Thursday, February 22, 2007

Tolerance: Inappropriate in Fort Wayne

Here's a story of basic human decency in darkest Indiana:

Sophomore Megan Chase wrote an opinion piece – her first for the [school] newspaper – that appeared in the Jan. 19 issue of the Woodlan Tomahawk that questioned people who believe it’s wrong to be gay or lesbian. Chase said she wrote the piece after a friend disclosed to her he was gay.

“I can only imagine how hard it would be to come out as homosexual in today’s society,” Chase wrote. “I think it is so wrong to look down on those people, or to make fun of them, just because they have a different sexuality than you. There is nothing wrong with them or their brain; they’re just different than you.”
...and of the efforts of school officials to crush it:
A student editorial in the Woodlan Junior-Senior High School newspaper calling for more tolerance for gays and lesbians sparked the principal to seek approval of each edition before it goes to print and issue a written warning against the journalism teacher....

Principal Edwin Yoder wrote a letter to the newspaper staff and journalism teacher Amy Sorrell insisting he sign off on every issue. Sorrell and the students contacted the Student Press Law Center, an advocacy group for student newspapers, which advised them to appeal the decision.

Last week, Yoder issued Sorrell a written warning for insubordination and not carrying out her responsibilities as a teacher. He accused her of exposing Woodlan students, who are in grades seven through 12, to inappropriate material and said if she did not comply with his orders she could be fired.
Inappropriate material. Advance Indiana has the full text of the editorial (scroll down). Go read it and see if you can tell any better than I can what the 'inappropriate' part is. The part where she says homosexuality is not a disease? Where she says it's unfair for religion to condemn people to hell for something that isn't a choice? Where she says being homosexual doesn't make a person inhuman?

The journalism teacher and students are fighting it, with help from the Student Press Law Center. Meanwhile, the Fort Wayne Community School District "encourages [us] to comment or ask questions", so if you have any comments or questions be sure to drop them a line. Update: As Matt points out in comments, it's actually the East Allen County School District, not Fort Wayne. My mistake.

(Hat tip: Shakespeare's Sister.)

[Cross-posted at Property of a Lady]