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Mon Dec 3, 2012, 09:06 PM

 

School Encourages Homophobic Humiliation as Student Punishment

An Arizona principal made two boys hold hands in the school courtyard to 'teach them a lesson.'

Two Arizona high school students who were caught fighting faced a controversial punishment concocted by their principal: Either endure a suspension, or sit in the school courtyard holding hands while other students shout and throw homophobic slurs at you.

The message here seems to be that there’s nothing more horrific than being perceived as gay.

Student Brittney Smyers told ABC 15, "Kids were laughing at them and calling them names, asking, 'Are you gay?' ”

http://www.takepart.com/article/2012/12/02/school-encourages-homophobic-humiliation-student-punishment

65 replies, 3720 views

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Arrow 65 replies Author Time Post
Reply School Encourages Homophobic Humiliation as Student Punishment (Original post)
michigandem58 Dec 2012 OP
muntrv Dec 2012 #1
agent46 Dec 2012 #3
Big Richard Dec 2012 #10
Big Richard Dec 2012 #11
burrowowl Dec 2012 #57
Ken Burch Dec 2012 #2
AverageJoe90 Dec 2012 #7
Ken Burch Dec 2012 #8
Swede Atlanta Dec 2012 #4
Ken Burch Dec 2012 #5
Brickbat Dec 2012 #6
msongs Dec 2012 #9
Quantess Dec 2012 #16
obamanut2012 Dec 2012 #55
Quantess Dec 2012 #59
proud2BlibKansan Dec 2012 #21
Care Acutely Dec 2012 #40
proud2BlibKansan Dec 2012 #43
Democracyinkind Dec 2012 #51
Dark n Stormy Knight Dec 2012 #54
msanthrope Dec 2012 #61
Dark n Stormy Knight Dec 2012 #63
msanthrope Dec 2012 #64
Dark n Stormy Knight Dec 2012 #65
joeybee12 Dec 2012 #42
proud2BlibKansan Dec 2012 #44
gollygee Dec 2012 #50
msanthrope Dec 2012 #15
Dark n Stormy Knight Dec 2012 #53
msanthrope Dec 2012 #60
Dark n Stormy Knight Dec 2012 #62
joeybee12 Dec 2012 #41
Jeff In Milwaukee Dec 2012 #12
progree Dec 2012 #13
Quantess Dec 2012 #14
HiPointDem Dec 2012 #17
progree Dec 2012 #31
AlexSatan Dec 2012 #18
progree Dec 2012 #19
proud2BlibKansan Dec 2012 #22
progree Dec 2012 #28
proud2BlibKansan Dec 2012 #45
FreeState Dec 2012 #29
proud2BlibKansan Dec 2012 #30
progree Dec 2012 #32
FreeState Dec 2012 #33
proud2BlibKansan Dec 2012 #46
AlexSatan Dec 2012 #49
FreeState Dec 2012 #56
AlexSatan Dec 2012 #58
proud2BlibKansan Dec 2012 #20
progree Dec 2012 #24
proud2BlibKansan Dec 2012 #25
progree Dec 2012 #26
proud2BlibKansan Dec 2012 #47
Voice for Peace Dec 2012 #34
Brickbat Dec 2012 #27
FreeState Dec 2012 #35
CBGLuthier Dec 2012 #48
progree Dec 2012 #23
hack89 Dec 2012 #36
progree Dec 2012 #37
hack89 Dec 2012 #39
Ligyron Dec 2012 #38
closeupready Dec 2012 #52

Response to michigandem58 (Original post)

Mon Dec 3, 2012, 09:08 PM

1. Do neanderthals rule AZ?

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Response to muntrv (Reply #1)

Mon Dec 3, 2012, 09:17 PM

3. There is no evidence

Last edited Mon Dec 3, 2012, 10:12 PM - Edit history (1)

that Neanderthals suffered from endemic homophobia or practiced cruelty as a form of socialization. In many ways, they may have been superior to our own species. Science is fun!

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Response to muntrv (Reply #1)

Mon Dec 3, 2012, 11:07 PM

10. how about a curriculum update

[link:#!|

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Response to muntrv (Reply #1)

Mon Dec 3, 2012, 11:21 PM

11. this is a public service message from AZ

[link:|

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Response to Big Richard (Reply #11)

Tue Dec 4, 2012, 07:58 PM

57. My God! Thanks for the posts!

Was this the late fifties?

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Response to michigandem58 (Original post)

Mon Dec 3, 2012, 09:11 PM

2. on CRIMINAL MINDS, the BAU team would call this treatment "a trigger"

since it would probably have led to the crimes committed by the "unsub" they were profiling that week.

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Response to Ken Burch (Reply #2)

Mon Dec 3, 2012, 10:27 PM

7. Cue the mandatory Spencer Reid lecture!

Damn, I love that show....haven't watched it in months, though.

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Response to AverageJoe90 (Reply #7)

Mon Dec 3, 2012, 10:30 PM

8. It's still good...and Garcia is STILL all that!

n/t.

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Response to michigandem58 (Original post)

Mon Dec 3, 2012, 09:26 PM

4. And people wonder why LGBT youth kill themselves or suffer from low self-esteem....

 

This principal should be fired and prevented, by court order, from ever working in a job that involves interacting with or supervising children.

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Response to michigandem58 (Original post)

Mon Dec 3, 2012, 10:16 PM

5. If those teens end up committing homophobic violence, the school should be sued for helping cause it

n/t.

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Response to michigandem58 (Original post)

Mon Dec 3, 2012, 10:25 PM

6. A few DUers thought this was just fine a few days ago.

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Response to Brickbat (Reply #6)

Mon Dec 3, 2012, 10:35 PM

9. lots of closet bullies on DU nt

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Response to msongs (Reply #9)

Tue Dec 4, 2012, 04:23 AM

16. Just an idea,

The way the other article was presented, made it less obvious that the boys were being taunted for being gay as they held hands. It is entirely possible that the homophobic angle did not enter the DUers minds at first glance.

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Response to Quantess (Reply #16)

Tue Dec 4, 2012, 07:09 PM

55. Why else have them hold hands?

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Response to obamanut2012 (Reply #55)

Wed Dec 5, 2012, 05:10 AM

59. No, I meant the other article presented the event differently.

This article directly states that it encouraged homophobic taunts. The other article did not say that directly. So, for a DUer to have that escape them, is maybe not worth calling DUer "homophobic bullies" over, just because that part failed to compute.

You know as well as I do that the way media presents things goes a long way in how people perceive it.

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Response to msongs (Reply #9)

Tue Dec 4, 2012, 12:23 PM

21. I'm a closet bully because I don't see a problem with this discipline?

Would I be a closet dropout encourager if I said I'd rather see them suspended?

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Response to proud2BlibKansan (Reply #21)

Tue Dec 4, 2012, 01:40 PM

40. Given the fact that you yourself forced kids to do this, I'd

be inclined to say yes - at least on this matter.

I hope you can be open to the idea that what you did was wrong, because it was. Change has to begin inside of each of us.

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Response to Care Acutely (Reply #40)

Tue Dec 4, 2012, 03:27 PM

43. No it wasn't wrong.

As soon as you have an education degree, you are free to advise me on how to handle discipline in my classroom. Until then your advice means nothing.

A couple things to keep in mind. First of all, the kids chose this punishment. That fact has been left out of this discussion. Secondly, I have stated more than once that I did this with 1st graders. And never once has any other student called the kids involved gay. If they had you can rest assured I would have corrected them. I have never allowed my students to call each other names. No good teacher allows that. Also good teachers don't allow kids to fight. It's a school not a boxing arena.

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Response to proud2BlibKansan (Reply #43)

Tue Dec 4, 2012, 04:16 PM

51. Then the question is clear...


Would you advise this as a punishment for highschool?
I think you wouldn't as your last reply seems to indicate that you are sensitive to what the problematic issue is in the case currently discussed. Expressing that sentiment clearly might provide for a teachable moment in this thread... Just my 2 cents

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Response to proud2BlibKansan (Reply #43)

Tue Dec 4, 2012, 07:04 PM

54. I have master's in education, and though I wouldn't necessarily have seen this as wrong in younger

Last edited Wed Dec 5, 2012, 06:25 PM - Edit history (1)

children, I think there are some very good comments here regarding why it may not be a great idea. And I don't' think one has to have a degree in education to have a valid opinion on the matter.

I don't know enough about the circumstances of your use of this discipline technique to have a strong opinion, but as for the case described here, just look at that picture and read the articles. Clearly the idea was to humiliate these young men by making them do something that is thought to be unmanly.

And the effect on them is not the only issue here. It is the continuation of the idea that boys holding hands is wrong because it suggests homosexuality and the idea that homosexuality is wrong.

As for it being the students' choice, you've heard of the lesser of two evils, right? Whichever is chosen is still an evil. If he wants to offer an alternative to suspension, then he needs to think of another acceptable one.

Finally, as much as I think the principal needs to stop using this technique, I don't think he should be fired, as long as he stops doing it. He could announce that he will no longer use this method and use this as a "teachable moment" about the wisdom of coming to see things in a new way and about the fact that encouraging homophobia is wrong, especially in an educational environment.

As for getting people to recognize the problems with and reject the use of humiliation as a behavior management technique-- changing attitudes about homosexuality will be proven to have been a walk in the park compared to this. I won't see it in my lifetime.

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Response to Dark n Stormy Knight (Reply #54)

Wed Dec 5, 2012, 07:51 AM

61. Forcing physical contact as a punishment isn't a good idea at any age. nt

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Response to msanthrope (Reply #61)

Wed Dec 5, 2012, 06:42 PM

63. Shaking hands is a normal, socially accepted, often expected, ritual. So, I don't

incorporating touching hand to hand doesn't seem out of line, generally, to me. But if a particular child has a strong objection to it, that, yes, that needs to be accommodated.

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Response to Dark n Stormy Knight (Reply #63)

Wed Dec 5, 2012, 08:02 PM

64. These kids weren't shaking hands, were they? nt

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Response to msanthrope (Reply #64)

Wed Dec 5, 2012, 09:07 PM

65. Didn't say they were.

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Response to proud2BlibKansan (Reply #21)

Tue Dec 4, 2012, 01:52 PM

42. No, more of a closet homophobe, because you consider this punsihment appropritae...

which is telling those kids and the kids around them that being gay is not good.

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Response to joeybee12 (Reply #42)

Tue Dec 4, 2012, 03:29 PM

44. Because only gay kids hold hands?

Never knew something we see on the playground every day is a sign of gay behavior.

And YOU are calling ME a homophobe?!!

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Response to proud2BlibKansan (Reply #44)

Tue Dec 4, 2012, 03:57 PM

50. At the age of the boys in the photo

Come on. Boys that age don't hold hands with each other, and it's just encouraging the other kids to make comments about them "looking gay" and then for them to fire back with homophobic comments to prove they aren't. It's completely inappropriate and creates an environment where gay = bad.

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Response to Brickbat (Reply #6)

Tue Dec 4, 2012, 04:19 AM

15. Two teacher supporters on that thread that constantly critique the President for school reform.....

Beam, mote, eye.....

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Response to msanthrope (Reply #15)

Tue Dec 4, 2012, 06:27 PM

53. What does the privatization-friendly, teacher-bashing school reform moverment

have to do with this topic?

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Response to Dark n Stormy Knight (Reply #53)

Wed Dec 5, 2012, 07:30 AM

60. Perhaps teachers who are homophobic need reform. They sure as shit don't need tenure

keeping them secure in their jobs while they spew their anti-gay rhetoric.

For example, I read one teacher crowing about the fact that they made kids 'hold hands.' Forcing kids into contact is authoritarian, and violates personal boundaries. As the mother of a child with autism, I can tell you that my child would have reacted quite badly to being forced to touch another kids.

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Response to msanthrope (Reply #60)

Wed Dec 5, 2012, 06:36 PM

62. Tenure does not stop teachers from being fired. It protects them from indiscriminate firing.

Teachers can change and improve without the need for them to be fired as soon as they err. I am all for bad teachers being fired--it needs to be done--but what makes a teacher bad shouldn't depend on one person's opinion, whether it be a parent or an administrator. Without protections, that is exactly what would happen.

I thought of the autism angle after reading your other response to me. Teachers do need to learn more about the individual needs of those and all children, but I can tell you for a fact, to do that perfectly would take more time each day than there are hour in a day, so most of us try very hard and do the best we can.

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Response to Brickbat (Reply #6)

Tue Dec 4, 2012, 01:51 PM

41. Thanks for the link...closet homphobes on this board, too.

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Response to michigandem58 (Original post)

Mon Dec 3, 2012, 11:27 PM

12. Wrong in so many ways...

Principal should be fired, for openers, and that's not going to pre-empt the families' lawsuit.

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Response to michigandem58 (Original post)

Tue Dec 4, 2012, 04:09 AM

13. PETITION - here is the link to the signon.org petition to express your outrage

to Douchebag "Dr." Tim Richard, the principal. There's only 739 or so signatures so a little DU love will help a lot to get it over 1000.

http://signon.org/sign/dismiss-dr-tim-richard

A new petition went up on SignOn.org insisting on Richard’s dismissal for encouraging and legitimizing bullying in schools. “…this particular incident sends a clear message to gay students. It equates being gay or perceived as gay to punishment, and ranks it along side being thrown out of school. The knock-on effect of this sanctioned bullying will only serve to exacerbate the social ostracism that too many gay and lesbian students still experience in public schools.”

More: http://news.yahoo.com/school-encourages-homophobic-humiliation-student-punishment-143856690.html

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Response to michigandem58 (Original post)

Tue Dec 4, 2012, 04:13 AM

14. This makes me feel ill

and I'm not gay myself.

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Response to michigandem58 (Original post)

Tue Dec 4, 2012, 04:38 AM

17. Apparently this was the principal's decision. The school district admin condemned it.

 

The school district released its own statement condemning his choice of tactics:

“Mesa Public Schools is dedicated to maintaining a safe and supportive learning environment. The district has guidelines for appropriate student discipline and our site administrators have the authority to impose consequences within our policies and regulations.”

“The district does not condone the choice of in-school discipline given these students, regardless of their acceptance or willingness to participate. District leadership will address this matter with the school principal and review district protocol regarding student discipline with all administrators.”

http://www.takepart.com/article/2012/12/02/school-encourages-homophobic-humiliation-student-punishment

According to another article, the boys chose this rather than being suspended -- but some choice. If it was a suspending offense, then suspend them -- or make the alternative some kind of community service, like 20 hours of janitorial or something.

On closer reading it seems like the homophobic slurs were the idea of the students watching them. The principal's idea may have been just to chain the two boys who were fighting together. But the whole 'public humiliation' thing is too much whatever the intention behind it. It's like putting people in the stocks.

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Response to HiPointDem (Reply #17)

Tue Dec 4, 2012, 12:52 PM

31. If that principal is so damn clueless about what would happen, then that's a perfectly good

reason for firing him. Were you not ever in high school (or middle school)?

On closer reading it seems like the homophobic slurs were the idea of the students watching them. The principal's idea may have been just to chain the two boys who were fighting together. But the whole 'public humiliation' thing is too much whatever the intention behind it. It's like putting people in the stocks.

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Response to michigandem58 (Original post)

Tue Dec 4, 2012, 10:17 AM

18. I didn't see that as homophobic

 

When I made my daughter and son hold hands after they were fighting, was that incestophobic?

None of us saw it as incestuous in any way. It was more about the humiliation and discomfort of having to be "intimate" with someone you clearly didn't like at the time.

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Response to AlexSatan (Reply #18)

Tue Dec 4, 2012, 12:18 PM

19. The issue isn't the two boys holding hands as punishment - if it were done in private

But if it is in front of all students, with kids being kids the homophobic taunts was entirely predictable, and I don't see anything in the story that there was any effort to put a lid on that. That is the wrong wrong wrong part.

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Response to AlexSatan (Reply #18)

Tue Dec 4, 2012, 12:26 PM

22. I did it many times when I taught 1st grade.

It's very effective for kids that age.

But now that it means I'm homophobic, I guess I'll just let them fight from now on.

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Response to proud2BlibKansan (Reply #22)

Tue Dec 4, 2012, 12:43 PM

28. If you let the other students call them queer and faggot and other homosexual taunts

then yes, I can only conclude that you are homophobic. What other conclusion can I draw?????

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Response to progree (Reply #28)

Tue Dec 4, 2012, 03:31 PM

45. When did I say I ever let kids call each other names?

When did I say I made kids hold hands in front of the whole class??

Sheesh. Assume much?

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Response to proud2BlibKansan (Reply #22)

Tue Dec 4, 2012, 12:47 PM

29. Did you have the other students throw homophobic slurs at them?

Two Arizona high school students who were caught fighting faced a controversial punishment concocted by their principal: Either endure a suspension, or sit in the school courtyard holding hands while other students shout and throw homophobic slurs at you.


That was part of their "punishment." Its wrong, period.

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Response to FreeState (Reply #29)

Tue Dec 4, 2012, 12:51 PM

30. Kids do that all the time

Being gay is a slur kids use from the time they're in kindergarten. You don't need to be stopping a fight to hear that. I heard a kid tell another kid just the other day that his pencil was gay.

But yes, I correct them whenever I hear it.

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Response to proud2BlibKansan (Reply #30)

Tue Dec 4, 2012, 12:54 PM

32. Evidently the principal didn't "correct them whenever he hears it". nt

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Response to proud2BlibKansan (Reply #30)

Tue Dec 4, 2012, 12:54 PM

33. So your not okay with what was done in the story then? n/t

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Response to FreeState (Reply #33)

Tue Dec 4, 2012, 03:33 PM

46. The name calling - no.

I also don't think they should have been humiliated in front of their peers.

But holding hands to stop a fight - no, I see no problem with that.

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Response to FreeState (Reply #29)

Tue Dec 4, 2012, 03:54 PM

49. Wrong

 

That was the interpretation of the author. Most sites simply say "The students at Westwood High in Mesa were apparently given the option to hold hands instead of being suspended. "

Read more: http://www.abc15.com/dpp/news/region_southeast_valley/mesa/two-mesa-students-forced-to-hold-hands-as-punishment-for-fighting#ixzz2E7Qy6zxk

I'll bet $100 the school said nothing about homophobic slurs. It was NOT part of the punishment. That was the choice of the classmates. And neither of us knows if the teachers tried to stop it.

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Response to AlexSatan (Reply #49)

Tue Dec 4, 2012, 07:25 PM

56. So, wait a minute

The principle puts them in the center of teenage students in commons area of a high school in Mesa Arizona (a very conservative Mormon area) and instructs them to told hands, something straight males do not do in LDS or western cultures and the principle didn't think they would be taunted with homophobic slurs?

How is holding hands even a punishment if it doesn't involve some disapproval of male on male physical touching or relationships, holding hands is reserved for romance when involving males in the western world, and LDS environments are extremely homophobic.

I cant find anywhere with a reference of those that were saying homophobic comments being disciplined. If it was or wasnt the intent, hard to see how it could not be, it was inappropriate and created a homophobic environment.

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Response to FreeState (Reply #56)

Tue Dec 4, 2012, 11:05 PM

58. How is holding hands even a punishment

 

"How is holding hands even a punishment if it doesn't involve some disapproval of male on male physical touching or relationships"

So, having my kids hold hands (opposite sex) was punishment because of the underlying sexual tension? Really?

It doesn't have anything to do with having to touch and be intimate with someone you don't like and having peers see you have to submit to that? (i.e. being treated like an elementary school kid)

How obvious were the comments? In the article, one girl heard "are you gay?" Did anyone else hear that? None of the kids in the video mentioned that.

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Response to michigandem58 (Original post)

Tue Dec 4, 2012, 12:21 PM

20. How is this homophobic? What a stupid thread title.

I miss unrec.

I posted this same story last week and not one reply said anything about homophobia.

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Response to proud2BlibKansan (Reply #20)

Tue Dec 4, 2012, 12:32 PM

24. "I posted this same story last week and not one reply said anything about homophobia." I did. nt

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Response to progree (Reply #24)

Tue Dec 4, 2012, 12:38 PM

25. Ok. One.

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Response to proud2BlibKansan (Reply #25)

Tue Dec 4, 2012, 12:41 PM

26. Well this thread is different. Sorry about that. If you think having students being called

homosexual slurs as punishment is fitting and proper, than perhaps you might reconsider what you are doing here. Also, please read #23.

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Response to progree (Reply #26)

Tue Dec 4, 2012, 03:34 PM

47. When did I say THAT??

You're putting words in my mouth and I don't appreciate that.

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Response to proud2BlibKansan (Reply #25)

Tue Dec 4, 2012, 12:57 PM

34. I'm surprised you don't see anything wrong in this.

Last edited Tue Dec 4, 2012, 01:38 PM - Edit history (1)

First-graders in a supervised situation, or one's
own children, is one thing.

It's a very different deal when it becomes a public
humiliation, intended to provoke humiliating insults.

Whether there was any homophobic backstory, I don't
know -- but it was extremely poor judgement, at best,
to make this a choice of punishment.

Maybe they won't fight again, having shared the humiliation.
But I agree with most other posters that it sends a wrong
message, to everybody.

Boys holding hand in public = humiliation, shame, punishment?

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Response to proud2BlibKansan (Reply #20)

Tue Dec 4, 2012, 12:42 PM

27. Could you walk me through why this is an effective punishment?

I don't see how encouraging peer mockery of what is usually considered to be a display of affection to be in the best interests of children or society in general.

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Response to proud2BlibKansan (Reply #20)

Tue Dec 4, 2012, 12:57 PM

35. Throwing homophobic slurs at someone isn't homophobic?

How so? Thats what the teacher wanted done as they held hands. Holding hands is not phobic, forcing someone sit their and hold hands while throw homophobic slurs at them is homophobioc.

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Response to michigandem58 (Original post)

Tue Dec 4, 2012, 12:31 PM

23. Some context: religious right fighting anti-bullying policies that involve bullying homosexuals

This might give some context to those wondering what the big deal is:

If you’re the parent of young or teenaged kids, you’re probably concerned about bullying. It’s one of those unpleasant facts of life that just about everyone who has children must eventually confront.

Since children spend much of their time in school, those institutions are the focal point for anti-bullying efforts. Thankfully, the national conversation over this issue has become a lot more serious in recent years, and many schools have adopted anti-bullying policies.

This has alarmed the Religious Right. Groups like Focus on the Family (FOF) and the Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF) are worried that fundamentalist Christian young people in public schools won’t be able to properly harass gays, atheists and non-Christians if anti-bullying policies spread. So they’ve more or less formed a pro-bullying caucus designed to shoot down as many of the policies as possible.

A new FOF-ADF salvo takes the form of a document called the “Anti-Bullying Policy Yardstick,” which purports to help public school officials formulate policies that respect the rights of Christian students. In reality, FOF and the ADF are seeking to gut anti-bullying policies by making them utterly ineffective.

I was struck by a number of things about the document:

It attempts to carve out an exemption for protected “religious” bullying. In several states, Religious Right groups have attempted to exempt bullying and verbal harassment based on sincere religious beliefs.


More:https://www.au.org/blogs/wall-of-separation/equal-rights-for-bullies-religious-right-comes-to-the-defense-of-faith

Or go to http://www.au.org and seach on "bullying homosexuality"

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Response to michigandem58 (Original post)

Tue Dec 4, 2012, 12:59 PM

36. UPDATE: 200 students hold handholding event in support of the principal

About 200 Mesa students participated in a “hand-holding event” Monday in Westwood High School’s courtyard in support of the principal and a punishment he administered last week.

Peterson said he is aware of some students who are unhappy with media coverage of what happened at their school.

Some “are protesting the national media coverage of the incident,” he said. “They don’t agree with some of the things that have been said.”

Richard (the principal) said he would like to tell his side of the story relating to the hand-holding punishment, but has been told by district officials not to do so.


http://www.azcentral.com/community/mesa/articles/20121203westwood-high-school-students-have-handholding-event.html

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Response to hack89 (Reply #36)

Tue Dec 4, 2012, 01:11 PM

37. Then maybe it was OK. Certainly nothing wrong with homosexual taunts and slurs

if you happen to be Christian Right, that it.
http://www.democraticunderground.com/10021923037#post23

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Response to progree (Reply #37)

Tue Dec 4, 2012, 01:19 PM

39. Didn't say it was ok. Just updating the story. nt

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Response to michigandem58 (Original post)

Tue Dec 4, 2012, 01:16 PM

38. I don't get it

The principal encouraged homophobic remarks?

Still, if those kids like to fight, I imagine they might notice just who was calling them "gay" the most and deal with them later, thus creating even more problems.

Besides, there's plenty of "Gay" people who can fight just fine.

That hand holding sort of thing only works in elementary school.

.

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Response to michigandem58 (Original post)

Tue Dec 4, 2012, 04:19 PM

52. Yet again, putting "paid" to the lie, 'nobody cares what you do in the bedroom'

yes, everybody DOES care, and will punish you if you fail to conform to popular ideas.

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