1. Paul R says

    I’m guessing that if the district has any ethics (a big if, I admit), this principal will be suspended in short order. Who would support this sort of punishment? Certainly not gay rights or antigay organizations, so that leaves no one.

  2. Pete N SFO says

    SRSLY… how do get to remain that f’n stoopid and still be a principal of a school?

    I know a lot of educators these days and none of them is dim. AZ must really be a wasteland.

  3. jakeinlove says

    Regardless of what viewpoint you come from, this punishment is ridiculous. Outside of the weather, and my job, I really think AZ is off it’s f’n rocker.

  4. Markus says

    @Keith: No Keith, actually I wouldn’t have surprised if it were a hate crime or bullying of other short but having a Principal involved in something as pathetically childish as asking for holding hands and questioning if they were gay or faggot it just bitterly sad and shameful.

    P.S.: I might be surprised because I didn’t know about the Arizona thingy as I, never in my life, have visited the States. My country is obviously not as modern as the States in a number of aspects but to be honest, we share a much higher degree of human compassion that the ones in the relatively modernized state of Arizona. And here, a Principal of a good School could never be so evil that’s why I found it really weird.

  5. Ken says

    So two guys fight and the principal makes them hold hands for 15 minutes. Other than the mocking for “being gay” the other kids heaped upono them (which should have been stopped) this sounds like a good lesson, to make peace and make up, even forcibly. No?

  6. Mike in the Tundra says

    @Markus – you don’t live in the U.S.? Why were you so invested in the last presidential election? You were positive that Romney was going to win in the same manner as Reagan. Why would you have such an interest in the elections of other countries than your own? I can understand a passing interest, but your interest wasn’t passing. I wish I could see your IP address.

  7. Bill says

    @Markus: the principle did not ask them if they were gay – that was the behavior of their peers. It’s possible that these two were spending the rest of the time pushing the other students around, hence the reaction towards them, but such details have not been reported in what I’ve read so far.

  8. says

    My first thought was perhaps the principal knew something about them that others do not, i.e. their fighting was indicative of an erotic attraction. My second thought was that if these guys were cool and wanted to get the principal back, they would have hugged and done some open mouth kissing. My third thought is that as flawed as this punishment is it just might open up many possibilities of discussion on many levels.

  9. UFFDA says

    Hard to do at their age, but if these boys had any self-confidence and style they would hold hands with aplomb, uplifted smiling or bored faces and mutual bad mouthing with their audience. I wouldn’t go so far as kissing (typical gay overkill) but calm in the face of the storm might have worked as well as it was worn. I think it’s funny, even kind of charming.

  10. Francis says

    Mesa, Arizona is one of the more Mormon cities in the United States, is extremely red, and most people in the city appear to agree with the “punishment” that they view two men holding hands as being.

    If this week has been a reminder of anything, it’s that it’s the same people, cultures, and the same areas, where nothing has changed in terms of homophobia. This incident, the South Lyon incident, Rick Warren denigrating us again on national TV, Mallory Owens bashing, the ignorant TCU Christian hick Tank Carder and the NFL’s lack of response. We’ve made a lot of progress. But there clearly is a lot of work to do throughout many regions and many careers where homophobia continues to reign supreme.

  11. Matthew says

    I think the punishment is just fine – if you’re going to act like children and fight; act like men and settle your differences and hold hands! The principal didn’t have poor judgment, the ridiculing students did. The is a good way for conflict/resolution. There is NOTHING sexual about this – when did we equate holding an enemy’s hand to butt sex? This country has to grow up.

  12. CeeJaye says

    Pretty savvy move by the principal IMO. As punishment for fighting, he made these two boys look like they were gay for each other. If that were me, I would have taken the suspension.

  13. Paul R says

    Are the comments defending this punishment being posted by the principal? The guys got in a fight. Big deal. So the principal tried to make them look like big homos for their crime, then allowed their peers to mock them. And you think that’s appropriate?

    Ever heard of detention, suspension, or myriad other remedies that aren’t suspiciously antigay? What is the point of forced hand holding?

  14. Mike B. says

    It wouldn’t be a big deal if this were routine punishment. And maybe it should be a routine punishment for fighting. The mockery of fellow students should be kept in line, however; although I do think the taunting itself would be reduced if this punishment more commonplace.

  15. cbhermey says

    Shows how repressed we are as a society. Obviously ‘kiss and make up’ can’t be administered..but I think the Principal did just fine. The kids need to grow up.

    In Colonial times public humiliation was considered apt punishment for infractions and minor misdemeanors. Can’t say that I fault that line of thinking… I’m sure both those boys will think twice or maybe even three times before fighting again..

  16. Fahd says

    So someone decides to speak out against an antigay act by calling it “retarded”.

    FU @ StudioTodd and his fellow ignoramuses.

    As for the School District, they need to do more than denounce. They need to take an immediate employment action…suspension leading to due process and termination.

  17. Sabian says

    I think it’s pretty funny actually. What I especially like about this story are the laughing kids taunting them with gay comments. Everyone is so quick to say that young people today are so gay-friendly, then stories like this come along and contradict that notion.

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  19. Paul R says

    What drugs are some of you taking? Yeah, great, let’s go back to colonial times! Things were perfect then! And sure, let’s encourage antigay mockery! What could be wrong with that?

    Oh wait, you’re just idiots.

  20. Michael says

    This is bad punishment, through and through.

    What makes it particular egregious is the fact they were made to endure this awful idea in a very public way–in front of their peers, who the court knew would come down hard on them, just as they did. While I still would have disagreed, a far more appropriate idea would have been to have the boys do this in a private (but supervised) setting.

    Publicly shaming these two young guys simply gives everyone who knows them plenty of ammo to further taunt them, which in turn will inflame their own inner thoughts and feeling, that’ll lead to who knows what level of what can be nothing but unwanted outcomes.

  21. J L says

    It’s weird to me that in this nation the fighting part is “no big deal,” but god forbid they hold hands in public. Oh my god, the shame of actually having to hold hands!

    They had a choice, suspension or holding hands. For 15 minutes. What’s the big frickin’ deal? This society is so backwards that it’s shameful…

  22. Stefan says

    Sue the school? Seriously?

    First, the boys CHOSE THE PUNISHMENT. Read the story, as one of the earlier comments said. Second, if you were fighting with someone it would be very embarrassing to hold hands with that person, regardless of gender, orientation, etc. Sure, maybe the principal was motivated by the same “ewww, gay is so bad that’s the ultimate punishment, mwahahaha” animus as the students engaged in mocking. But good luck getting inside his head and proving it. He can just say that public embarrassment is a common form of punishment, and holding hands with someone you don’t like in front of students is embarrassing.

    What’s the legal action going to be here? You can’t say false imprisonment, because they chose it, it was 15 minutes, and suspensions of a much longer and more constrained type are commonly allowed. It’s not infliction of emotional distress because being embarrassed is not enough, and the fact they chose the punishment undercuts the claim (if something is that distressing, why would you choose it?). No hate speech. No battery. No….anything, as far as I can see. If you find the principal guilty of who knows what in this case, you’re opening the door to lawsuits every time kids feel embarrassed by a punishment and get teased.

    I hope the ACLU doesn’t waste too much time, if any, on this.

  23. Michaelandfred says

    I’d like to know what they were being punished for. “If” it was for harassing others students, or taunting students with anti gay abuse, then this actually might be an appropriate punishment. Then they get some back from the rest of the student body and taught a lesson in ridicule and bullying and helplessness when faced with overwhelming odds.

    “If” it’s punishment for something else and the “punishment” is the supposed embarrassment of being gay or assumed to be so, it’s so out of line words barely begin to do it justice.

    I’d like to have the story fleshed out further so we actually know what was done and what was the intention of the principal. If they really wanted to punish them, whatever the offense, they should have forced them to eat the school food.

  24. Michaelandfred says

    Or I could read properly….. Time for a second cup of coffee. Ridiculous punishment for fighting. Just shows how backwards Arizona is. If this was New York or California the two would be laughing at how easy they got off.

  25. bill miller says

    This could and should have been handled differently. If the kids were gay or straight, lovers’ quarrel or just fighting for some stupid reason. Taunting is bullying, this principal is a bully for putting them out in a public place. Shake hands and talk the issue out and be done with it! This show by the principal and the taunting will only reinforce disdain for homosexual persons, in my opinion.

  26. Jim Brown says

    The “Principal” should be punished by being forced to stand in public, and be photographed, as trying to act like a “Human Being”. Criminal charges should be brought against him or her.

  27. anon says

    Essentially a contemporary version of the stocks. They were savvy enough to hide their faces in the age of Facebook and Twitter. Legally this is somewhat like a plea bargain, though being underage a lawyer could argue they could not understand the full implications of their decision.

  28. NeverEclipsed81 says

    I can’t wait to see NOM jump on this. This is way worse than anything they’ve ever jumped on before. Only problem, this principal doesn’t seem to be pro gay. Have fun guys.

  29. Francis says

    The fact about 40% of people here are defending this in any way is actually compelling me to punch my computer.

    It’s not about the punishment itself which can be considered, potentially, as clever. Maybe. But no. When the intent is public embarrassment, then there is a severe problem. It’s beyond clear the intent here was public shaming, using homosexuality as the device. That is sick and appalling.

  30. UFFDA says

    Can you imagine how James Franco would have handled this? He would have leaned back with a big grin, blown a kiss or two at his in-hand partner, flashed his black eyes and laughed his head off. ‘Nuff said.

  31. M. Scott Hernandez says

    Sick. Just kidding! Their parents will go bat sh#@ crazy with the school, end up on the news and announce they plan to sue everyone, including the janitors.

  32. says

    I am exiled in Arizona while the SigO finishes a degree. We live in Tempe, which borders Mesa. That means we have a daily context for the homophobia and general ambiance of bigotry here. Mesa is also in the same county as Sheriff Joe Arpaio, who forces his prisoners to wear pink (including pink handcuffs)—for the specific intention of humiliating them. He’s also painted all the cell walls pink. And here’s a quote from the UK Guardian, so you get an outside perspective: “But there is also an unusual element to Arpaio’s punitive ideals. For years now, he has been forcing male inmates to wear pink underwear in a deliberate attempt to humiliate them. Their towels, socks and sweaters are also pink. Every so often, the pink-clad prisoners are marched through the streets of Phoenix, so the city’s residents can bask in their humiliation.”

    “Arpaio claims his pink underwear tactics are all about reducing crime and saving taxpayer money. Unfortunately, it seems they are achieving neither. A 2009 report by the conservative Goldwater Institute found that not only has violent crime gone up in Maricopa County (homicides alone increased 166% between 2004 and 2007). So, too, have costs. The combination of budget overruns, overtime payments and the millions of dollars in settlements paid out to plaintiffs who sued for wrongful arrest and detention have made a mockery of the sheriff’s claims that he is saving his constituents money.”

    As pointed out in the original source, while the two young men tried to keep their faces covered while their peers posted photos (like the one on Towleroad) to their facebook pages, they all knew the boys’ names and could post face pictures on their facebook posts to accompany the “shaming one.” But I’m also missing a lot of the realization of people making comments on here of what message this sends to actual LGBT kids who attend that school and who aren’t out. They get a free preview of the attitudes of their fellow students.

    I’m also a Family Therapist, and after the outbreak of youth suicide around a year ago over having one’s sexual orientation—or even more importantly-one’s PERCEIVED sexual orientation—being made public, I actually worry about the potential harm this has caused the two young men, as well as the “not out” LGBT students at that school.

    While I’m aware of the statement the youths were “given a choice” of suspension or this (in the context of Mormon Mesa) public shaming, having worked with school districts as a consultant for years, I am very aware of how a principal can make a choice “not a choice.” For that matter, since the mid-1990s, Sheriff Arpaio has reinstated public chain gangs of both male and female prisoners who are paraded around in their pink outfits, and Arpaio states they’re “volunteers,” but if you check news sources, “volunteering” means it’s that or losing “privileges” such as food.

  33. Bill Michael says

    Oh gosh, I thought they had gotten into trouble for being caught Holding Hands. You know, I agree with the writer that said, it made things look like it was a bad thing for two males to hold hands. Furthermore, what was the fight over? Was it a lover’s quarrel? And that Bright Pink Shirt? Good Lord, the mileage one can get out of this one… Umm, umm, ummm.

  34. tv appearances next? says

    So now they have something to bond over. Not as cute as dog shaming, but still amusing.

    If you look at that pic and think it’s anti-gay you may be seeing your own personal baggage more than the reality of it.

    The fact that they are doing it, holding hands that is, means they don’t see it as such a big deal and the two of them can’t be all that homophobic.

  35. andrew says

    I think that the principal made a good call. The two boys were using their hands to hurt one another in a fight. Instead of suspending them ( which really is a few days vacation from school) he allowed them to choose holding hands for 15 min in public. You know, kiss and make up. Except he didn’t make them kiss. This of course causes all the professional gays who are always looking for signs of homophobia to go nuts. Who cares what these constant cry babies think? Not me thats for sure!!!

  36. OldBaldGuy says

    Public humiliation and shaming is NOT EVER an appropriate consequence. Allowing the student body to taunt and jeer as a part of the punishment (REGARDLESS of the content of their words) is NOT EVER an appropriate consequence. Furthermore, setting up the students for continued humiliation by making it a YouTube-able event is NOT EVER an appropriate consequence. For ANYTHING, EVER.

    Suspension for the principal? No. Firing is the appropriate consequence.

  37. Phil says

    Oh no, the two fighting boys had to hold hands in public. Big freaking deal. In my day the option (if given) would have been 5 to 10 hard swats with a paddle in front of the entire class or school or … perhaps 10 to 20 hours cleaning the building after school was over. This was nothing.

  38. Sergio says

    i think that we should stop searching for homophobia everywhere, i mean this is just a creative punishmentabout having two peoplo who cant stand themselves so being together holding hands it’s a punishmente because they don’t like to spent time together, not because some stupid people think they are gay

  39. boshi says

    the punishment is right…. so to all people who are in war… come over here and hold you hands together!

    its not bullying, since fighting was the bullying root cause…

    im sorry at first, i was overreacting… now i know the principal is right!

  40. Philippe V says

    The pushishment itself is not homophobic. Taking one’s hand for long to solve personal problems between two people that were fighting each other, also solves the problem of their use of violence and exposure of this violence to solve their problems.

    But the homphobic attitude of the school is to tolerate homphobic words sent to them by the other students. But the first level of homophobia comes from these other students (that the school should also have punished).

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