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Author Topic: Teacher Suspended for "gay" article.  (Read 4415 times)

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Offline Nicholas

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Re: Teacher Suspended for "gay" article.
« Reply #25 on: November 03, 2009, 01:29:00 AM »
Talk of Christianity isn't banned from school either.  It's discussed in a historical context all the time.  We read early Christian literature (Dante's Inferno, Paradise Lost, etc).  Evangelizing is banned from school; just as trying to convert people to the homosexual agenda is, and should be, banned from school.

I am aware that it might be a bit off topic, but I do feel the urge to step in here, because there is no 'converting' people, and there is no 'gay agenda' either.
Homosexual people as a whole fight for their rights, as human beings. Nothing more, nothing less. A person cannot be 'converted' into a lifestyle.

Of course, I am not trying to raise a discussion now, I merely felt the need to state my opinion, being a gay man myself.

-Nic

Offline Jude

Re: Teacher Suspended for "gay" article.
« Reply #26 on: November 03, 2009, 11:53:50 AM »
That... is an agenda.  Just as there was a minority agenda.  etc.

I think your issue was with a perceived tone (you probably thought I was using the term homosexual agenda in a pejorative way).  Which wasn't my intention.

Offline Oniya

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Re: Teacher Suspended for "gay" article.
« Reply #27 on: November 03, 2009, 12:38:08 PM »
That... is an agenda.  Just as there was a minority agenda.  etc.

I think your issue was with a perceived tone (you probably thought I was using the term homosexual agenda in a pejorative way).  Which wasn't my intention.

I would think that human rights would be a human agenda, but that's just me.

Offline Scott

Re: Teacher Suspended for "gay" article.
« Reply #28 on: November 03, 2009, 01:12:42 PM »
Let me clarify the project. The kids were given three controversial topics to choose from. This, abortion, and war. They were then to write an essay both for -and against- the opinions displayed in the article they had chosen. He supplied the three articles, and I don't have the other two. I was just talking to a friend on the phone about it, and wanted to clear that up a little bit.

I changed my mind, I don't think he should be fired... I can see writing essays for and against war, this is in the human realm of control. I can see writing essays for and against abortion, again this is in the human realm of control... But how exactly would you write an essay for or against homosexuality in the ANIMAL KINGDOM?. This to me was CLEARLY an attempt to cause controversy, and the fact he was is an English teacher rather than a science teacher only strengthens my thoughts on the matter. He plotted it so well... The gay community of course will back him, he sues the school for improper termination, and scores megabucks, and never has to work the rest of his life. FTW

Offline KotahTopic starter

Re: Teacher Suspended for "gay" article.
« Reply #29 on: November 03, 2009, 02:07:04 PM »
The assignment was to write essays for and against the articles.

Also, his wife, who I also had in school, was my honors science teacher. Not that it changes that he isn't a science teacher.

As far as the students opinions on this matter went. Last night, at the school board hearing, 3,000 students (not including myself and other former students) came to defend the teacher against the possibility of loosing his job.



After five hours of deliberations, the school board did not fire Mr. Delong.

edit to add: The fact that he supports gay rights is probably being overstated a bit here. When I had him, the only thing that even reflected his being friendly with homosexuality was the sticker he had for "safe room" on his door. Which several of my teachers had.
« Last Edit: November 03, 2009, 02:09:49 PM by Kotah »

Offline Trieste

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Re: Teacher Suspended for "gay" article.
« Reply #30 on: November 03, 2009, 02:33:27 PM »
I changed my mind, I don't think he should be fired... I can see writing essays for and against war, this is in the human realm of control. I can see writing essays for and against abortion, again this is in the human realm of control... But how exactly would you write an essay for or against homosexuality in the ANIMAL KINGDOM?. This to me was CLEARLY an attempt to cause controversy, and the fact he was is an English teacher rather than a science teacher only strengthens my thoughts on the matter. He plotted it so well... The gay community of course will back him, he sues the school for improper termination, and scores megabucks, and never has to work the rest of his life. FTW

Of course it was a controversial article. All of them are controversial topics. If he had picked a non-controversial topic, there would have been no for or against to write about. It would have been an expositional essay.

I mean, really.

Offline Ryven

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Re: Teacher Suspended for "gay" article.
« Reply #31 on: November 03, 2009, 02:43:31 PM »
I would think that human rights would be a human agenda, but that's just me.

Same here...

Offline Jude

Re: Teacher Suspended for "gay" article.
« Reply #32 on: November 03, 2009, 04:59:24 PM »
I'm confused, this whole arguing what to label it and all of that (which is completely peripheral to the issue) is just baffling to me.  Seems like semantics unless you're implying that my statement is incorrect and that http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gay_agenda should be taught in schools and Christianity should not?  That's exactly what I'm saying, so this must be where you're going with that, unless we're all getting sensitive over the term.  To be fair I didn't realize it had a pejorative context, so I'll be more careful with it in the future.
« Last Edit: November 03, 2009, 05:05:18 PM by Jude »

Offline Trieste

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Re: Teacher Suspended for "gay" article.
« Reply #33 on: November 03, 2009, 05:20:14 PM »
I'm confused, this whole arguing what to label it and all of that (which is completely peripheral to the issue) is just baffling to me.  Seems like semantics unless you're implying that my statement is incorrect and that http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gay_agenda should be taught in schools and Christianity should not?  That's exactly what I'm saying, so this must be where you're going with that, unless we're all getting sensitive over the term.  To be fair I didn't realize it had a pejorative context, so I'll be more careful with it in the future.

I think that part of the problem is that 'agenda' is sinister now in politics. When someone has an agenda, it's assumed to be a hidden, secret agenda. 'Agenda' may be technically a synonym for 'plan', but it is connotationally much more negative.

Offline Oniya

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Re: Teacher Suspended for "gay" article.
« Reply #34 on: November 03, 2009, 05:24:19 PM »
I think that part of the problem is that 'agenda' is sinister now in politics. When someone has an agenda, it's assumed to be a hidden, secret agenda. 'Agenda' may be technically a synonym for 'plan', but it is connotationally much more negative.

Agreed.  I'm against teaching agendas in school, and think they should focus on things like reading, writing and differential equations.

Offline Trieste

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Re: Teacher Suspended for "gay" article.
« Reply #35 on: November 03, 2009, 05:40:04 PM »

Offline Scott

Re: Teacher Suspended for "gay" article.
« Reply #36 on: November 04, 2009, 01:00:36 AM »
Of course it was a controversial article. All of them are controversial topics. If he had picked a non-controversial topic, there would have been no for or against to write about. It would have been an expositional essay.

I mean, really.

I didn't mean the essay subjects themselves, war and abortion are certainly controversial. I do fail to see how one can argue the "for and against" homosexuality in the animal kingdom. You can picket outside a dogs kennel all day and protest, but if Duke decides he want's to mount Lassie I doubt any political pressures, heated debates, logical reasoning, or protest chants are going to stop him. 

I DO however think that Mr. Delong chose a subject dealing with homosexuality deliberately to cause the controversy that landed him the suspension, and upset the parents and the school board. There are a thousand other controversial subjects of far greater magnitude than homosexuality in the animal kingdom, and yet he chose that subject... because? 
   

Offline Trieste

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Re: Teacher Suspended for "gay" article.
« Reply #37 on: November 04, 2009, 01:45:09 AM »
I don't understand where you're getting this image of teachers who go around dreaming up how they can get suspended. Things like this can ruin a career, and even the very worst teachers like getting a paycheck. I suspect you have a personal bias that you picked up along the way that's skewing things.

As far as the article, it's the same as picking an article that outlines why abortion is immoral, or why war is a necessary evil. It's still under debate as to whether homosexuality is an integral part of animal sexuality. Darwin's theory of sexual selection states one thing. Modern scientists are starting to move away from Darwin's original theory because of their hypotheses about observed behavior in animals.

Those hypotheses could be wrong. That is the debate.

And why choose abortion? Why choose war? Because they are current topics familiar to students and relevant to current events. If you don't think homosexuality is relevant to current events, then you apparently missed the Defense of Family Act (which Obama has been defending, by the by, quite recently), the recent drama in California (and Utah), and the massive gay rights rallies that are still happening all over the country.

You believe "there are a thousand other controversial subjects of far greater magnitude than homosexuality in the animal kingdom" because you are straight, Scott. Your civil rights with regard to your sex life and the person with whom you choose to spend the rest of your life are assured. Your spouse is guaranteed to be covered by any family insurance plan, and you don't have fundamental wackos telling you that your version of sex is an abomination against God. There may be other issues that are important to you, but what about gay students? What about students with gay parents or siblings or friends? Do you think that gay rights activists make up stories of discrimination just to garner sympathy?

All the above baggage aside, he wasn't even talking about humans. He wasn't talking about politics. He wasn't talking about any of the above crap that's been going on in the news. He assigned students a reading assignment having to do with female bonobos getting it on. Is that really something to even get suspended over, let alone lose your job? I don't think so.

Offline Kip

Re: Teacher Suspended for "gay" article.
« Reply #38 on: November 04, 2009, 01:54:14 AM »
I'm confused, this whole arguing what to label it and all of that (which is completely peripheral to the issue) is just baffling to me.  Seems like semantics unless you're implying that my statement is incorrect and that http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gay_agenda should be taught in schools and Christianity should not?  That's exactly what I'm saying, so this must be where you're going with that, unless we're all getting sensitive over the term.  To be fair I didn't realize it had a pejorative context, so I'll be more careful with it in the future.

You're right - it is peripheral to the issue but, as you have already agreed with, it can be taken in a pejorative context and, as Trieste has said, agenda in the political sense (and as detailed in the wiki link you gave) defines something hidden, sneaky and sinister.  People, particularly within the LGBT community, are sensitive over the term for these reasons and you can see that in the responses here. 

More importantly - at no point did anyone who questioned the use of term assert that Christianity should not be taught in the schools.  While Christianity and religion has been discussed in this thread, it was referred to or part of the side debate over the 'Gay Agenda'.  Taking into account that I'm from Australia where things are slightly different in a cultural and political sense, I believe that religion (all religion) as a subject has educational value in our schools and that the term 'gay agenda' as described in the article you referenced just doesn't exist - it's a conspiracy theory.  It assumes a vast organisation between disparate individuals who have amazingly precise and similar goals.

From the perspective of someone who considers themselves part of the LGBT community, who majored in Animal Behaviour and Ecology and was the child of very religious teachers, I have an interest in many sides of this debate.  Personally, have no problems with the use of the article.  Yes, it's controversial.  It was however a critical thinking assignment - the students could use the oppotunity to analyse what was being said, do their research and challenge assertions within the text.  A controversial topic is fantastic for that purpose because a hypothesis may be invalid as a result of bias in either direction - there are numerous ways that the critical nature of the task could be achieved from both scientific and sociological points of view.

Edit :
If the teacher was part of this 'Gay Agenda' hypothesis, I would think that he would have given them an article arguing against same-sex marriage or homosexuality or something similar.  If he was smart, it would be a perfect opportunity to get his students to find critical fault in the arguments against it. 

Just a thought.....
« Last Edit: November 04, 2009, 01:58:11 AM by Kip »

Offline Nicholas

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Re: Teacher Suspended for "gay" article.
« Reply #39 on: November 04, 2009, 01:54:58 AM »
Thank you very much Trieste and Kip!
I agree wholeheartedly on your last comments.
There is nothing more I could add, because you two seriously said it all.
Again, thank you. :-)
« Last Edit: November 04, 2009, 01:57:12 AM by Nicholas »

Offline Scott

Re: Teacher Suspended for "gay" article.
« Reply #40 on: November 04, 2009, 02:24:52 AM »
Your right Trieste. There's something in me that won't allow me to believe this man thought his subject matter choices were innocent examples of controversy, and assigned purely for the purposes of enriching these children's critical thinking skills.

I think the lines blurred in this conversation between homosexuality in the animal kingdom, and homosexuality in the human world, and I wish they hadn't.

P.S. That is still the most beautiful avatar I've ever seen on Elliquiy : ) 

Offline Gami

Re: Teacher Suspended for "gay" article.
« Reply #41 on: November 04, 2009, 02:46:38 AM »
Interesting. I'm very confused by the fact that he chose...

...War
...Abortion
...Homosexuality in the animal kingdom.

Am I missing something here? I don't mind homosexuality at all. But I'm going to be honest when I say that the third topic does not make for a very good argumentative essay/report of any kind. It seems far too much of a biology assignment.

As for the article appearing in English class and not Science, I'll just lay it out that the other two articles belong as little in English class as the third one. Then again, in my English class, we've talked about fighters for human rights (like Ghandi). I wrote an essay about Martin Luther King, Jr. and the civil rights movement. In my opinion, a topic like that belongs more in History class or Socia studies. Not so much English.

But I'm still confuffled over the "controversial" article. (In my eyes it's not controversial. I know that it is to lots of people, and I don't need to go on about the conservatism of USA.) I mean, would you have managed to write arguments for and against with an article like that? I know I wouldn't.
« Last Edit: November 04, 2009, 02:47:39 AM by Gami »

Offline kylie

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Re: Teacher Suspended for "gay" article.
« Reply #42 on: November 04, 2009, 04:57:37 AM »
Your right Trieste. There's something in me that won't allow me to believe this man thought his subject matter choices were innocent examples of controversy, and assigned purely for the purposes of enriching these children's critical thinking skills.
 
 
     The assignment was to produce various debate positions, which makes it doubly odd to me that you would use this as a standard of proper education...  "Innocent examples of controversy" ?  Where could we find such things?  In the social sciences, real controversy means prior positions and conflicting interests.  What are your conditions for maintaining innocence or purity?  This is a time when Obama speaks of repealing "don't ask don't tell" and asks Congress to repeal the Defense of Marriage Act.  These are whole institutions that seek to bar gays from public life and federal funds.  They are institutions that cultural conservatives claim are reasonable, often, based upon a notion that same-sex acts are somehow unnatural and therefore undesirable or morally reprehensible.  That is just one sort of demand for social "purity" and the "protection" of childhood from awareness of difference.

     Both the conservatives and the gay rights movement have often tended to seek some kind of proof that sexual orientations simply must serve a function "in the wild" as it were.  At this particular level of the debate, neither side precisely speaks about personal values or choice -- except the value of submitting to nature.  How we all gather when Nature is speaking and not nature through People, is a potentially curious part (see Bible thread perhaps? heh).  The LGBT as a movement want to find proof in their genes or brains or among peacocks; the conservatives want to find it in studies of longevity and stress levels among heterosexual, ideally praying couples etc.  (Just to grab a couple examples there.)  Now, in this context...   Given that there are many same-sex acts, if you will, in the animal world.  This actuality has been cited to challenge a normative discourse shared among lots of fundamentalist Judeo-Christianity and modern "traditional science" (Darwin, Kraft-Ebing etc.) that sex acts are "naturally" all about biological reproduction.

     If you think that is apples and oranges - that humans are (bear with skepticism) not sexually at all "animal," then you already have suggested something for students to debate with.  Or would you say they are simply too naive to argue with such an article, whatever its failings, and therefore they must be protected from it?  I would say that what exactly the contradiction between the conservative and gay rights claims about "sex in nature" could mean socially, or why certain parts of those facts might be important in the present, are certainly open to debate.  Since it is all about producing debate points, I think you also could allow that students might not simply recite points in the article.  They may bring in some other concepts from their own experience or elsewhere in trying to add or subtract from specific, tiny points implied by the article.  They might, for example, shrug off the gay scientist for failing to cover something important to them.  (What about say, changing orientations, or personal choice?) 

Quote
I think the lines blurred in this conversation between homosexuality in the animal kingdom, and homosexuality in the human world, and I wish they hadn't.
     Here, I think you're onto something that the term "homosexuality" is tossed around unscientifically by everyone.  In an informed society, this would not be surprising.  But we learn about rhetoric by batting around such topics.  And science itself often must skirt present unknowables -- thus, the importance of debating which facts are technically unobtainable, and which topics are being socially hidden (again: too bad about purity). 

     The clinical term "homosexual" has a specific, narrow history in Euro-American science: Along with "pervert," homosexual was intended to mark people who did not maintain prescribed industrial families for the state as not only "different" but certifiably bad.  That is the "deviant" of Kraft-Ebing and Darwin's age, and the history of American sexology is centrally concerned with facing up to that.  This lesson would be more sophisticated if a few pages of Foucault, Kraft-Ebing, Darwin, Spencer, Freud, etc. were introduced.  But our "innocent" young are thought only capable or worthy of such ideas in college...  And assuming they catch a bit of the news, this article deals with current issues that may catch their attention for a time such that they focus on the assignment.  (Ditto for war and abortion.)  That is contrary to the newspaper indictment of a teacher merely "allowing" them to read it as if otherwise, nothing of the kind would ever have brushed with their fragile young minds.  Everyone knows kids are not interested in sex or orientation, right. [/rhetorical, sarcastic]

     There is plenty of controversy around various spins on "homosexuality" (or just orientation) for high school English students to find some interesting ways of debating.  The article itself suggests that one might choose to back a revision of evolutionary theory, rather than the more radical reading of other animals as "homosexual."  And students should really be encouraged at all points to ask themselves, what choices have not been mentioned in each of these positions.  The overall focus on nature rather than society (or even, personal choice) leaves all sorts of gaps for a student to pick at or buttress various parts.  It takes reading the whole article and seriously thinking about it.  This is perhaps ambitious for the average high school class...  But, I think college-bound seniors should be able to begin asking questions and to imagine what kind of arguments here work or fail for them.   
« Last Edit: November 04, 2009, 05:18:11 AM by kylie »

Offline Vekseid

Re: Teacher Suspended for "gay" article.
« Reply #43 on: November 04, 2009, 08:14:31 AM »
Your right Trieste. There's something in me that won't allow me to believe this man thought his subject matter choices were innocent examples of controversy, and assigned purely for the purposes of enriching these children's critical thinking skills.

Sounds like the teacher did his job perfectly and should be commended.

Offline Gami

Re: Teacher Suspended for "gay" article.
« Reply #44 on: November 04, 2009, 09:42:04 AM »
Sounds like the teacher did his job perfectly and should be commended.

I'm going to disagree with you. In my opinion,  "homosexuality in the animal kingdom" does not make for a very good argumentative assignment. At least not if you're basing the assignment off an article :P

Offline KotahTopic starter

Re: Teacher Suspended for "gay" article.
« Reply #45 on: November 04, 2009, 11:37:35 AM »
To perhaps clear up a little more, I did an assignment like this when I had him in English class. Since I know the teacher personally, as I had him and his wife in both honors English and honors science.

When I was a junior, (our honors English class was junior year, or school had a program where students that passed could take there first year of collage English at the local collage senior year) I had an assignment very much like this critical thinking one.

I can't remember all the articles, however, the one that I did my assignment on was the catholic church ( the pope came into the area around that time, so there was a surplus of articles on the topic). One of my papers was on how The pope, as a religious leader was determent to the working class struggle (take what you get, and god will give you heaven sort of view point). I don't have the article he assigned anymore. One of the other articles was on Brian Denakke (sp?) the kid that was more or less beaten to death because of the way he dressed.

I assume the assignment I had, and this assignment are the same, and that he picks new topics every year.

Online Serephino

Re: Teacher Suspended for "gay" article.
« Reply #46 on: November 04, 2009, 08:34:06 PM »
If I read everything correctly, the assignment was to read an article, then write an argument for or against what was in the article.  So yes, a student could easily write a persuasive argument on whether or not the article writer's theory was a good one, or if he was full of crap.

I think I would've liked having this guy as a teacher.  One thing I really hated in high school was being treated like I was a naive idiot.  I hate to burst everyone's bubble, but I started watching porn at like 14, and wrote my first erotic story at 15. 

One thing that really annoyed me happened in my Shakespeare class.  For whatever reason we watched the movie Shakespeare in love.  At the beginning there's a scene where he's having sex with a woman.  It only lasts like a minute, but the teacher felt the need to stop the tape and fast forward through it.  She went too far, and it I swear it took like 5 minutes for her to find the spot right after the sex scene.  And if I remember right there isn't even any nudity.  This was a class of Juniors and Seniors too, and I remember thinking why in the hell can't she just show a bunch of 17 and 18 year olds a minute of a guy's ass going up and down under a bed sheet....  I mean good lord, most of the students in that class probably had had sex themselves by then. 

Offline Rhapsody

Re: Teacher Suspended for "gay" article.
« Reply #47 on: November 04, 2009, 09:35:38 PM »
They kicked the influence of Christianity (in any form) out of the schools. The influence of Homosexuality (in any form) should be kicked out of the schools with just as much vigor. Can't we let them learn the periodic tables, and go to Friday night football games in peace?

I'll believe that Christianity is out of the school system when they stop requiring teachers to teach creationism alongside evolution.

Quote
The teacher should have been suspended, he without a doubt knew this would be a controversial subject, and chose to throw the rock in the pool regardless.

He also had articles about abortion and war in the assignment, and it was the student's choice what they wanted to write about.  Not to mention he wasn't pushing forth any agenda -- the assignment was to write a paper arguing both for AND against the issue chosen.  This also isn't a teacher of fifth-graders.  He teaches grade 10 and 12 students.  Like it or not, these are things that affect the world today.  When I was in grade 10, they were teaching us about terrorism as global and social issues.  Should my teacher have been suspended because he provided us with articles and assignments about terrorist cultures, agendas and motives?

Offline Oniya

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Re: Teacher Suspended for "gay" article.
« Reply #48 on: November 04, 2009, 09:39:31 PM »
I'll believe that Christianity is out of the school system when they stop requiring teachers to teach creationism alongside evolution.

 ;) As long as algebra is taught in school, there will be prayer in school. - Cokie Roberts ;)

To the annoyance of the teachers at my daughter's school, there is actually time set aside for a voluntary 'Religious Education' session once a week.  The number of students that 'opt-in' seems to be going down as she goes up in grade level, though.

Offline Scott

Re: Teacher Suspended for "gay" article.
« Reply #49 on: November 05, 2009, 01:11:17 AM »
I'll believe that Christianity is out of the school system when they stop requiring teachers to teach creationism alongside evolution.

He also had articles about abortion and war in the assignment, and it was the student's choice what they wanted to write about.  Not to mention he wasn't pushing forth any agenda -- the assignment was to write a paper arguing both for AND against the issue chosen.  This also isn't a teacher of fifth-graders.  He teaches grade 10 and 12 students.  Like it or not, these are things that affect the world today.  When I was in grade 10, they were teaching us about terrorism as global and social issues.  Should my teacher have been suspended because he provided us with articles and assignments about terrorist cultures, agendas and motives?

Ive never used the word "agenda" in this discussion, so if your going to quote me I'd rather you not use it either. I know this is wrong in society, but like it or not the majority of the America can accept people dying in wars, and babies being aborted, much faster than they can accept a teacher introducing such a topic as homosexuality in the animal kingdom which naturally, (and proven by the previous 40 something posts) leads to introducing homosexuality in the human kingdom to their children.

A parent's child... I'm more inclined to believe that a parent will always see their child as their baby from the instant it's born until it's 110. They do that, it's how it normally works. Normally this protection is a good thing, but when an educated teacher decides to introduce the topic of homosexuality to these parents children... He HAD to expect repercussions. It would be extremely naive of him not to.