At Grissom High back in April a JROTC instructor decided it would be a good idea to preach to a student about the evils of homosexuality after that student made a comment about wanting to move to San Francisco after she graduated.
As regular readers know, I do not typically speak publicly about personnel issues, and I almost never speak against teachers. Honestly, there are too many people gunning for our teachers as it is now.
However, when a teacher crosses a line such as attempting to indoctrinate a student with his personal religious beliefs, silence will not suffice.
Back in the early 80s a “preacher” in my denomination infamously once said, “God doesn’t hear the prayers of a Jew.” In response to that, a true prophet and church history professor in my denomination, Dr. E. Glenn Hinson responded, “Such is the stuff of which holocausts are made.” (Shakespeare got it wrong. When the revolution comes, the first thing the victors do is kill all the historians, not the lawyers.)
Dr. Hinson only got it half right: it is the silence of people who know better of which holocausts are made, too.
There was a time in college when I stood silently while my gay roommate read a message that had been left on our dorm room door by a hate-filled, anonymous, “Christian.”
I was ashamed of my silence then, and I swore to myself that I would not be silent anymore.
So while my primary focus has been on the discrimination that the school board is enacting against SPED, let me be clear on this matter: if it’s okay to discriminate against one child of one demographic, it’s okay to discriminate against any child of any demographic.
A teacher is certainly free to hold whatever religious beliefs that he or she wishes to hold, but that teacher is not free to force his or her views on a captive audience of students. That crosses a line that should never be crossed in a public school.
Our public schools are wonderful places where people of varied backgrounds, religions, faiths, ideologies, races, genders, and yes, sexual orientations come together to learn from their teachers and from each other. In short, our schools are a cross-section of our society. They represent a safe place for our kids to learn to live on this increasingly small planet together.
I am a Christian. I am a Baptist. I am an ordained minister (although my calling is to the classroom rather than a pulpit). I am a Southerner who was born, raised, educated, and am raising children in the “buckle of the Bible belt.”
I believe that the Bible is the Word of God; however, I am completely convinced of the following: God loves us all regardless of our sexual orientation. God wants us to love each other regardless of our sexual orientation. Our sexual orientation is a gift from God, and being gay or straight is not a sin.
However, hatred and discrimination are. And hatred and discrimination in the name of God are as well.
But the worst, the absolute worst, is to stand by silently while a child of God suffers at the hands of another. As I know first hand, that takes a lifetime to undo. And it’s why I speak out now.
This is what I believe. And I won’t be ashamed to say so, anymore.
While the district claims that this issue has been resolved, they won’t tell anyone, including the parent, what resolution they arrived at. The story by Nick Lough at WAFF-48 states at its conclusion that, “a district spokesperson said they’re not allowed to comment on this story because of confidentiality laws between the school and the parent.”
Do I need to point out that this, once again, makes no logical sense? It instead sounds exactly like many of the non-answers I’ve received in the past. It sounds like a district and a superintendent refusing to do the right thing of protecting all of our students. Sadly, there are some students in our schools who don’t matter nearly as much as others.
It would seem that Dr. Wardynski needs to read his Dr. Seuss a bit more closely.