Comments

  1. Jack says

    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.

  2. Bryce Ageno says

    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.

  3. Jack says

    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.

  4. Steve says

    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

  5. Rick says

    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.

  6. Jack says

    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?

  7. MarkR says

    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.

  8. tommy says

    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!!

  9. Jose S. says

    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.

  10. Jack says

    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.

  11. Bryce Ageno says

    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.

  12. Rick says

    “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?

  13. Bryce Ageno says

    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.

  14. Jack says

    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.

  15. NwYrkr says

    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.

  16. Bryce Ageno says

    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.

  17. says

    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.

  18. George M says

    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

  19. Gregv says

    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.

  20. Rrhain says

    Ah, yes…I see the trolls are here with the whine that refusal to accept intolerance is somehow intolerant. They want bigots to define what bigotry is so they can claim to be oppressed victims when nobody is actually doing anything to them.

    You have a right to practice your religion…just not on other people. If you don’t like gay people, that’s perfectly fine. But here at school, where there will be gay people, you are not allowed to impose that attitude of yours on others because the gay people need to be here, too. If your religious beliefs are such that you are incapable of being around gay people who are not being actively demonized for their mere existence, then you have no place in the public square.

    Liberty requires responsibility and the cost for you being allowed to retain your liberty is that you must provide the same respect to other that you demand for yourself.

    This whine that the “far right and the far left are the same in their intolerance” would be risible were it not for the fact that people actually believe that hogwash. It’s as if people think that there is a right to do others harm and being prevented from harming others is somehow a burden on the one causing the trouble.

    Your right to free speech does not come with a right to an audience.

  21. James UK says

    I very much doubt that this kid’s mother is funding this law suit personally. She is, I suspect, a bigot who is protecting her handiwork in turning her son into a bigot.

    Of course the purpose in suing the teacher personally as well as the school – and the Thomas More Law Centre is a right wing Catholic outfit – is to encourage teachers NOT to challenge homophobia and to pass by on the other side when they see homophobic bullying. Their preference is for queers to be in the closet or six feet under.

    It might be useful for her to feel the power of free speech with pickets and signs with her name on, calling her what she is, where she lives and works and shops.

    She and her son have the right to say whatever they want(except shouting fire in a crowded theatre, of course) but free speech means free from government sanction. It does not mean free of any and all consequences. She deserves public ridicule and shame.

  22. An Easy Test says

    There’s an easy test to see if these guys are serious about “free speech rights.” (They rarely are).

    Would the organization suing in this matter also have defended the rights of a student who replied to the plaintiff’s anti-gay speech by stating “my personal beliefs are that you represent a dehumanizing superstitious cult responsible for numerous crimes against children?”

    More than likely, the answer is “no,” and the plaintiff’s would call for such a statement to be punished. That’s the “double standard” you see so often — people want to deign themselves a special exemption from rules governing speech, while having them harshly enforced against those with whom they disagree (or dislike).

    I’m all about free speech. In fact, I think it would be what deals with the situation most effectively. The reality is that neither the ossified education system nor the religious groups seeking unlimited free speech for themselves and complete censorship for others would support such a move.

  23. Mk_Ultra_Again says

    The school has a right and a duty to limit distractions and provide a safe and healthy educational environment. Wearing a shirt stating that you’re proud of who you are is one thing. Wearing one that disparages, mocks, or puts down other students is another and clearly a violation of this. If you come to school to attack your fellow students, you have not right to be there.

  24. says

    The nerve of this woman… Since their Bible promotes slavery, when will it become ‘religious discrimination’ when a student is suspended for calling black kids “n*ggers” ???

    These religious loons had better watch themselves before they get too far over their heads….

  25. MikeH says

    @BRYCE – hit the nail on the head. This is a school, not a public square. There is a difference between teaching tolerance and teaching bigotry. Also, he wasn’t kicked out of school – he was just asked to leave the class. As someone else pointed out, this is just the antigay, hate industry manufacturing yet another story about how they are being prevented from their bigoted, hate filled agenda. Ridiculous!

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