Monday, December 19, 2011

School Outs Gay Student At Home

The school blew it on this one. Let's quote Fox News:
Administrators at a Utah middle school outed a gay teenage boy to his parents because they feared he would be bullied, but the move has outraged civil rights groups that claim the student's privacy was violated.

Alpine School District took the unusual step after the 14-year-old boy, whose name has not been released, created an advertisement about himself and his sexual orientation during a class project.

An aide later overheard other students ridiculing him and became concerned about bullying. Even though the boy was openly gay in school, he did not want to tell his parents.

"He was nervous" about telling his parents, school district spokeswoman Rhonda Bromley told the Salt Lake Tribune. "He initially said, `No, that can't happen.' He finally agreed reluctantly."

Bromley said the boy's parents are supportive but have removed him from school until the controversy subsides. She did not return telephone messages from The Associated Press on Thursday. School Outs Gay Teen, Leaving Civil Rights Groups Outraged

The problem with being gay is not being gay, the problem is people who are not gay. For some reason, there are people who simply cannot accept somebody else's sexual orientation, and they find a million ways to rationalize it.

This kid thought his parents were like that, and maybe they are, we don't know. It is hard enough to come out of the closet, a person will want to go through that process very carefully, you can't have people announcing it for you against your will. This kid was open about his orientation at school and his parents were going to know eventually, but the school had no business involving his family.

I think Fox is overstating when they say that civil rights groups were outraged by the situation, unless maybe they know something they did not include in this story. Here are some quotes from level-headed gay-rights activists and lawyers, who consider this a problem but do not sound "outraged" to me:
"The school's decision to disclose deprived the young man the right to reveal highly personal aspects of his life at a time and manner of his choice," Joe Cohn of the American Civil Liberties Union of Utah told The Associated Press on Thursday.

Cohn said there are serious consequences in such cases, especially in communities where homosexuality can carry a tremendous stigma.

In one case, Cohn said, a wrongful death lawsuit was filed after a football player committed suicide when small-town Pennsylvania police officers threatened to tell his family he was gay.

"You shouldn't be pressured into making such an important decision," Cohn said.

Andy Marra, a spokeswoman for the New York City-based Gay, Lesbian & Straight Education Network, said such cases aren't confined to Utah.

"It's something we've seen in the past and something school administrators will continue to grapple with," Marra said.

She agreed it was important for school officials to address bullying behavior but added that schools should notify parents of bullying without disclosing the child's sexual orientation.

"Taking away the choice for a LGBT student to come out on their own terms opens the door to significant risks, including harassment at school and family rejection," network Executive Director Eliza Byard said in a statement. "Schools should be able to provide LGBT students with support and resources in order to make an informed decision if and when they decide to come out to their school community and family."

Valerie Larabee, director of the Utah Pride Center, agreed there can be serious consequences when parents are told of a child's sexual orientation before a young person is ready to reveal it themselves.

"Often times the relationship between the youth and the parent is one of the most difficult to manage when it comes out," Larabee said.

As the tide continues to shift and homosexuality becomes less controversial, schools need to carefully consider how they will handle situations like this. Granted, there are not many details here, but it sounds like the school could have dealt with the situation on-campus, without outing this kid at home.

There is some irony in the fact that the aide witnessed bullying, and the school responded by punishing the victim. Hopefully this school has a good Gay Straight Alliance chapter, and students can work with faculty to hammer out a kinder and more effective method for dealing with bullying and harassment of LGBT students.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin rekindled speculation about her 2012 plans Monday in a response to a question about whether she might still get involved in the presidential race.

"It's not too late for folks to jump in," Palin said. "Who knows what will happen in the future."

Earlier in the year, Palin appeared to shut the door on her White House aspirations, at least for this election cycle.

"After much prayer and serious consideration, I have decided that I will not be seeking the 2012 GOP nomination for president of the United States," said Palin in a statement on her decision." As always, my family comes first and obviously Todd and I put great consideration into family life before making this decision. When we serve, we devote ourselves to God, family and country. My decision maintains this order."

The comment will recharge the energy of her persistent supporters, who just last month launched an ad in Iowa urging Palin to jump in the race due to dissatisfaction with the current field. That sentiment has lingered among the ranks of many conservatives, as Tea Party leaders recently told the Associated Press that they remained "disappointed" with their choices.

If Palin remains a sideline figure in the 2012 elections, her eventual endorsement, which she has said she intends to give, will be a coveted possession.

December 19, 2011 6:20 PM  
Anonymous how about that? said...

Washington, D.C. — With Christmas fast approaching, the Pew Research Center’s Forum on Religion & Public Life published a new comprehensive demographic report on the size and distribution of the world’s Christian population. The study finds that there are 2.18 billion Christians of all ages in more than 200 countries around the world, representing nearly a third of the estimated 6.9 billion 2010 global population. Christians are so geographically widespread that no single continent or region can indisputably claim to be the center of global Christianity.

In 1910, two-thirds of the world’s Christians lived in Europe (according to historical data from the Center for the Study of Global Christianity at Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary in Massachusetts). Today, the Pew study finds, only about a quarter of all Christians (26 percent) live in Europe (26 percent). A plurality — more than a third (37 percent) — now reside in the Americas. About one in every four Christians (24 percent) lives in sub-Saharan Africa and about one-in-eight (13 percent) is found in Asia and the Pacific.

In the last 100 years, the number of Christians around the world has more than tripled from historical estimates of approximately 600 million in 1910 to more than 2 billion today. But the world’s overall population has also risen rapidly, from an estimated 1.8 billion in 1910 to 6.9 billion in 2010. As a result, Christians make up about the same portion of the world’s population in 2010 (35 percent) as they did a century ago.

Although Europe and the Americas still are home to a majority of the world’s Christians (63 percent), Christianity has grown enormously in sub-Saharan Africa and significantly in the Asia-Pacific region, where there were relatively few Christians at the beginning of the 20th century. The share of the population that is Christian in sub-Saharan Africa climbed from 9 percent in 1910 to 63 percent in 2010, while in the Asia-Pacific region it rose from 3 percent to 7 percent.

December 19, 2011 6:25 PM  
Anonymous David S. Fishback said...

The news items states:

"He was nervous" about telling his parents, school district spokeswoman Rhonda Bromley told the Salt Lake Tribune. "He initially said, `No, that can't happen.' He finally agreed reluctantly."

Bromley said the boy's parents are supportive but have removed him from school until the controversy subsides.


While I understand the concerns expressed by the ACLU and others, we really would have to know more facts before concluding whether this school acted wisely. It may well be that a smpathetic school guidance counselor spoke with the student after he outed himself in a very public way at school and, after that discussion, encouraged the student to come out to his parents so that he could have some control over the situation, rather than his parents finding out from other parents. That may well have been good advice.

The Fox Story tries to set up a controversy, which may well not really exist here. Or there may be a much deeper story here.

December 19, 2011 9:01 PM  
Anonymous David S. Fishback said...

I did a Google search and found that the Fox News item was simply a reporitng of an AP story.

The Salt Lake City Tribune did a longer article on the matter, which seems to provide some additional context.

It is noteworthy that the Tribune article included the following useful information to its readers:

"LGBT youths who experience high levels of family rejection are eight times more likely to attempt suicide, six times more likely to experience depression, and three times more likely to use illegal drugs than those who don’t, according to a recent study published in the medical journal Pediatrics."

December 20, 2011 3:53 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

WASHINGTON -- The Denver Broncos have responded to an online campaign urging the team to make a video for the It Gets Better project, indicating that they won't be jumping on the anti-bullying project anytime soon.

Nearly 8,000 individuals have signed onto a petition for the Broncos and their high-profile quarterback Tim Tebow to become the first NFL team to create a video for It Gets Better, which was started by sex columnist Dan Savage and his husband in September 2010 in response to teenagers who said they were being bullied for being gay or perceived to be gay.

In 2010, Tebow starred in an ad for Focus on the Family, which opposes LGBT rights. In fact, the organization has argued that there "is no evidence that homosexuals, as a class, are discriminated against in the present society."

December 20, 2011 10:51 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Focus on the Family is a hate group. Shame on haters who speak for them.

December 21, 2011 10:43 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

July 2011

Hate crimes against gay, transgender people rise, report says

December 21, 2011 10:47 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

to a threatened deviant, anyone who objects to deviancy is a bigoted hatemonger

yet, deviant support groups, not content to content themselves with the liberty to their own conduct, have incessantly tried to push the government to endorse and protect their practices from any negative social consequences and indoctrinate our youth with their views

you guys might want to consider pushing the reset button since orthodox Christiniaty qualifies as a hate group under your standards

"Expecting to get a Christmas card from your member of Congress this year? Don’t hold your breath.

According to a Dec. 12 memo sent to members of the House of Representatives, none can use their official franking privileges — using taxpayer dollars to pay for postage — to send Christmas greetings to their constituents. Moreover, the Franking Commission — the six-member bipartisan group officially known as the Commission on Congressional Mailing Standards — told legislators they can’t use the phrases “Merry Christmas” or “Happy New Year” in any mail sent to voters this year.

Congressmen are required to submit all mass mailings to the Commission for an advisory opinion before sending them to constituents.

According to the Franking Manual, “You may make reference to the season as a whole using language along the lines of ‘Have a safe and happy holiday season.’ It may only be incidental to the piece rather than the primary purpose of the communication.”

Commissioner Salley Wood told the Washington Examiner that members can tell their constituents “Happy Holidays.” And a Capitol Hill staffer who asked the commission for clarification was told they can say “ ‘have a happy new year — referencing the time period of a new year, but not the holiday.”

The memo also noted that congressmen can’t use their official social media pages to wish constituents “Merry Christmas” or “Happy New Year.”

Rob Schwarzwalder, senior vice president at the Family Research Council and former chief of staff to two congressmen, said the new directive is “disappointing” — and also an abridgement of congressmen’s First Amendment rights.

“Phrases like ‘Merry Christmas’ or ‘Happy Hanukkah’ are freedom of religion,” he said. “Here we are saying that because someone happens to be an office holder, they can’t give a religious message.

“Throughout American history, we’ve had national observances of religious holidays. We just had Thanksgiving. Thanskgiving to whom? To God. You’re looking at the person who serves you and roughly 700,000 people in your district saying he wishes you a happy religious holiday. How is that an abuse? It’s not invasive. It’s as American as apple pie.

“This is a sad commentary on how militant secularism has invaded the public square and is seeking to silence even the most modest expressions of religious good will,” he concluded. “For people of faith and all Americans who value religious liberty, this is the camel’s nose under the tent. It seems small — but it sets a precedent, and that’s why it has to be opposed.”"

December 21, 2011 12:52 PM  
Anonymous Robert said...

I think most people would not feel loved by people who call them deviants.

December 21, 2011 1:36 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

hate is not the opposite of love, Robo

indifference is

further, deviants tend not to be self-critical so, naturally, they view anyone who opposes deviancy to be a threat

December 21, 2011 1:51 PM  
Anonymous Robert said...

You don't seem to be indifferent on this topic, anonymous dear.

December 21, 2011 4:55 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

look, sugar plum, I oppose the gay agenda, which I suspect has little to do with the average homosexual

as far as that average homosexual goes, I feel a little sorry for the mixed-up guys who are into it but I'm largely indifferent

now, go prance into the Land of Sweets and do a pirouette

December 21, 2011 5:25 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"Rob Schwarzwalder, senior vice president at the Family Research Council and former chief of staff to two congressmen, said the new directive is “disappointing” — and also an abridgement of congressmen’s First Amendment rights."

Not only is Focus on the Family a hate group, Family Research Council is a hate group too.

"orthodox Christiniaty qualifies as a hate group under your standards"

It is the Southern Poverty Law Center that determined these groups are hate groups, not me, darling. < wink >

Is it hate or stupidity that made Mr. Schwarzwalder complain so much? Doesn't he realize that it is House members themselves who serve on the Committee on House Administration that sets the franking rules for House members?

And what about the Examiner staff? Don't they realize that with the GOP majority in the House, the GOP sets the rules. They are wrong about the number of members. There are not six House members on this committee, there are nine: 6 GOP House members on the Committee on House Administration but only 3 Democratic House members.

The "disappointing" decision reflects the reality of budget cutting! Oops!

December 21, 2011 8:03 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"While at Ronald Reagan Airport on Wednesday, Rep. Jim Sensenbrenner (R-Wisc.) was overheard talking on the phone. During his conversation, he told the person on the other end of the line that Michelle Obama has a big butt.

From FishbowlDC:

Our source, a Democratic operative who heard the whole thing, said he was “very loud”. Sensenbrenner was overheard saying that after buying all their “crap” (his word) a woman approached him and praised first lady Michelle Obama. He told the woman that Michelle should practice what she preaches — “she lectures us on eating right while she has a large posterior herself.”
Sensenbrenner did not offer comment on the story.

UPDATE: Sensenbrenner’s spokeswoman told FishbowlDC that the congressman will be in touch with the first lady to apologize for his comments."

December 21, 2011 8:04 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The last time I looked, Sensenbrenner was still fat, a lot fatter than Michelle Obama.

I'll be sure to call him and apologize tomorrow.

December 22, 2011 9:58 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Fat and happy

December 22, 2011 10:01 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

He's free to have another bite!

December 22, 2011 10:03 AM  

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