1. Students accused of being lesbians are expelled from a religious private school in California…
I’ve been trying for days to decide what to say about this bizarre story. (Which I learned about at Feministing. There’s some good stuff in the comments, some of which informed this post.) Read the whole thing, otherwise this post won’t make as much sense as it could.
A private religious high school can expel students it believes are lesbians because the school isn’t covered by California civil rights laws, a state appeals court has ruled.
All right, here we go.
Even if the organisation in question is a private religious school, it is still a business. I don’t know California law quite that well, but private schools must still register as businesses, I assume. Also, the school is almost definitely taking money and tax benefits from the government. But the Fourth District Court of Appeal in San Bernardino says that the school is a social organisation and is thus exempt from anti-discrimination laws.
Even if, as Justice Betty Richli says, the ‘whole purpose of sending one’s child to a religious school is to ensure that he or she learns even secular subjects within a religious framework,’ this is a strawargument. Having lesbians enrolled in a school wouldn’t stop or alter the ability of the school to provide a religious framework for their offered studies. And I’m not at all convinced of what Justice Richli says. I strongly believe, and I know religious school principals who’d back me up in an instant, that the main purpose of schooling, religious or secular, is education and the primary responsibility of educators is to ensure the safety of the students. But sexual orientation is apparently held relevant.
Even if sexual orientation was relevant, and they’re lesbians, neither of the students committed an offence. They didn’t damage school property in a wild spray-painting spree of marking their initials and lovehearts on the science block. And, seeing as we’re terming lesbianism itself bad, there’s no evidence that either of them are lesbians or for that matter bisexual, heterosexual, pansexual, label-rejecting or whatever. But supposedly being accused of being a lesbian is a wrongdoing, because they were still kicked out of school.
Even if the students did anything wrong, it’s hypocrisy on the part of the school to expel them: the school isn’t abiding by its own principles.
A) Christianity, even as practised by those who believe that homosexuality is bad, basically emphasises that faith in Jesus is of greater importance, that is, more in one’s favour, than sin is a mark against one. From the little I know of Wisconsin Evangelical Lutheran Synod, a denomination based in Lutheranism and with which the school is affiliated, it doesn’t deviate from this. Christianity emphasises forgiveness and no attempt was made to change the students’ hearts, minds or behaviour. Not that they were caught at anything that would merit such attempts. They were just expelled. The same would not be true had they stolen or lied. There’s no reason that I know of that sexual behaviour or inclination might be held special. In any case, there’s no mention of love the sinner, hate the sin.
B) The school website features a mission statement. You’ll note that ‘counseling, encouragement, and loving Christian discipline,’ for three, were not offered the students.
But apparently that’s all okay.
Even if all this is fine and dandy, a public outing is not in keeping with respectful and safety-conscious behaviour with regard to those in one’s care. Privacy should be respected, as well as the truth.
Even if they are raging horny dykes disturbing your sensibilities, they’re both deserving of an education.
Even if all this is true, it’s dragged on for years. These students have been put through so much.
This is not what Jesus would do.
Look, one of the reasons I delayed posting this was because I wasn’t too sure of it. It leaves out a lot, I’m frustrated, and, as I’ve mentioned, my brain is tired.
… 2. Afghan girls are attacked with acid for going to school…
“My parents told me to keep coming to school even if I am killed,” said Shamsia, 17, in a moment after class. Shamsia’s mother, like nearly all of the adult women in the area, is unable to read or write. “The people who did this to me don’t want women to be educated. They want us to be stupid things.”
No no no no no.
Those students are extraordinarily brave.
I get tears in my eyes every time I read about Shamsia Husseini, but her eyes are blurred by acid and she reads with difficulty.
Read more about acid attack survivors at The Dawn Chorus.
…3. What I’m trying to say is
No. No one should be scared to go to school. There is nothing about one’s gender or sexual orientation or age or any aspect of their identity that would render them unworthy of education. Education helps us become wiser, more open to ideas, richer of spirit: better. No educator, no student, no member of the public has the moral authority to stop innocent students expanding their world. My education, past, future and ongoing, is very precious to me and I will fiercely advocate so that others have theirs. If you’re being bullied or assaulted or otherwise prevented from getting an education, believe me, I am regularly engaging in action to back you up. This is basic. There is no room for movement here. Nothing. No.