Saturday, April 30, 2005

Number 2 Pencil: Some students are more equal than others

When Freedom of Religion and Freedom of Speech clash...

Number 2 Pencil: Some students are more equal than others: "Some students are more equal than others

I have to agree with Lee on this one - a school that wants to make sure that only certain student groups can wear political/sexual t-shirts is a school that is mightily confused about free speech:

A student-led effort to oppose homophobia at Homewood-Flossmoor High School may have backfired Tuesday when hundreds of students donned shirts with Christian and anti-gay slogans. Student activists who wore shirts emblazoned with the words 'gay? fine by me' said they were outnumbered by peers wearing hateful messages and were targeted for harassment...

Students estimated more than 100 students wore anti-homophobia shirts, and more than 200 students wore shirts that listed 'Crimes committed against God.' The crimes included the elimination of school prayer and separation of church and state, but did not include anything about homosexuality.

Other male students wrote slogans on white T-shirts such as 'I hate gay people' and 'Gay? Not fine by me (unless you're a lesbian)' and 'Gay? More chicks for me,' students said.

The school's reaction? Three guesses, and the first two don't count:

Students...claimed teachers were reprimanded for distributing shirts with Christian messages...The event's organizers got permission Tuesday from the student council to recognize the school's gay support group as a club. Club status will allow the group to hold the T-shirt day next year without opposition, Norby said.

Everyone at school needs a lesson on the First Amendment (as it applies to freedom of speech and freedom of religion). Then the school should decide whether to honor everyone's right to their opinion (on a t-shirt), or no one's.

Oh, and they need to assign Animal Farm as required reading, too."

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