Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Gillman Vs Holmes County School Board

Via Dispatches from the Culture Wars, a decision has been handed down ( read it here) in the Florida case of a school principal who went on a one-man witch hunt against student political expression at his school. David Davis, in responding to a complaint by a 12th grade student that others at the school had harassed her for being a lesbian, ridiculed and condemned her rather than taking action against her aggressors. He then called her parents and outed her to them (which nearly resulted in her being kicked out of her home), and drove her out of his office in tears. Real nice guy.

But that was only the start. Other students got wind of what happened and tried to simply show their support for her by wearing messages on their t-shirts and indulging in other mild forms of self expression (there was talk of walking out of an emergency "Morality Assembly" that Davis called, but nothing ever came of it). Davis called this activity membership in an "illegal/secret organization", and suspended several students for a week. A student named Heather Gillman, a friend of the original victim and cousin of another of Davis's targets, complained to the School Board, which basically told her to take a hike. So she sued, and won. Handily. The decision went entirely against the school board.

But all this has been covered elsewhere. The little tidbit that made me go "WTF?" can be found on page 4 of the complaint:
Following the assembly, Davis began investigating what had come to be known as the “Gay Pride” movement at the school. He interviewed approximately thirty students, interrogated them about their sexual orientations, and questioned them about their involvement in the planned walk-out of the assembly and their activities in relation to the movement. During those meetings, Davis instructed students who were homosexual not to discuss their sexual orientations. He also prohibited students from wearing rainbow belts or writing “Gay Pride” or “GP” on their arms and notebooks. He required students to wash “GP” or “Gay Pride” from their arms and hands and lifted the shirts of female students to verify that no such writings were present on their bodies.
So we have an adult male in an authority position, during a disciplinary process, singling out female students and partially disrobing them. And the Board didn't feel that this warranted any attention: not even a phone call to Davis to clarify what happened. I don't think either the investigation or the law suit went far enough here: this guy is not someone I would want around my daughter.

Update: Oh the irony. I never saw this part (HT: Pam's House Blend). According to Davis, it's OK to wear a Confederate flag. A symbol of a group of people who tried to destroy this nation isn't divisive or offensive. Supporting a friend, however, is.

I've said it before and I'm sure I'll say it again in the future: if homosexuals spent one tenth as much time thinking about gay sex as evangelical Christians do, homosexuals would never get anything done.

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