An attorney for the Huntsville City Schools had this to say about a bullying incident at Grissom High School earlier this year: “While you and I may agree that preaching at school that homosexuality is sinful and against the Bible, is not appropriate, this is not bullying.“ Really. How about when it's a teacher berating a student on the topic to the point that she leaves the room in tears?
Not bullying, you say? Perhaps the HCS would be more comfortable with these words: harassment, abuse of power, bigotry…. take your pick. It's still wrong for anyone to carry on this way. But when it's a teacher berating a young woman in front of her classmate, well…. how exactly can anyone defend this story of behavior?
James Robinson, founder and director of GLBT Advocacy & Youth Services tried for months to resolve this issue amicably. When he and the student's family finally sought legal help, the Freedom From Religion Foundation stepped in. Unfortunately, the school system treats that avenue with the same lack of responsiveness and concern they've displayed since the original complaint was made to the school principal.
Robinson has had far more patience with the bureaucracy that I would have shown under the circumstances:
“We have never asked for specific actions to be taken against this instructor except for those outlined in Army JROTC and school system policies. There are however, many legal implications that come into play because of what was done by this authority figure. It is our responsibility as advocates working for a safe and healthy community for everyone to do all we are able to do to guarantee our kids are not harassed and/or bullied. All children have the right to a safe and appropriate public education.“
Next stop: the US Department of Education.
Learn more about the GLBTAYS organization.