Thursday, April 10, 2008


We're very familiar with the story, and we're certain that a great many of you are, as well. After all, it's a common one, and it's been told time and time again, with different players being thrown into the starring roles. No matter how often you change the names and faces, the overall story is the same.

What story are we talking about? We're talking about a respected member of the community, and the trials that they have to face when everyone turns their back because of an admission. Sometimes it's an admission of a wrong-doing, such as gambling or an affair. Sometimes it's a declaration of their sexual orientation. Sometimes it's a love for the music of the BeeGees. Either way, those that come forward are quickly discarded by the people that need their support the most.

Why, just recently, a teacher in the Eau Claire, WI area was addressing some of her health students, and, in the spirit of honesty, admitted her sexual orientation. Naturally, the principal for the school stepped up, and, in light of the complaints from parents, proceeded to defend the statements of the teacher, and her right to do so in the first place. He even went so far as to praise her honesty.

Wait, what? Whatever happened to abandoning someone in one of their greatest times of need? After all, letting a secret like that out, especially to a group of students who hadn't asked the question yet (but were probably agonizingly close to doing so) can cause a person to need support. And yet, in most parts of America (and in many parts of the global community), instead of embracing the individual and supporting them through the time that they know they'll be ostracized, it's often the job of those in power to, for lack of a better term, "throw them under a bus". Did this principal learn nothing from those that tried to teach him?

It's also possible that this principal is taking the last syllable of his title a little too seriously. Sure, he can be buddy buddy with the teachers, but, when one says something so obviously inflammatory as to admit their sexual orientation, that's a time to make space for yourself. Unless, of course, the notion that someone admitting who they are and being open and honest with a group of impressionable children, children who might one day feel the desire to be open and honest themselves, is somehow not wrong and/or harmful to the way that this country has been run for at least the last decade or so.

Really, Mr. Principal. We expected more out of you. While we applaud you for going out on a limb to support someone for their honesty, we really thought that you would have a creative plan to alienate them.

And yet you couldn't even step forward and insist that this teacher place a padlock on their pants.

Shame, Mr. Principal. Shame on you for being so gosh-darned understanding and open about these things, and for trying to teach both your students and their parents a little compassion. Just imagine what could possibly happen if the tolerance that you preach spreads through the rest of the nation.

Just imagine.

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