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School Board Objects to Pictures of Gay Americans

Timothy Kincaid

October 28th, 2009

A school board in Michigan decided last week that a display by the Diversity Club had put up for gay history month which showed pictures of successful gay Americans was just too offensive for their precious high school aged children.

From the wildly homophobic Argus-Press *

The Corunna Board of Education voted Monday to remove a club project in a display case at Corunna High School that highlighted the acceptance of homosexuality and alternative lifestyles.

The Diversity Club’s display featured about nine photos of athletes, politicians and educators who live a homosexual lifestyle, Corunna Superintendent Dr. Mark Miller said.

It was just shocking, shocking!, that the little darlings were exposed to a picture of Neil Patrick Harris.

But it turns out that even school board members can get an education at a public school. And the ACLU was on hand to grade this little pop quiz.

From the Michigan Messenger

A local Shiawassee County school board plans to hold a meeting as soon as Monday to rescind a decision it made Oct. 23 to order the removal of an extracurricular club display honoring gay history month.

“We have violated the First Amendment rights of the students and the Diversity Club,” Maureen Stanley, president of the Corunna Board of Education, said. “We limited their expression.”

But it does make you wonder. Did the complaining parent really object to the existence of gay people at all? Did the school board really think that saying, “these Americans are gay” was something to refer to a health advisory committee?

I guess their “thinking” is best illustrated by this quote:

“We did not feel that was something that needed to be highlighted in the school, that’s basically it,” Trustee Lyle Brooks said.


UPDATE

* I am delighted to tell you that I was completely wrong in categorizing the Argus-Press as “wildly homophobic”. Dan Basso, the editor, contacted us to inquire as to why I made such a statement and to indicate that this does not reflect his intentions. We had a meaningful and useful correspondence about the use of certain words and terms such as “homosexual” v. “gay” and “lifestyle” and I think that Mr. Basso and I both have a greater understanding of each other.

I believe Mr. Basso when he tells us that it was not his intention to offend or report in a way that appears opposed to the gay community. And I am satisfied that he intends to update his stylebook and direct his staff on the use of language in stories related to our community. And I am appreciative of an editorial – not available online – in which the editor strongly disagreed with the action of the Board.

I was wrong. And sometimes it is great to admit being wrong.

Comments

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Burr
October 28th, 2009 | LINK

Ah there’s that “lifestyle” crap again.

I do not feel the erroneous assumption that all Americans worth talking about are heterosexual is something to be highlighted in school, much like any other blatant lie.

Yes keep sticking your heads in the sand please.

Eddie89
October 28th, 2009 | LINK

Basically, the school board wanted to put gays way back into the closet.

Don’t talk about “them”, don’t show pictures of “them” and “they” won’t exist!

NO MORE!

Be OUT! Be PROUD!

JT
October 28th, 2009 | LINK

I’m a graduate (survivor?) of that school. Can I suggest that we all send letters of support to the Diversity Club? Just Google “Corunna High School, Corunna Michigan” for the address. I’m sure they are feeling kinda alone and picked on right now.

Richard W. Fitch
October 28th, 2009 | LINK

JT: Do you know of a specific person letters can be addressed to? There was no listing for the club or an advisor on the school website. It is so very easy for a letter ‘to get lost’ when the address is too general. I read articles and comments from both links in the post above. It is amazing how backward some areas of the country still are. The very notion of school personnel that ‘children need to be sheltered’ is laughable and sad at the same time. What do they plan to do – shutdown the Internet and turn off all the TV’s?

Lynn David
October 28th, 2009 | LINK

DADT for schools.

Christopher Waldrop
October 29th, 2009 | LINK

I do not feel the erroneous assumption that all Americans worth talking about are heterosexual is something to be highlighted in school, much like any other blatant lie.

While I agree, I think the argument that will be made (if it hasn’t been already) by those who want to take the display down is that they’re fine with talking about successful Americans but they don’t want the fact that certain successful people are gay, lesbian, or bisexual to be mentioned.

My problem with that argument is that it attempts to push people who are out back into the closet, saying, “It’s fine to talk about them, but let’s not acknowledge the fact that they’re not heterosexual.”

Andrew
October 29th, 2009 | LINK

it is still so sad that people do not wat to let others exspress them selfs and live in a would with out hate you must remember that god loves us all no matter what he love homosexuals as well

Andrew
October 29th, 2009 | LINK

Did anyone else get the side advertisement from Stand for Marriage Maine when they clicked on the article? I suppose google ads know what they’re doing.

Regan DuCasse
October 29th, 2009 | LINK

Far be it for a school to discuss or display that there are highly successful, contributing, responsible and productive gay people!

Far be it for a school to be honest about the accomplishments of gay people and that homosexuality in no way compromises this potential.

Far be it for a school to engage in an honest discussion on the potential of gay young people to aspire to such things and doing so with the support and respect of their straight peers.

Far be it for a school to think such honesty and openness is moral.

When school’s history books didn’t acknowledge the same regarding blacks, Jews or women…they were considered exceptionally egregious in this omission of historical and sociological facts.

How can an educational institution, deny full education and recognition of historical and sociological facts?

Are they teaching children which to accept and which to ignore?

If a school wanted to teach Holocaust denial, would that be acceptable too?

My mind boggles at this.

Edwin
October 29th, 2009 | LINK

Andrew I didn’t use the google so didn’t have to put up with that ad.
I used Bing search. The home page list all teachers and head office staff.
But that doesn’t help. Tried to send an email but it wouldn’t send so will
try a different email account.
I get tired of hearing about the gay or homosexual lifestyle so when they ask
me that I asways ask about their hetro lifestyle. Usually stops them in their tracks.

Mombian » Blog Archive » LGBT Parenting Roundup
November 5th, 2009 | LINK

[…] Jonathan Zimmerman, who teaches history and education at New York University, asks, “What’s Wrong with Being Gay?” Specifically, he wants to know why the gay community’s response to the accusation that we want to “promote homosexuality” in schools has been “No we don’t” rather than “So What?” He makes the point in reference to Kevin Jennings, the openly gay assistant deputy secretary of education, who is under fire from the right; I made a similar point last year with regard to the Prop 8 campaign. Queerty dissects Zimmerman’s observation further, saying: The fearmongering campaign from zealots, and the innate reluctance from education moderates that keeps this from happening is the immediate connection between homosexuality and sex. Because that three-letter word is included in every discussion about gays and lesbians, it’s easy to scare parents and community leaders and academia as a whole from seriously engaging young people in an education about people who are not heterosexual. Algebra problems that make use of boyfriends and girlfriends (e.g., splitting the check on a date) don’t inherently involve a discussion about sex, because hetero partners are the norm. So why can’t we encourage educators to, every now and then, throw in two girlfriends in a proof? . . . […]

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