Ever since the brutal and despicable murder of Matthew Sheppard in1998, a gay college student from the University of Wyoming, there has been a push in America to ban any speech that might offend, be offensive, or might be construed as anti-gay, in the work place, in the public square and in public schools.
Young Dakota Ary learned this lesson the hardest way possible one day when he uttered that phrase at school in his German class. His teacher happened to overhear the statement. For Dakota’s lack of understanding and compassion toward what has essentially come to be a government protected, and coddled, class of people, he was sent to the principal’s office where justice was done upon him, much to the horror and disbelief of his mother, in the form of a one day in school suspension, plus two days of full suspension. (That was later dropped after an attorney with Liberty Counsel intervened on Dakota’s behalf.)
Dakota is not alone. Many other students have endured such a fate as he, and this type of over reactionary measure awaits anyone, nowadays, who would dare to have an opinion that seeks to upend the liberally controlled public school system. Even within the work place and the public square itself – the epitome of free speech, hate crimes advocates and lawyers are closing in and narrowing the definition of free speech.
Naturally it is one thing entirely for a public school, and a teacher in that public school, to want to enforce rules and standards, and to be actively monitoring what children are saying in his/her classroom, looking out for inappropriate speech or speech that might lead to the physical injury of another person.
But let’s be realistic. If Dakota had been learning about Christianity, say that of the 16th or 17th century, how religious dissension in that era had plunged Europe into many wars and struggles, and after hearing about all the blood shed and death of so many people, had he formed an opinion from that lecture, turned to his class mate and said, “Christianity is wrong”, does anyone really believe that, in today’s public school, Dakota would be punished with school suspension, or punished at all, for his lack of sensitivity toward Christianity?
Check out the “Bong hits for Jesus” t-shirt controversy. Denigrating Christianity in public schools is far more protected, far more commonplace (and more common coming from teachers themselves rather than the students) and upheld by judges as free speech, than a simple, albeit, perhaps unintentionally hurtful remark, as “I think homosexuality is wrong”. It was a private thought Dakota made to a classmate not in any way meant to be hurtful or to promote an agenda. Rather, it was an aside that his teacher overheard and took way out of context.
In this same article it is stated how this very teacher of Dakota’s had once put up a picture of two men kissing on his classroom wall. Very clearly, then, it is Dakota’s teacher, not Dakota himself, who is pushing an agenda. But if it is a pro homosexual agenda then that is protected.
We have seen the vitriol, controversy and the double standard every time a proposal is brought forth to put up the Ten Commandments in a public school. The people who cry bigotry for what they perceive to be anti-gay rhetoric are the same people who are quick to oppose the Ten Commandments in any public school out of a manufactured fear of insensitivity to the other students who might not be Christian and therefore offended or belittled by having to walk past such a religious placard.
But this is just more of the same anti-religious runaround that has wedged itself into the public school system for the passed fifty years.
Public schools should not be places where children are made to feel ashamed of who they are, whether they are gay or Christian. Nor should they be places where children are indoctrinated by their teachers who have ulterior agendas and motives counter to the purpose of public education and to that of their community at large.
Rather, school should be a place where children are properly instructed in facts; historical, scientific, mathematical, grammar, etc. They should also be a place where students are free to form opinions and ideas on their own, even if they might be uncomfortable to others, including homosexuality and religion, so long as these opinions and ideas are of a constructive, not a destructive, nature.
Just as a public school would never demand a student check their homosexuality at the door before they enter, neither should they demand a student check his or her religion at the door.
Right now, in America, as is evidenced in this latest anti-religious fervor involving Dakota Ary, we have a long way yet to go in ensuring that all students have the same rights, not just a select few. And until local communities are better able to take back their own public schools from errant school boards and rogue teachers, gain more control and secure more of a say in these institutions which their property taxes are funding, it will continue to remain an uphill battle.
- Open Doors and Closed Minds by Mike Adams (trinityspeaks.wordpress.com)
- Controversy and Outrage about a Public High School Assembly (newsfeedoftoday.wordpress.com)
- The New/Old Hate Target (katharinetrauger.wordpress.com)