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Catholic Mother Files Suit Against Teacher Who Ejected Her Son from Class for Anti-Gay Remarks: VIDEO

A Michigan mother filed a lawsuit this week on behalf of her son, who was reportedly kicked out of an economics class in October 2010 over his objection to gay people based on his religious beliefs:

McdowellThe Thomas More Law Center filed the suit Wednesday on behalf of Sandra Glowacki, a Catholic. It accuses the Howell Public School District and teacher Johnson (Jay) McDowell (pictured)of violating her son's constitutional rights.

The law center, which defends religious freedoms of Christians, said the district allowed Daniel Glowacki, 16, to be bullied for his religious beliefs on a day students and teachers were supporting the rights of gays and lesbians to be protected from bullying.

The claims in the lawsuit, as reported by the Detroit Free Press:

McDowell wore a purple T-shirt in support of a Rutgers University freshman who killed himself after a roommate streamed an Internet video of him kissing a male student, the suit says. The suit says McDowell told a student to remove a Confederate flag belt buckle that he found offensive. That prompted Daniel Glowacki to ask McDowell why it was OK to display the rainbow flag, which represents gay pride.

When Glowacki said his religion prevented supporting gay people, McDowell told Glowacki and another student to leave class, the suit says.

A copy of the complaint can be found HERE.

TaylorYou may remember hearing about this incident back in November. McDowell was under fire over the incident at the time, suspended without pay, and an amazingly articulate gay 14-year-old student, Graeme Taylor, came to his defense at a board meeting.

Watch Graeme's speech again if you missed it, AFTER THE JUMP...

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  1. Eh, I don't like the fact that the teacher told a student to remove something because he found it offensive. It's not much different than the black armbands that the Supreme Court held students had a constitutional right to wear in Tinker v. Des Moines.

    We hoot and holler when conservative religious teachers use the classroom to indoctrinate students to their way of thinking. We should be equally outraged when the reverse happens.

    The student merely pointed out that his religion prevents him from supporting gay rights. Whether we like that or not, (a) it is not bullying, and (b) it is his constitutional right.

    IMO, the student raised a valid point, asking why the teacher could wear something that makes a political point, while at the same time denying the student the right to do the same.

    Posted by: Jack | Dec 16, 2011 12:06:40 PM

  2. You know what else is a political point? Supporting/not supporting people without papers to live in this country. could he wear something and make a statement against illegal hispanics? This is a school not a street corner, one message is about tolerance, while the other is about discrimination, which, has NO place in a school. Learn the difference.

    Posted by: Bryce Ageno | Dec 16, 2011 12:12:48 PM

  3. Yes, I think he could make a legitimate statement about illegal immigration.

    Furthermore, schools are for learning, not for indoctrination. That goes for whether your subjective judgment labels it as "good" or "bad."

    It's amazing how people don't realize that inserting subjective judgment about the "value" of certain viewpoints is completely antithetical to everything this country is founded on. I support bigots' rights to speak because if I don't, my rights become endangered as well. It's that simple. If you don't get that, go back to 7th grade civics.

    Posted by: Jack | Dec 16, 2011 12:17:01 PM

  4. He was kicked out of the room. Not out school. Suing over this is completely ridiculous no matter what happened. This is just the anti-gay industry fabricating a scandal again

    Posted by: Steve | Dec 16, 2011 12:23:58 PM

  5. Good points, Jack. The Far Left and the Far Right are mirror images of each other in their intolerance and lack of respect for the Bill of Rights. And the polarization that they have caused is what is ruining this country.

    They both care only about achieving their ends, regardlesss of means....and they are both downright un-American.

    Posted by: Rick | Dec 16, 2011 12:24:14 PM

  6. Aaaaahh, can't wait to visit Howell in just under a week! Gotta love when my home town gets in the news. Such strange backward people there!

    Posted by: 48843 | Dec 16, 2011 12:39:44 PM

  7. I think a key question is this:

    If a gay student had said "I think that people who don't support gay rights because of religious beliefs are stupid bigots," and got kicked out of class, would you be upset?

    Posted by: Jack | Dec 16, 2011 12:45:41 PM

  8. 6 comments in, and no one has yet mentioned that Jay is a handsome feller. For shame.

    Despite the Confederate flag having ugly connotations of bigotry, slavery and redneckery, I don't see much difference in it versus a rainbow flag. I saw kids at my high school waiving around the Confederate flag (and I was in a Northern state). Most people just saw them as idiots and moved on with their day.

    Posted by: MarkR | Dec 16, 2011 12:55:26 PM

  9. there is a huge difference between the conferate flag, which is a representation of hate and bigotry, to the gay flag which is about acceptance and tolerance. And this punk kid should shut the hell up until he can think for himself!! he doesn't agree because his parents told him, it isn't his view!!

    Posted by: tommy | Dec 16, 2011 1:08:45 PM

  10. He should of just ignored the little creep. Just say... well that's your OPINION but not fact, school is about facts.

    Moving on...

    However the mother is in the right, imagine if a teacher did that to one of our kids, GLSEN and the ACLU will be on that teacher's ass in two seconds with letters threatening a lawsuit and whatnot. I believe in equality and if kids should be allowed to wear shirts that support GSAs then kids should be allowed to voice their weakness and homophobia about it. Let them face the consequences later on.

    All we are doing is feeding more fuel for the anti-gay activists' fire and fundraising abilities.

    Posted by: Jose S. | Dec 16, 2011 1:11:35 PM

  11. Tommy:

    And yet, the Supreme Court has never quite seen it your way. When dealing with First Amendment issues, the "social value" of any particular speech is irrelevant.

    And on a policy level, I don't think we should be telling kids how to think at all. We can mandate that they be civil to one another, but I don't think it's the proper power of the school to tell people how to think on social issues. Everyone should be allowed to make up their minds for themselves.

    Tommy, you alluded to that, but somehow I think that you only want people to "shut the hell up" and think for themselves if they disagree with you.

    Posted by: Jack | Dec 16, 2011 1:15:51 PM

  12. freedom of speech (especially discrimination) should be limited in schools. This is a school not a street corner. Jack, I'm sorry that you cant see the difference. Students at a high school should be free to express discrimination off campus. By your logic any speech, including hate speech is ok. We could have students with shirts promoting anti jewish view, or a slavery is ok shirt. It is incredibly naive to say all speech is ok in a highschool setting. Get real. Also yes a student who says christian bigots are stupid in class should be repremanded as well. Any speech that promotes intollerance in a class setting, shouldnt be allowed.

    Posted by: Bryce Ageno | Dec 16, 2011 1:25:02 PM

  13. "the conferate flag, which is a representation of hate and bigotry"

    Hardly any white Southerners would see it that way--instead, they would see the Confederate flag as part of their heritage.

    Is the American flag a "symbol of oppression and colonialism" because it represents the country that undertook the Vietnam war and a country that had codified racial segregation for decades? And should it therefore be banned, as well?

    Is the Italian flag a symbol of Fascism, racism, and bigotry because it flew over Mussolini's Italy and should it therefore be banned, too?

    Posted by: Rick | Dec 16, 2011 1:27:47 PM

  14. For the same reason why you are not able to do it in the workplace. Unless you work for an organization that promotes intolerance. School is a place to learn, not a place to make your intolerance known to everyone. Tolerance hurts no one.

    Posted by: Bryce Ageno | Dec 16, 2011 1:30:53 PM

  15. The student made it clear what his flag represented. Hate and intolerance.

    Posted by: Bryce Ageno | Dec 16, 2011 1:33:23 PM

  16. By your logic rick, why not wear a nazi flag?

    Posted by: Bryce Ageno | Dec 16, 2011 1:35:54 PM

  17. Bryce:

    1) Work is a private entity. School is not. It is run by the government, and therefore there are restrictions on what they can and cannot do. If you don't like that, enroll your kids in private schools.

    2) Freedom of speech is already somewhat limited in public schools. And no, those limits cannot be based on viewpoint. That's the law, and that's what will help continue to protect our freedoms.

    And I think you miss out on a crucial distinction. This kid does not sound like he just randomly stood up and said "I don't like gays." He was responding to the fact that a teacher censored another student's viewpoint, by saying "you say he can't wear this because you don't agree with it, but I don't agree with what you are wearing so maybe you shouldn't be allowed to wear it either."

    Which is exactly the point I've been making. Freedom restricted on the grounds of authority disagreeing with it is all well and good, until the authority disagrees with what YOU say and then your freedom is limited.

    The student (as misguided as his beliefs are) actually made an extremely valid point.

    Posted by: Jack | Dec 16, 2011 1:38:18 PM

  18. To equate the Confederate Flag with the Rainbow Flag is absurd. The Confederate flag is a symbol of an enemy of United States of America, albeit a vanquished enemy, but an enemy nonetheless sworn to the destruction of the Union and therefore it's flag should not be displayed either as a flag, t-shirt, belt buckle etc unless of course the individual supports the destruction of the Union but then we have a whole different set of issues to contend with.

    Posted by: NwYrkr | Dec 16, 2011 1:43:55 PM

  19. Schools are not restricted from stopping intolerance speech. He was kicked out of the class because of what he said about Supporting gay people not because of his belt. The kids point about the belt is valid, as I dont see that sign as hateful, but there needs to be limits. If it were a nazi flag, that shouldnt be allowed. Your argument is about free speech that is normally prootected in a oublic square, a school isn't the same thing.

    Posted by: Bryce Ageno | Dec 16, 2011 1:49:33 PM

  20. those that can't understand a bigoted and ignorant
    "rebuttal" to calls for Equality are lacking in intellectual discernment.

    this kid's mother is an idiot. her son's "religious beliefs" have not been trounced - his bigotry has been called out, and hers has been revealed.

    Posted by: Little Kiwi | Dec 16, 2011 1:51:30 PM

  21. For those saying the flag is a source out southern pride, I can guarantee that it's racism based in this hotbed of kkk activity.

    Posted by: 48843 | Dec 16, 2011 1:56:22 PM

  22. If his mommy's THAT religious than why the f*ck doesn't she put him in catholic school than?!?

    Posted by: evolutionisfact | Dec 16, 2011 2:02:17 PM

  23. Posting on my cell, so many typos...

    Posted by: Bryce Ageno | Dec 16, 2011 2:07:57 PM

  24. There has to be some give and take on both sides at school. I think the school should allow GSA's and movements but not require that people participate if they don't want to. The teacher I think opened the door, should have left it alone. Getting belt boy in the minority is how we move forward. I think the school is going to have a hard time with this one and that will hurt us overall

    Posted by: George M | Dec 16, 2011 2:21:24 PM

  25. First, off, I don't believe for a second that the lawyers's summary of events is anything but creative paraphrases to cloud what the scene really looked like.
    The gullible reader is led to think the kid he's representing made a politely-worded comment like, "I know that respect for everyone is the right thing to do, but unfortunately my religious leaders won't give me communion if I support equal rights."
    My guess is that the reason the kid was sent out had more to do with the disrespectful way he was no doubt speaking to the teacher and class than with his religious affiliation.
    Imagine a kid is chewing gum. The teacher says, "Please don't chew gum in here.". The kid says "Screw you, jerk, I'll pop bubbles all day and my mom knows a lawyer who'll sew your ass.".
    So when the kid is suspended, it it only because the poor thing was doing nothing but forgetting he had some gum in his mouth? No.
    A lot of kids treat teachers with the same incivility that they treat other students, and I suspect that's what really happened here.

    Also, there is. HUGE difference between a statement or symbol in support of civility and kindness toward everyone versus a comment or symbol AGAINST one category of classmates.
    My guess is that if a kid had worn a T-shirt with a crucifix with a slash through it that said "Catholics don't deserve to live freely among us," he'd have been asked to put his sweater on.

    Posted by: Gregv | Dec 16, 2011 2:24:49 PM

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