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The Hidden War Against Gay Teens

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Yet another reason why I shake my head at ed. reformers who support vouchers/private schools/"school choice". As if there weren't enough reasons already, just from an educational standpoint.

But it's not all bleak. I recently moved from a big city to live and teach in a middle-of-nowhere rural town in "God's Country" ("...because He's the only one that would want it," to quote my neighbors) - the kind of town that has one gas station, one school, one grocery store, one diner, five churches, and way more cows than humans. I'm in the middle school, but we regularly hear about high schoolers coming out, and it's not a big deal - the kids are cool with it, the teachers/admins are cool with it, etc. Sometimes the parents aren't very cool with it, but they know better than to do anything stupid like beat the kid or toss them out, because in a small town like this, that'd bring the wrath of all your neighbors down on you. I've even been to a few of the churches, since I teach the preachers' kids, and they invite me. For the most part, they're doing religion right - using it as a way to create a support system within the community, rather than using it to exclude those who don't fit in the community. I mean, hell, if they'll have ME - a self-professed eccentric from the big city with a "yankee" accent who teaches their kids about science, of all things - they'll have anybody.

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Thanks, EleCivil! I'll admit that I read that article and felt sick in my stomach. I did recognise, however, that the article didn't indicate what percentage of private schools were along the lines of what the article was all about. I had the impression that it's a significant percentage (which is why I felt sick), but I also recognise that I don't know that much about schooling in the USA and my impression may be wildly wrong. It's good to hear of a counter example from a rural environment.

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I should add that I'm not at a private school - a large number of private schools are religious in nature, and include such morality clauses. As a kid, my parents considered sending me to one that would expell you if you were caught listening to secular music, watching secular movies, or generally doing anything that did not directly involve God. Luckily, I convinced them to let me stay in public school.

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Many, but not all, of our private and chartered schools here are religious in nature, and have morality clauses of various types. Even more annoying to folks like me is that we have, in my and in many jurisdictions, two parallel public school systems. The public school system, and the catholic school system. Both are funded through taxes. Parents choose which system their child will attend.

Obviously, if I happened to be a Hindu, or a Buddhist, or a Bahá'ís, or what have you, I would and should have a valid argument for why my child couldn't receive equal funding for their education in my religion.

How the funding works is this: during the census every few years, you mark down if you support the public or the catholic system. Funding for the systems is calculated based on the proportions for each.

Again, one can quickly see the flaws in this system. Not to mention the wasted resources of having two complete, but competing, publicly funded systems in the same city.

In any case, students (and staff to a large degree) face this sort of discrimination all the time in the publicly funded catholic school system. Sigh.

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I think it's offensive to call these places Christian schools. I have several friends who are very knowledgeable about religion and the bible and are Christians themselves, and they abhor the idea that exclusion, judgment and shame are the foundations of these schools. They say Jesus would indeed weep, that his message, his teachings, are being perverted by these places. He was someone who helped the weak, the needy, the sequestered components of his society. That's was the basis for his religion. That's what being Christian is supposedly all about, loving thy neighbor, even if his skin is another color or his partner is of his same sex. That's Christianity.

Can these schools meet that qualification?


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I dealt with the same thing in college.

As long as I didn't identify or wear the rainbow t-shirt, it was all good. Fine- Got my degree and got away.

Once you are out, all bets are off. I was declined admittance to their graduate school when I applied a few years later.

The school has been an off and on battleground between the school and gay Christian groups (Soulforce).

In the past, the college used to expel gay students and hired private investigators to keep an eye on gay bars and report any students that showed up there.

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That's an awful story. My brother and sister-in-law send both their kids to a private Catholic school, and I'm not happy about it for that very reason: they're discriminatory schools filling the kids's heads with dogmatic crap. But they're their kids, not mine, plus I know their in-laws pay for it, so that's 90% of their reasoning.

I bet it would be possible in some areas to file a discrimination case against the school, which would challenge the school's right of freedom of religion vs. the ability to be bigoted against gay people. I can see some states where this case could not win right at the moment, sadly.

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There's a story making the rounds now about a teacher of 19 years who was fired from a Catholic school when her (female) partner's name was printed along with hers in her mother's obituary. A parent called and complained, so they canned her.


A lot of the stories are saying that she was fired for "marrying" her partner, but that doesn't seem like the case - there's no same-sex marriage in Ohio - the Bishop says that she had "a quasi-spousal relationship".

It's bullshit, of course, but there's no legal recourse - the school is privately owned and funded, and therefore permitted to discriminate based on religious grounds.

I get it. Picture this: You're a (bigotted, ridiculous) religious parent, and you're willing to pay tens of thousands of dollars a year to cloister your kid away from the evils of the secular world...only to find out that even within the private system, humans are still human, and some of them are different from you. DAMN. So you write to the boss and complain, saying "Get this sinner away from my innocent little angel, or I'll stop giving you tens of thousands of dollars."

It's the free market at work. There's a market for discrimination, so someone is going to sell it. Hooray for captialism, right?

Full disclosure:

I attended a private Catholic university. Not for the religion - I was raised Baptist, and by the time I hit college, I was firmly agnostic - but that particular school had a reputation for having the best education department in the area. If your teaching resume had that university's name on it, your resume got shuffled to the top of the stack, and all that. However, the university allowed openly gay instructors, openly atheist instructors, and in fact, one of my favorite professors was from India and was a practicing Hindu. Come to think of it, one education professor was flamboyantly gay - gay as a tangerine! - and would perform drag shows to raise money for Planned Parenthood. Kind of everything the hardcore Catholics hated, but he was still on staff. They were also okay with officially recognizing student LGBT organizations on campus. So, hey - progress.

After that, because all my education connections were nuns, I ended up briefly (VERY BRIEFLY) teaching in a private Catholic high school. It was awful. First, because I hate teaching high school - middle school is where the challenge lies. But then I had to lead the class in prayers, and the curriculum was all very bland and Bibley. In my contract, it spelled out that I could be fired for "behaviors not in line with Catholic teachings" - in other words, if I was found to be gay, or, for that matter, straight, but sleeping with a woman to whom I was not married, I would be fired instantly. Usually, teachers run from the inner-city ghetto to the Catholic schools, but I went the other way - top speed, and as soon as humanly possible.

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