Wednesday, May 02, 2007

Update on Two Girls Kissing

Here in Washington State (where I live), there was a protest this week over the fact that two girls kissing the lunchroom were recorded on a surveilance camera, the tape of which was then shown to the girl's parents.
As many as four dozen students risked an unexcused absence to call attention to what they said was discrimination against lesbian students.

Some called for Keith Nelson, the dean of students, to be fired for showing the video to the parents of one of the girls in February. The parents of that girl, a junior, withdrew her from school. She’s now attending at a campus outside the district.

The other girl, senior Jenna Johnson, said she organized Monday’s event.

“I hope it sends a message across that people shouldn’t discriminate on sexual preference,” said Johnson, a 17-year-old who still attends the school. “People should love you for who you are.”
Today we learn that the dean who did the privacy-violating has, in fact, been reassigned, though, interestingly, the district is being very cagey about whether or not it is due to his recent actions.

What I found most intersting/depressing/illuminating was the dean's comment:
“The real story is this – do parents have the right to know what happens at school? And do parents have the right to know what type of activities their child is involved in at school? Of course they do,” he wrote in the e-mail.
Actually, this isn't the real story.

Look, I don't know how many times I'm going to have to say it: if you have a law, rule, or policy, it must be enforced consistently, for all people. If you only enforce it for one group of people--say, GLBTQ students--but not for straight students, well, that's the very essence of discrimination. You know, treating two groups in an unequal way?

So I ask the school: how many times have videotapes of heterosexual students kissing in the lunchroom been shown to their parents? What's that? Never?

I honestly don't see what's so hard about this. What do people think discrimination is anyway?

In a related story of gay panic, a school flips out when a journalism advisor allows a student to write an editorial advocating tolerance of gays. Apparently, that idea is so terribly "controversial" that it showed bad judgement when the advistor did not notify the principal in advance. The advisor was originally slated to be fired--fired!--over this "infaction," but may now keep teaching at another school. But:
"The school administration has said in no uncertain terms that she's not going to be given a journalism position," Proctor said.
Oh, God, no, not that.


Blogger Mary Hershey said...

Brent, thanks for your post and the links to this story. Hard to believe... but, do keep on saying it, a and don't give up. The learning curve on what constitutes discrination does seem endless. Wow.


7:14 PM  
Blogger chelsea said...

I heard quite a bit on that tolerance editorial and the ensuing madness. The journalism teacher was defended ferociously at school board meetings, and the supporters were silenced.

When the parents asked to speak on the matter during the allotted time when the public was allowed to express concerns to the school board, they were asked to leave if they mentioned the teacher or the class at all.


8:15 PM  

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