the fact that eating shrimp and pork is "wrong' in God's eyes woul he or she get"Detention".hmmmmmm...discuss.....anything folks?...clock in please...Thanks for playing!

    Posted by: thom | Sep 25, 2011 6:17:26 PM

  12. Thanks for your article showing a level headedness. Most of the Liberal pro-Homosexual blogdom have shown the hypocrisy by many Liberals who only believe in Freedom of Speech if they agree with your position (and you are not a White Christian Heterosexual Male).

    Posted by: Billyhr2 | Sep 25, 2011 8:10:26 PM

  13. Met with the teacher Friday night. His story, which he is not yet allowed to share with the media, is quite different, and lays a solid basis for believing that Ary's comments were directed ad hominem, and a continuation of a history of harassing comments made toward this teacher on the basis of Ary and 3 other students' perception that the teacher is gay. It would be a good turn if folks would contact the district and respectfully urge the district to give a full, balanced and caring hearing to the teacher's side of the story, unprejudiced by the onslaught of public pressure released from the highly slanted media coverage, which has only represented Ary and the Liberty Counsel's claims. Sample script:

    Dear Sir/Madam,

    I am writing/calling with regard to the case involving Western Hills High School teacher, Kristopher Franks, and student, Dakota Ary. I am concerned by the one-sided nature of the media reporting concerning this case, in which only the perspective of the student and his Liberty Institute lawyer have been represented. I urge you to insure that a full, fair, and caring hearing be given Mr. Franks, one which is in full concord with district policies prohibiting students and employees from harassing others on the basis of perceived sexual orientation.

    [Your name,
    Your official positions or titles, including residency in the school district ]

    Walter Dansby
    Interim Superintendent
    Fort Worth ISD
    Phone: 817.871.2000

    James Wellman
    Western Hills High School
    Fort Worth ISD
    Phone: 817.815.6000

    Ray Dickerson
    Board of Education
    Fort Worth ISD

    Carlos Vasquez
    Board Member, District 1
    Board of Education
    Fort Worth ISD

    Norman Robbins
    Board Member, District 7
    Board of Education
    Fort Worth ISD

    Posted by: Ambrose | Sep 25, 2011 8:18:35 PM

  14. Keep in mind that this happened in Ft Worth, TX. The same city that had the Rainbow Lounge raid, where the police & TABC carried out a "let's go screw with some gay people for fun" kind of harrassment which lead to 19 violations by both. This guy is from AZ, but it could certainly be a Texas church just as easy.

    Posted by: Skooter McGoo | Sep 25, 2011 11:54:54 PM

  15. a stupid punishment~it should have been an opportunity for (cringe) dialogue.
    remember the first amendment.

    Posted by: gggreggg | Sep 26, 2011 12:39:46 AM

  16. Thank you, Ambrose, and that answers the question of there being more to the story. The teacher probably just had it being harassed by this homophobic kid. The sick thing is that his parents, right-wingers, some of the students, don't think he did anything wrong. Clearly a case of a kid disrupting class by being openly homophobic. Punishment was fully deserved.

    And looking back at my first post, yeah, he may be a martyr now, but he's also publicly known for being homophobic. Let's see how far that'll get him in the real world. Well........he does live in Fort Worth.

    Posted by: Francis | Sep 26, 2011 5:25:02 AM

  17. The First Amendment is a CROCK! -- as the recent demonstrations in New York against Corporate control have illustrated so graphically. Those demonstrators were perfectly within their "first amendment rights" to peacefully protest --

    and they were clubbed,MACED and arrested for doing so.

    Thanks for the information Ambrose. I've e-mialed several of the people you indicated.

    Posted by: David Ehrenstein | Sep 26, 2011 8:23:17 AM

  18. the crock is calling this an update to the story everything from my breakfast cereal to the car i drive the gay youth hot line i volunteer for to the hate group in my area has a web site but this LGBTQ S.A.V.E.S. doesn't if this is an official group as this person says they are formed with a purpose as this person says they are like other group of this type that have websites where is there official statement after all if what they say is true then it should most defiantly be told and the school dept. should be held up for the cowards they are until then I think its irresponsible for TOWLEROAD to take the word of an anonymous commenter with an unsubstantiated story and call it an UPDATE I'm sorry I'm not ready to demonize a 14 year old boy on that now I'm not saying it isn't true but I'm not ready to call it an update

    Posted by: eds | Sep 26, 2011 9:28:56 AM

  19. EDS dear, knowing the Liberty Counsel, I'd believe a crack addict off the street before I'd take their word for anything, even if they DO have a website. In fact, I'd just reverse anything they say and assume that's the truth, because in every single case I've seen them represent, they've been the lying party.

    Posted by: KevinVT | Sep 26, 2011 10:18:07 AM

  20. "And Blacks should be able to say Hispanics smell."

    I think they smell wonderful, CANDIDIENNC. I'd like to get close enough to one again. But I guess I'll have to get on up to New luck here in Philly.

    Posted by: Derrick from Philly | Sep 26, 2011 10:32:59 AM

  21. Something tells me "EDS" knows the "Lverty Counsel" very very well.

    Posted by: David Ehrenstein | Sep 26, 2011 1:10:39 PM

  22. No! Use this as a chance to have one of those moderated conversations in class that hears both positions which will never be forgotten. Unfortunately, all that may be remembered by these students is how to entrench in one's place. Making matters worse, the kids will think that it isn't ok to voice a minority position. What this nation is sorely lacking is argumentation and critical thinking skills. This didn't help that situation at all.

    Posted by: greg | Sep 26, 2011 1:18:47 PM

  23. Could have been a great teachable moment, but PC over-reaction has turned it into an anti-gay cause celebre. Sigh.

    Posted by: SeeingI | Sep 26, 2011 1:57:37 PM

  24. Oh so when we're attacked we shouldnn't fight back because that's a "PC over-reaction." Perfect argument KAPO!

    Posted by: David Ehrenstein | Sep 26, 2011 2:11:40 PM

  25. actually never heard of them before this whole thing look I didn’t say the article was wrong I didn’t say the commenter was wrong and I certainly didn’t attack anyone personally I just said I don’t think it’s a good thing to attack and demonize a 14 year old child when you have said yourself David we don not have all the facts and posting it on your site doesn't make it fact David and pointing to it in the comment section doesn't make it fact when this group that he says contacted the teacher and 3 other students to back the story makes a statement with some quotes maybe some taped phone calls anything but an anonymous commenter then i might start to put some credence behind it

    Posted by: eds | Sep 26, 2011 2:47:15 PM

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