I’m not going to get into a lot of background. Read the original article by clicking here.
Free speech and privacy rights. Apparently these inalienable, constitutional rights do not apply to this 18 year old, Valedictorian that also happens to be gay. He is old enough to enlist in the military and kill for his country or travel the world or take out a credit card but not to speak freely and openly about his life at the time and place of his choosing.
Understand, I am not unsympathetic to the schools argument. The clothing issue, the supposed name calling or ridicule is not okay and are reasonable enough grounds for excluding his speech.
Having spent a bit of time in schools I know young people often lack foresight about how decisions and choices may have lifelong implications. The role of an educator is not to choose the life of their students but to teach them the critical thinking skills necessary to choose their life and the maturity to accept the consequences.
And then hope for the best.
The role of an educator certainly isn’t to make the choices for them. Students, and our children, are not property. Free will applies to the eight year old, eighteen year old and to the forty-eight year old school administrator.
Being free to choose our life is what makes it our life. Even when we are making a mess of life, it is still our mess.
I have many concerns about the School Administrator’s choice and the Administration’s defense of outing this student, denying his right to freedom of speech and dismissing his motivations as sinister.
One of which is why his choice of being open about a component of his personal identity is perceived as “pushing a personal agenda on a captive audience.” Is openly talking about being gay pushing a “personal agenda”?
I cannot help but read the school’s explanation and think they would have been more honest and say, “we have no problem if he is queer but we don’t want him to be a role model for young people that might be attending the graduation ceremony…like ick. Right?”
If he was going to stand up and talk about his desire to work for social justice, would that have been acceptable? What about joining the military and defending the motherland? Would that have been more appropriate? Could he have talked about how he believed in a specific dogma and how it moves his life? I’m sure all these topics would have been allowed because they are socially acceptable.
Aren’t these topics, or a thousand other topics, not also personal? Are they not also personal agendas?
I simply do not understand why being gay is so offensive to people that we want human beings to remain hidden and ashamed of their identity. The school, in an authoritarian misstep, censored freedom of speech and invaded the legal privacy of a grown man in an attempt to contain a message they thought was inappropriate.
What actually happened is society is once again forced to endure a self-serving, whine from the minority of intolerant trolls opposed to seeing human beings that are also gay as human beings. The trolls will cry that talking about a personal truth is also pushing an agenda. They will quote a god in defense of their intolerance. They will misinterpret and misquote science as justification for denying a human being freedom to express themselves. They will whine their intolerance is being met with intolerance.
They will cry they are the victim to some mass conspiracy of libertards, feminazis, communist, queer atheists.
Still not clear what the agenda might be, except maybe, that “I’m a human being that happens to be gay and I shouldn’t be ashamed of who I am so I’m going to stop pretending to be something I’m not so you can be comfortable. Your comfort is not my responsibility. Your approval is not necessary.”
How is that not inspiring? How is a message of courage and honesty not a positive message for an audience of people getting ready to leave the safe confines of school and learn to navigate the world?
Many parents and educators want our kids to be brave and courageous and make the world a better place.
Standing in front of an audience of your family, friends and peers and stating a personal truth is not pushing an agenda. It is an act of brave honesty. It makes the world a better place.