Arne Duncan to nation’s schools: Don’t outlaw gay-straight student support groups

U.S. Education Secretary Arne Duncan has said all along that he wants his agency to step up its civil rights work.  (The office is headed by the impressive Russlynn Ali, assistant secretary for civil rights at the U.S. Department of Education.)

Today, Duncan continued to demonstrate that commitment to student civil rights, issuing a “Dear Colleagues” letter to school districts reminding them that they can’t kick gay-straight alliances and clubs out of their schools under a law passed in the Reagan administration

This issue came up in Georgia in 2006 when a federal judge ruled that students in a gay activist group in White County High School must be allowed to hold meetings on school property. In his 35-page decision, Federal District Judge William C. O’Kelley in Gainesville issued a permanent injunction allowing the Gay-Straight Alliance student club to meet even though the club’s activities are not tied to school classes or curriculum. The school had tried to ban the club from meeting.

Here is part of the Duncan letter:

Dear Colleagues:

Harassment and bullying are serious problems in our schools, and lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) students are the targets of disproportionate shares of these problems. Thirty-two percent of students aged 12-18 experienced verbal or physical bullying during the 2007-2008 school year; and, according to a recent survey, more than 90 percent of LGBT students in grades 6 through 12 reported being verbally harassed — and almost half reported being physically harassed — during the 2008-2009 school year. High levels of harassment and bullying correlate with poorer educational outcomes, lower future aspirations, frequent school absenteeism, and lower grade-point averages. Recent tragedies involving LGBT students and students perceived to be LGBT only underscore the need for safer schools.

Gay-straight alliances (GSAs) and similar student-initiated groups addressing LGBT issues can play an important role in promoting safer schools and creating more welcoming learning environments.  Nationwide, students are forming these groups in part to combat bullying and harassment of LGBT students and to promote understanding and respect in the school community.

But in spite of the positive effect these groups can have in schools, some such groups have been unlawfully excluded from school grounds, prevented from forming, or denied access to school resources.  These same barriers have sometimes been used to target religious and other student groups, leading Congress to pass the Equal Access Act.

In 1984, Congress passed and President Ronald Reagan signed into law the Equal Access Act, requiring public secondary schools to provide equal access for extracurricular clubs.  Rooted in principles of equal treatment and freedom of expression, the Act protects student-initiated groups of all types.  As one of my predecessors, Secretary Richard W. Riley, pointed out in guidance concerning the Equal Access Act and religious clubs more than a decade ago, we “protect our own freedoms by respecting the freedom of others who differ from us.” By allowing students to discuss difficult issues openly and honestly, in a civil manner, our schools become forums for combating ignorance, bigotry, hatred, and discrimination.

Today, the U.S. Department of Education’s General Counsel, Charles P. Rose, is issuing a set of legal guidelines affirming the principles that prevent unlawful discrimination against any student-initiated groups.  We intend for these guidelines to provide schools with the information and resources they need to help ensure that all students, including LGBT and gender nonconforming students, have a safe place to learn, meet, share experiences, and discuss matters that are important to them.

Although specific implementation of the Equal Access Act depends upon contextual circumstances, these guidelines reflect basic obligations imposed on public school officials by the Act and the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.  The general rule, approved by the U.S. Supreme Court, is that a public high school that allows at least one noncurricular student group to meet on school grounds during noninstructional time (e.g., lunch, recess, or before or after school) may not deny similar access to other noncurricular student groups, regardless of the religious, political, philosophical, or other subject matters that the groups address.

I encourage every school district to make sure that its administrators, faculty members, staff, students, and parents are familiar with these principles in order to protect the rights of all students — regardless of religion, political or philosophical views, sexual orientation, or gender identity.  I also urge school districts to use the guidelines to develop or improve district policies.  In doing so, school officials may find it helpful to explain to the school community that the Equal Access Act requires public schools to afford equal treatment to all noncurricular student organizations, including GSAs and other groups that focus on issues related to LGBT students, sexual orientation, or gender identity.  Officials need not endorse any particular student organization, but federal law requires that they afford all student groups the same opportunities to form, to convene on school grounds, and to have access to the same resources available to other student groups.

–From Maureen Downey, for the AJC Get Schooled blog

70 comments Add your comment

Dedicatedandtired

June 14th, 2011
3:23 pm

I am so over this idiot. Posturing won’t save his jobs or get Obama re elected. Kids, schools can kill a club by making it difficult for the club to find a faculty sponsor. Useless words.

jsmtih

June 14th, 2011
4:52 pm

im glad that this is the kind of thing that u.s. secretary is worried about??????????? this country needs some real leadership in the worst way.

HS Math Teacher

June 14th, 2011
4:53 pm

Such focus on sexuality in high school! Good grief. There should be no freaking CLUBS, or formal organization based on what these teenies FEEL is their … orientation. Sex is more exciting when it isn’t talked about and analyzed so much. SEX SEX SEX SEX SEX SEX SEX SEX SEX SEX SEX SEX SEX SEX … that’s all you see in movies, TV, and even in commercials for men my age, who are starting to feel the inevitable. PUT SEX BACK IN THE DAMNED CLOSET WHERE IT BELONGS!!!

Inman Park Boy

June 14th, 2011
5:46 pm

Too bad Mr. Duncan isn’t similarly concerned about the Three R’s.

Harvey Schock

June 14th, 2011
6:01 pm

HS Math Teacher, I hope that none of your gay students find out that you feel that way. That’s the problem. These kids need to know that they important, and not treated like crap because of who they are. What kind of teacher says that what they feel is their orientation?

We will put sex back in the closet when people like you stop being such a prude. Silly puritans!

Dedicatedandtired

June 14th, 2011
6:02 pm

Jennifer

June 14th, 2011
6:55 pm

Brookwood High School on board ?

Lee

June 14th, 2011
7:43 pm

@Maureen, maybe this will make it past your politically correct filters:

“It would be interesting how far Arne is willing to battle for “equal rights” if it were a Confederate Heritage Student organization, complete with Confederate Flags.

Yeah, I thought so.

It’s okay for the sexual @#$%^ to have their little @#$%^&, but to honor the fallen in one of the singular most important events in this nation’s history — nooooo, we can’t have none of that.”

Maybe I should have used “deviants” instead of “perverts”. Would that make it though the pc filter?

Disgruntled Employee

June 14th, 2011
8:51 pm

@ Lee…

I’ve learned to ignore you but I would support a Confederate Heritage Student Organization. As an American of African descent I’m sure glad they lost but if students wanted to form an organization such as the one you proposed I don’t see the problem. I think the larger problem would be finding enough white students who would care or see the need to join it. Don’t agree with Duncan on some issues but I agree wholeheartedly on this one.

Dr. Proud Black Man

June 14th, 2011
9:43 pm

@ Lee

Why should we honor a bunch of racist losers? You’re a dinosaur dude. Time and demographics are working against you and your ilk. Instead of celebrating a “lost cause” let’s celebrate this:

http://www.juneteenth.com/

JJ

June 15th, 2011
2:38 am

Thank you, Mr. Duncan, for helping protect gay kids finally from people like the posters above. Gay Americans’ rights have long past been overdue, and this is an inch in the right direction and a step to curb my anger at being hurt by my own country.

s2k

June 15th, 2011
7:23 am

O.C.G.A. 20-2-705 (2010) 20-2-705 – Parental consent for participation in school clubs and organizations – “as required in Code Section 20-2-751.5, the local board of education shall provide an area for a parent or legal guardian to decline permission for his or her student to participate in a club or organization designated by him or her.”

Mr. Duncan can demand civil rights for all students, but this law precludes the forming of groups that would provide benefit to students who need support. Conversely, we can’t have any clubs at my HS that aren’t formulated at least a year in advance so that we can get club information written up and posted in the student handbook – so if kids have a great idea (art club, anime club, billiards club, speech/debate club) in October, they have to wait until the following April to be able to do anything about wanting to be inclusive and bring like-minded individuals together.

Is this law a violation of GA students civil rights? I dunno. But by GOD I wish SOMEONE out there would challenge it. It’s mean-spirited.

http://law.justia.com/codes/georgia/2010/title-20/chapter-2/article-16/part-1/subpart-2a/20-2-705/

Dr NO

June 15th, 2011
7:57 am

The time is quickly approaching when Duncan and all these liberal molly-coddling types will be swept from power.

Harvey Schock

June 15th, 2011
1:23 pm

Lee, why do you think that people wouldn’t go for a Confederate Celebration Heritage Student organization? And why does it have to be either or? Are you saying that a gay student wouldn’t want to join a Confederate Heritage Student organization? Or a straight student wouldn’t want to join a Confederate Celebration Heritage Student organization? Just because you join one doesn’t mean that you can join the other.

But nice try.

Lil Georgie Bailout

June 15th, 2011
1:25 pm

Dr. No, I do hope that the corporatists, rich-coddling conservatives do get in power so things will get worse. Except for the top 20 percent.

PA homeschooler

June 15th, 2011
2:16 pm

Someone give this info in the EQUAL ACCESS ACT to our local High School please. They refused to let my son (With several hundred signatures, and a willing faculty adviser) start a Bible club. Cited separation of church state issues, and it’s “NON ACADEMIC” nature. The Gay-straight alliance club sailed right through…and died, for lack of student interest. Even the ACLU says they can’t do that. But they did. Now we fight with these imbeciles every year, because I use a Christan homeschool curriculum. They still break the law, even though my kids aren’t even enrolled! They have no power to review and approve curriculum! Though they try, yearly! HURRAH for homeschool “ACCOUNTABILITY”! What exactly keeps the school district from breaking the law, when faculty members are simply intolerant?

Dr NO

June 15th, 2011
2:24 pm

Georgie…me too. Best get in the top 20 my friend!

HS Math Teacher

June 15th, 2011
4:44 pm

I TRULY don’t harbor any negative feelings about well-behaving kids who give off the “gay” mannerisms, or who outwardly profess their “gaydom”. However, to establish a charter for clubs nationwide, or to remotely have one in a high school, whether it’s Gay-Straight Alliance, or otherwise, is just plain foolish, stupid, and inviting trouble to a public institution that is charged with educating children in a few, curriculum-defined disciplines of knowledge. High school should not become a battleground of societal controversy, nor should it provide a venue to openly talk about SEX outside of a Biology classroom – in a structured way. THAT’S THE PARENTS’ JOB!!! I have what’s left of our civilization to back me up.

We are on the road to HELL, and someone has to step up & apply the brakes now and then. Have no fear of the social liberals who scream from their lurches in the grandstands of a Godless & Lawless land.

s2k

June 15th, 2011
5:19 pm

Good GRIEF, HS math teacher! I’m so glad it’s summer break so you can RELAX!!! I can practically hear your blood vessels throbbing and the aneurysm you’re about to have from here. Jeez – this frantic plea that “we’re all going to HELL!!!!!!! AIEYEEEE!!!!” could be written about any blessed year/decade since the Crusades. Seriously – people said Civil Rights were sending this country down the road to hell. That giving women the right to vote was putting us on the path to hell. That prohibition would keep us from going to hell!! Well, you could be right, since NCLB sure does feel like Hell to me, anyway.

Assuming ANYTHING is the parents’ job anymore is hilarious to me. Heck, parents can’t even return an email or a phone call, and you expect parents to teach their kids about sex?! Parents don’t have to feed their kids, insure their kids, or even bring their kids to the physical school building, and you think they’re going to actually parent about important matters?! We had 16 pregnant girls in the junior class this year – if your kids haven’t heard from you about sex and they’re in high school… it’s too late.

I imagine you’re either near retiring because of your “kids today…” attitudes or you’re so fresh out of school you actually think parents still have a “job.”

Unbiased, facts-based truth keeps kids safe. Part of our job as well-trained, sympathetic professionals is to provide ALL students with a place they can learn free of harassment and fear. Shame on you for having such a cavalier/hateful attitude, because you simply ooze disgust toward a segment of your student body – and don’t think for a second your students don’t sense it.

Harvey Schock

June 15th, 2011
5:41 pm

Well-said s2k! And that is the problem with people like HS Math Teacher. They assume that these gay alliance will talk about sex. It is funny how many people in society make it about sex. The club is a supposed to be a safe-place for students that have a same-sex attraction. He or she should be able to express that they find so and so attractive without being called names and threatening to get their faces pounded in. It brings kids together, and gives them an outlet.

I don’t think that they ever talked about gay sex in biology. But you knew that, didn’t you? You were trying to make the argument that it is unnatural, and therefore, isn’t talked about in biology.

HS Math Teacher

June 15th, 2011
6:00 pm

You’re one of those people who looks at the top layer of a structure and say, “Everything is fine up here!”, while the foundation is crumbling. You’re in great company – the Left Coast. I do have off this Summer, and believe me, my blood vessels are fine. I’m not shooting up drugs, nor am I involved in any deviant activity that would cause me harm, nor burden public taxpayers.

You keep kids safe by punishing bullies, plain and simple. To establish chartered clubs or organizations sends the message to kids that being GAY is just fine and dandy. No it isn’t! There are consequences to deviating from our natural design. I am not of the flock who subscribes to the belief that ALL gays are born that way. Yes, maybe some are…who knows for sure. You sure as hell don’t, nor do I. I believe that SOME kids, and adults, experiment with that deviant path, and CHOOSE that lifestyle. I wouldn’t want to be part of any organization, or sponsorship thereof, that promotes that way of life, say it’s alright to be that way, in any form or fashion, if by chance it sways a kid who’s on the fence.

My Parents were not carpetbaggers, and I’ve lived all my life in Middle GA. I have deep roots in this area, its culture, and its mainstream beliefs. I don’t hold sway to tumbleweed, rootless beliefs, even if you have alphabet soup letters after your name. Atlanta, in the last couple of decades, has become a haven to folks around the country who have no ties to anything, except what they want to do in the next ten minutes.

Judgement doesn’t come from me – it comes from God. God loves the sinner, and warns us ALL that there are consequences to sin. Do you disagree? If you do, YOU’RE IN A MINORITY. They just aren’t posting here today.

Reality Check

June 15th, 2011
6:06 pm

Private schools and home schooling are becoming more and more popular. Many wonder why. When public schools become the targets of social engineering, traditional families flee. If destroying public education is the goal, they’re on the right track.

V for Vendetta

June 15th, 2011
6:22 pm

Lee and HS Math Teacher,

You’re racist, homophobic morons. Yeah, I know. Ad hominem and all that . . .

HS Math Teacher,

At one time, people who were against slavery were in the minority. They stood up against something that was wrong even though it had been practiced throughout human history. Though it took a long time, people finally realized (except for maybe Lee) that subjugating a population of people who are different from yourself is immoral and, quite frankly, unnecessary. How is this any different? You claim that “There are consequences to deviating from our natural design,” but I wonder how you claim to know what our “natural design” is? Since you’re not a science teacher and you’re throwing around the god word, I’m assuming you think that our “natural design” is biblical in origin–maybe from the (impossibly stupid) story of Adam and Eve, which is by its very nature overflowing with incest on a, er, biblical level.

Wake up, people. What two adults do behind closed doors is their business. When gay students–who are most certainly born that way; why don’t you try, you know, actually talking to them about it–are struggling through the same body and sexual issues that all teens experience, the last thing they need is a narrow-minded, bigoted Math teacher waving a dusty old bible in the air claiming to know what the “natural design” of human beings is. They need friends. They need support. They need the same things that straight students need–perhaps even more.

So I disagree. I guess that puts me in the minority, right? Since I disagree with you, I must be wrong. I mean, isn’t that what your little book grants you? Automatic moral certitude? Lucky you.

HS Math Teacher

June 15th, 2011
6:45 pm

Hey, V… I’m not for castigating our “Gay Youth”, I just think it’s prudent to not approve of any on-campus, school sponsored club that has anything to do with a student’s sexuality. I think we should hold up the NEUTRAL sign. God forbid we give the the REVERSE or DRIVE sign. If you’re that hung-up on sex, and you want to sponsor such a club, why don’t you do it off campus, and tell us how your are progressing?

Comparing this to civil rights for blacks and women…that’s just plain stupid. We’re talking sponsorship of HIGH SCHOOL clubs, not access to drinking fountains, restaurants, workplace hiring practices, etc.

HS Math Teacher

June 15th, 2011
7:04 pm

As far as the “moron” statement goes… I’m not the college fullback I used to be, but still your words are utterances of a mouse behind a mouse.

Lee

June 15th, 2011
7:51 pm

@Harvey, re “Lee, why do you think that people wouldn’t go for a Confederate Celebration Heritage Student organization?”

Gee, I don’t know, maybe because there are accounts of principals telling students that they cannot have a Confederate Flag bumper sticker on their car (even though you can purchase a Sons of Confederate Veterans license plate). Or maybe it is because there are Black Student Alliances, Asian Student Alliances, Hispanic Student Alliances, and in this case, the Gay Student Alliance. Show me one, just one, WHITE Student Alliance.
——————-

V, show me where the anus’ “natural design” included sticking something up it. You must be using a different Biology book.

(Yes, I know heterosexuals can engage in anal sex, but you don’t see them wanting to meet after school to talk about it…)

s2k

June 15th, 2011
8:00 pm

HSMT – I don’t punish bullies, I help educate them. I invite you to visit http://www.challengeday.org/ and get a sense of what the world is like today for adolescents – male, female, black, white, brown, gay, straight, poor, wealthy – whatever.

I think you need the experience of a Challenge Day just about as much as the kids do.

s2k

June 15th, 2011
8:10 pm

Lee – your comment made me laugh –

1) cite your source: what school, where, and when, was a student told to remove a sticker from his personal vehicle. Because the ACLU would be all over that in support of the student with the sticker.

2) minority alliances (such as the Black Student Alliance you mention) were typically founded in the 1960s out of a collective need for support. A simple google search of “black student alliance” called up pages of clubs that described themselves as “multi-ethnic.”

3) Kids don’t need a club to “meet after school to talk about (sex) – that’s because they meet after school (and sometimes *during* school) to have sex. Heck, I’d rather my students have that kind of sex because at least they’re not going to end up parents at 15!!!!

PFLAG and Gay/Straight Alliances are about bringing groups together “to support each other, provide a safe place to socialize, and create a platform for activism to fight homophobia.” (http://www.gsanetwork.org/what-we-do)

The point is, we won’t need to have such support networks anymore when we can just allow people to “be.”

And that’s my $.02 to you, Lee, because you’re a troll of the lowest order.

HS Math Teacher

June 15th, 2011
8:34 pm

s2k: Foregoing the viewing of that site you furnished, is any of this organization’s activity done on a school campus?

We’re supposed to foster a public education in a safe environment conducive to teaching students how to be productive, law-abiding citizens. Sex education, of whatever title or form, should be limited to teaching KIDS about transmitted diseases, and teenage pregnancy (carrying one of those life-like crying dolls around school & home for six weeks).

Your quote: Bullet #3) Kids don’t need a club to “meet after school to talk about (sex) – that’s because they meet after school (and sometimes *during* school) to have sex. Heck, I’d rather my students have that kind of sex because at least they’re not going to end up parents at 15!!!!

Lord, do have mercy… I’m glad my 27-year-old Son didn’t have you as a teacher with that defeatist attitude. My Son is not an animal. He knew what was right, and what was wrong when he walked off my front porch. He respected women. He didn’t need the freaking state to teach him that. I don’t care what kind of reality you want to spew back onto this stage of rag-tag debate, it still stinks to high heaven. This is a major push-back of decent people getting tired of decades of a certain element of folk who live and act like animals.

As far as the argument goes of my “little book” of rights & wrongs (above swipe)… YOU WORK OUT YOUR OWN SALVATION WITH FEAR & TREMBLING. My Dad knew of a Macon doctor long ago, and he said he never knew of any BOLD atheist on their death bed.

V for Vendetta

June 15th, 2011
9:19 pm

Lee,

Who cares if there IS a white student alliance. Why not make one if you’re feeling left out. While you’re at it, why don’t you start a new television channel. Perhaps White Entertainment Television? Since you think we don’t have enough going for us. As for your anus comment . . . I personally don’t care where anyone wants to stick anything. It’s not like gay men are chasing you down in the street and attempting to sodomize you. Unless you’re FAR more attractive than we think. But I doubt it.

HS Math Teacher,

Fullback? Haha, good one. We’re all body builders and fullbacks online, aren’t we? Means very little when it’s typed in a computer. I was a college athlete myself, but I won’t go into any detail since you won’t believe me anyway.

” This is a major push-back of decent people getting tired of decades of a certain element of folk who live and act like animals.”

Nice to see you’re so sensitive to those who aren’t like yourself. While I do agree that some segments of our society and culture are repulsive, I find narrow-minded people such as yourself equally repulsive. A few things to mention: Anyone with any shred of intelligence can understand that homosexuality is about as much of a choice as eye color. Why something as monumentally important as sexual preference would be left up to choice when our hair color and eye color is determined by our genes makes little to no sense. Sure, our culture impacts our views on sexual behavior, but to say that it boils down to a simple “maybe or maybe not” type of choice is to be incredibly naive. Furthermore, comparing prejudice against gays to that against blacks and other minorities is valid. No one got to vote on your marriage (pity), yet we feel as if it’s ok to vote on the marriage of two consenting adults who are very much in love. Why is that? What gives you the right?

Oh, I forgot, your silly little book.

Which is what it all boils down to, isn’t it? Since you believe the teachings of that book, you feel we should all act accordingly. Why is that? What gives you that moral authority? The book? God? The Holy Spirit? Anything that actually, you know, exists?

I prefer to deal with reality, not superstition and fables, myths and mysticism. As a heterosexual, I have NO problem with gays marrying, adopting children, and having wonderful loving families. What’s wrong with that? Maybe, just maybe, it would give some children a chance at a loving, caring family environment.

Or you could take them to church and let them be molested by a priest. Your choice.

HS Math Teacher

June 15th, 2011
9:33 pm

Well, excuse me….John Wayne. If I’m not mistaken, you’re moniker is “V” for Vendetta…… (reverberations of cowards quivering in fright). I have a different interpretation. Keep it up, and I’ll gladly lay it out for you.

HS Math Teacher

June 15th, 2011
9:37 pm

correction: your – not you’re

Progressive Humanist

June 15th, 2011
9:41 pm

HS Math Teacher,

I’m appalled that someone lets you in a classroom, not only for your bigoted perspective, but also for your lack of education. If you really think that homosexuality is a choice and not biologically determined then you really need to go back and read the piles of research on the subject. It’s not up for debate any more (except in the Sunday school class where you were apparently indoctrinated). You should not be teaching children. Your cancerous views based on vile mythology are a pox on our society.

HS Math Teacher

June 15th, 2011
9:52 pm

My cancerous views on society? We are indeed in the end times. Hey, Mr. Pungent, don’t take the mark when the anti-Christ arrives… Just some “friendly” advice.

It’s funny how all you “guys” are up on homosexuality. No, I don’t take a book to bed and read up on that subject. Pungent, you have a Piled High & Deep degree, right? Well, you should have read where I clearly stated that I, nor anyone else here, knows whether one is born into “this”, or not.

Progressive Humanist

June 15th, 2011
10:06 pm

Okay, I’ll be waiting right here for the rapture. Wasn’t that last month? Or is it this coming October? I keep forgetting when that danged thing is supposed to happen. I guess right after Elvis and the Easter bunny come back.

Your bigotry aside, it’s clear that your education on the subject is lacking. By you stating that no one knows whether homosexuality is biologically determined, it highlights your ignorance. I know it’s biologically determined and so should anyone else with half an education. I’ve read the medical studies. I’ve examined the data. I teach psychology to masters-level teachers at a research university and I’m a member of the APA. There’s no debate about the origins of homosexuality amongst legitimate doctors, psychologists, psychiatrists, or educators who have a clue. And you really need to improve your education because in you have no place being in a public school.

HS Math Teacher

June 15th, 2011
10:24 pm

Oh my Gosh, I’m so freaking impressed by your studies & teaching to “Master’s Level Students”. Psychology? HA! My psych professor was the nut job of campus. That’s what you take (at any level) to fluff up your GPA.

Laugh at the Bible all you want. You won’t be laughing if you’re left by the roadside, and I truly don’t wish this upon you. This Harold Camping was nutty to begin with. Scripture clearly states that no one knows the hour or the day of Christ’s return. Only the Father – not Christ, nor the Angels in Heaven knows of this day and hour. The Rapture aside, I truly don’t want you, nor anyone else to miss it. The Tribulation is for those who really don’t have the faith. It’s not a matter of knowlege, or smarts, it’s pure faith.

I’ve read some of your earlier posts on here, and you are such a P_ _ _ _ … Your tires are inflated well beyond your PSI rating. It’s clear to me that you’re really a self-absorbed wannabe intellect.

DemocracyChamp

June 15th, 2011
10:32 pm

Well said, @ Progressive Humanist and others! @s2K, I thought your quote deserved reiteration: “Part of our job as well-trained, sympathetic professionals is to provide ALL students with a place they can learn free of harassment and fear.” Well said, and I couldn’t agree more. It is incredibly important that these clubs and supportive spaces exist for LGBTQ students. Nearly two-thirds (61.1%) of students reported that they felt unsafe in school because of their sexual orientation. 29.1% of LGBT students missed a class at least once and 30.0% missed at least one day of school in the past month because of safety concerns, compared to only 8.0% and 6.7%, respectively, of a national sample of secondary school students. And this doesn’t even cover the increased suicides by victimized LGBTQ students. ( http://www.glsen.org/cgi-bin/iowa/all/library/record/2624.html?state=research&type=research )

The good news is that these clubs drastically improve these sad statistics. It is our duty as professionals to provide this to our students, no matter what our personal views are.

HS Math Teacher

June 15th, 2011
10:34 pm

To heck with this: There’s no winning here. No one can be shamed when you don’t have a moral base, or you think you know everything. All you have is a little bit of an accumulation of what MAN knows. One day, we will all know. Like the old doctor from Macon once said….

Progressive Humanist

June 15th, 2011
10:38 pm

So since you’re a math teacher (to use the term loosely), I’m assuming you can do some math. If the world is 6,000 years old, does that mean that humans rode around on dinosaurs like Fred Flintstone about 5,500 years ago? Or did Satan just plant all those bones here to lead men astray? Please let me know the truth of the matter. (Oh, and faith is just willful ignorance, staying stupid because you want to.)

You clearly don’t understand the link between biology and psychology, which is where the evidence for the origins of homosexuality lies. (You don’t understand a lot actually.) But you don’t have to believe me. It’s the position of the American Psychological Association, the American Psychiatric Association, and the American Medical Association that homosexuality is a natural, biologically determined sexual orientation, one that happens throughout nature. But I guess we all need to disregard the professional opinions of those “nut jobs” and instead take the opinion of a 55-year-old overweight Bocephus math teacher from south Georgia who still thinks he’s a tough guy (snicker…). Sounds reasonable to me.

HS Math Teacher

June 15th, 2011
10:46 pm

Hey Dr. Pungent: You still did not read, or acknowledge, where I stated that no one knows for sure. Maybe people are born into it; however, if I’m not mistaken, the issue here is the defense of an on-campus Gay-Straight Club being sanctioned, or sponsored by public schools. I did not initially come on here with my major point being that homosexuals are what they are by choice. Go back & read, DOCTOR Pungent Humus. You are such a freaking idiot.

Progressive Humanist

June 15th, 2011
10:59 pm

You’re taking a beating here. You might as well take your rear end to bed; it’s well past your bed time anyway. But just for amusement, I’ll toy with you a little more.

How did Noah get the penguins, polar bears, and kangaroos on the ark? I’m assuming he airlifted them by helicopter?

And my point is that we DO know for sure about the origins of homosexuality. Research had provided the evidence even if you want to continue denying it.

And as far as me being a P—-, here’s an equation for you, math teacher: I’m 6′0″ 225, 36 inch waste, can still bench 300, still run 3 miles twice a week, I’m a former heavyweight boxer and ju-jitsu fighter. None of that’s a lie. Now you do the math.

Progressive Humanist

June 15th, 2011
11:02 pm

The answer is C) God wouldn’t be there to help you.

HS Math Teacher

June 15th, 2011
11:07 pm

Good night, Dr. Pungent…that’s not bad! I’m 5′11″ 235, and can bench 350 (400 in college). I jog (I don’t lie) 3 miles/day. Ju-jitsu? Pretty good, Dr. Pungent! I think that cologne went out with Hi Karate in ‘73.

Progressive Humanist

June 15th, 2011
11:15 pm

I accept your surrender.

HS Math Teacher

June 15th, 2011
11:22 pm

Geez. I don’t know… This is tough. You have a Ph.D. (it doesn’t matter what in – it’s impressive) and I have a Masters in Business Adm. & Math Ed. You’re 6 feet, and I’m 5-11. You’re 225, and I’m 235 (a little belly fat going there). How ’bout an armistice…like at Panmunjon in ‘53?

Progressive Humanist

June 15th, 2011
11:28 pm

Ed. Psych. But I got you because I’m still in my 30’s and you’re in your 50’s.

Truce for tonight. Until we battle next time.

HS Math Teacher

June 15th, 2011
11:33 pm

Good enough.

Arne Duncan to nation

June 16th, 2011
2:14 am

s2k

June 16th, 2011
8:48 am

@ HSMT – You “forewent” the link I suggested you visit. Shocked? Nope. I would have 100% more respect for you as a teacher (and human) if you held fast to your own beliefs even after becoming more educated/less ignorant of the views of others. That’s what good teachers do – they learn, they synthesize, they share.

There were 16 junior girls who got pregnant at my HS last fall (last fall ALONE). I taught a freshman girl in 2005 who already had a 2-year-old. The student was 14 when I taught her (shudder). Last year one of my honors kids was busted for having sex with her boyfriend in the woods behind the school (you caught that right? HONORS). Four years ago a freshman girl was caught in the boys bathroom with two boys, giving them o— sex. So no, kids don’t need a sex club – most of them have figured it out on their own. ASIDE: I just realized that in my 8 years at this particular high school, never has a same-sex couple been caught on campus having any sort of sex. Huh. Interesting.

If you’d followed any of the links I’d provided, you’d learn that such groups and organizations foster inclusion, helping adolescents see they have far more in common than they’d think – as they’re separated by clothing brands and lunch tables. When kids see they’re all in “life” together, they have a common goal/purpose. They stop infighting and start achieving together. There’s no sex involved. It’s seeing that the X clique member next to you is going through the same things you are – you’re on the same side. You have support. You’ll make it through high school. It gets better.

Bowie, “Changes:” — “…And these children that you spit on as they try to change their worlds, they are immune to your consultations, they’re quite aware of what they’re going through…”

PS – your remark, “It’s funny how all you “guys” are up on homosexuality.” Umm, derp?! I’m a woman. And I’m not “up on” anything sexual. What I am “up on” is working stridently to create a safe space where kids can learn and express themselves without fear of reprisals from peers. Once all kids are comfortable with themselves and their classmates, the level of learning and conversation that takes place is incredible. And THAT is what school is all about. Best of luck to you.

V for Vendetta

June 17th, 2011
9:03 am

I don’t think there’s any more to say here. HS Math Teacher has shown himself to be a short, middle-aged, uneducated sad sack who obviously enjoys living in the past.

I’m looking forward to the rapture. Then all the annoying religious folks will finally disappear and the rest of us can relax and have a good time.