An anti-gay rights group has purchased hourly radio spots to urge parents to keep their children home from school on Harvey Milk Day, which honors the gay rights pioneer.
Randy Thomasson, president of the SaveCalifornia.com, said the group bought more than 100 time slots for a radio ad in Los Angeles and Sacramento. It urges parents to “protect your children from Harvey Milk indoctrination,” by keeping them home from school on Wednesday.
“This is harmful to children,” Thomasson said. “This is not academic, it’s brainwashing.”
John O’Connor, executive director of the group Equality California, said the radio spots “expose homophobia” and “encourage discrimination.”
Milk served less than a year on the San Francisco Board of Supervisors as the first openly gay elected official in California before he was fatally shot in 1978 along with Mayor George Moscone by colleague Dan White. In 2009, the Legislature designated Milk’s birthday, May 22, as a “day of special significance.”
The law encourages schools to have “suitable commemorative exercises” to mark Milk’s life.
Assemblyman Tom Ammiano, the San Francisco Democrat who co-authored the law, called SaveCalifornia.com’s efforts “pathetic.”
from The Sacramento Bee
Archive for the ‘Gay School’ Category
An anti-gay rights group has purchased hourly radio spots to urge parents to keep their children home from school on Harvey Milk Day, which honors the gay rights pioneer.
“I’ve always known I was different. I knew I wasn’t like the other kids.”
That was Sierra Stambaugh’s realization growing up in Red Lion Area School District. About three years ago, she came to another realization, one that explained the nagging feeling.
“It was that I identified as a male,” Sierra said of being transgender.
Sierra cut her hair short, and her mom bought her men’s pants. She changed her name to Issak Wolfe and has used it ever since, with full parental support.
Issak Wolfe is a Red Lion Area Senior High School senior now.
After an initial period when some people were confused and a few teachers “gave me negative feedback,” he said most of his teachers and all his friends now call him Issak, and he’s had a generally positive experience being a transgender student in a rural high school. He hasn’t undergone surgery yet to complete the transformation, but plans on doing so soon.
That positive experience, he said, took a turn late last week.
Issak decided he wanted to run for prom king, complete with making fliers and posters. He said he double-checked with the prom committee and adviser, among others, that he would be listed on the ballot for prom king.
With his friends around him last Wednesday in the cafeteria ready to vote, they realized his name was on the ballot, but on the wrong side.
Issak was listed as Sierra Wolfe, prom queen candidate.
“For a transgendered person, it is degrading to have that, and I wasn’t even warned,” 18-year-old Issak said.
Administrators weren’t in the office, so Issak said he spoke with a guidance counselor and other staff. That’s when he was told principal Mark Shue had decided to switch Issak to Sierra and list him on the prom queen side.
Later last week, according to Issak and his father, William Stambaugh, Shue explained his decision, telling them it was
based on tradition and he wasn’t comfortable putting Issak on the boys’ side of the list.
“(Shue) said the king was always a male and the queen was always a female. And he feels that’s the way it should be,” William Stambaugh said.
Stambaugh said the district has generally been supportive of his son, and the family’s frustration is about this specific incident.
Stambaugh said he understands Shue is trying to do his job as an administrator, but “I wish he made a more progressive decision.”
Issak’s prom ordeal became a much-shared story on Facebook over the weekend; a post about it on Facebook.com/MyGayDay, a page dedicated to issues in the gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender community, has more than 3,000 likes.
Shue did not return calls seeking comment.
Red Lion Superintendent Scott Deisley, in a written statement on behalf of Shue and the district, declined to comment Tuesday morning, stating it would be best for the safety and well-being of Red Lion students to “respect our privacy in this matter.”
Prom court voting is over now, with prom set for Saturday.
Issak said he has no ill will toward Shue or the district, and just wants an apology for the embarrassment and for missing out on the possibility of getting on prom court on his own terms. He’s contacted the American Civil Liberties Union as well. Since the votes have already been taken, he’s hoping to help prevent his situation from happening to another transgendered student at another school.
“I would like an apology, at a minimum,” Issak said. “I wasn’t given a fair opportunity. I mean, if I don’t win, I don’t win … but I’m not a queen.”
He quickly pointed out he’s had nothing but positive interactions with Shue up to this point.
“I just think he made a very, very bad decision,” Issak said.
from The York Daily Record
COLUMBUS, OHIO – The firing of a gay physical-education teacher from a Columbus Catholic high school would be a violation of a city ordinance if a complaint were filed and investigators determined the dismissal was based on her sexual orientation.
Carla Hale of Powell, who worked at Bishop Watterson High School in Clintonville for 19 years, said she was fired in March after an anonymous parent complained that an obituary for Hale’s mother listed the name of Hale’s female domestic partner.
The dismissal caught attention after students and other supporters started an online petition on Monday to seek her reinstatement. The petition at change.org had gathered more than 9,000 signatures by early yesterday evening.
The Catholic Church considers gay relationships harmful and wrong, and a contract between the Roman Catholic Diocese of Columbus and the Central Ohio Association of Catholic Educators says teachers can be terminated for immorality or serious unethical conduct.
Hale’s attorney, Thomas Tootle, said her March 28 dismissal notice refers specifically to her relationship as the basis for her termination. The diocese and the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops have declined to comment.
A Columbus city ordinance makes it a misdemeanor for an employer to discriminate against an employee based on sexual orientation. City law also states that an employer cannot have a policy that discriminates based on sexual orientation. Those who are found guilty could face up to 180 days in jail and a $1,000 fine.
Hale, a Methodist, has filed a grievance against the diocese based on terms of the contract. If that fails, Tootle said, they could turn to the Columbus ordinance.
Napoleon Bell, executive director of the city’s Community Relations Commission, said the city law has no exemption for religious organizations.
Tootle said courts have allowed religious exemptions to such laws if the employee is in a “ ministerial” position conveying the religious organization’s message.
Morality-clause dismissals by Catholic schools are not unprecedented. In the Cincinnati diocese, an assistant principal was fired in February for making comments in support of gay marriage on a personal blog, and, in separate cases, two unmarried teachers in Cincinnati were fired in recent years after becoming pregnant.
Equality Ohio, which advocates for gay rights, is lobbying for a statewide anti-discrimination law, said spokesman Grant Stancliff. Seventeen Ohio cities have laws that prohibit discrimination based on sexual orientation, and 80 of the state’s top 98 employers have their own nondiscrimination policies, according to the organization.
Tootle said there also should be a federal law to protect people in situations such as Hale’s. The lack of protection, he said, “forces people into the closet.”
“If you are at risk of being terminated at any time and for any reason, including your orientation, would you come out, especially when you’re working for the Catholic Church?” he asked.
Hale, 57, said the morality clause cited in her dismissal could easily be used to fire any number of staff members who fail to follow church rules, such as unmarried straight couples living together or being divorced or using birth control.
“If we really want to open up that door … where do you start and finish if you’re talking about immoral behavior within the Catholic Church?” Hale asked.
from The Columbus Dispatch
FLORIDA – Florida school officials may be liable for blocking a protest of gay bullying but an injunction is unnecessary to protect the same event scheduled for next week, a federal judge ruled.
Amber Hatcher sued the Desoto County School District Board of Education and three school officials after they allegedly prevented her from organizing and participating in a National Day of Silence honoring the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender students who face bullying and harassment.
Hatcher claims that she wore a “non-vulgar” T-shirt for the Day of Silence on April 20, 2012, and remained silent at school. Though the day proceeded without incident, Hatcher says she was removed from her third period class and disciplined because of her First Amendment activities.
Desoto County High School principal Shannon Fusco later attributed the disciplinary action to Hatcher’s protest activities. Fusco said in an email that “only two students received any consequences from protesting for LGBT day of silence.”
Fusco and the board moved to dismiss, but U.S. District Judge John Steele preserved most claims Friday for trial.
The 15-page ruling dismissed a claim for damages against the board and Fusco in her individual and official capacities for violation of equal protection clause of the 14th Amendment and Section 1983.
In upholding the other claims, Steele noted the allegation “that Principal Fusco refused to allow plaintiff to engage in any of her requested activities relating to that year’s National Day of Silence.”
“At least some of these proposed activities were well within the First Amendment and required no approval by any school official, e.g., remaining silent outside of class, communicating in writing or by dry erase board outside of class, non-vulgar conversations about the upcoming National Day of Silence,” according to the ruling. “Plaintiff has also satisfactorily alleged, based upon the emails of the defendants, that there is an established unwritten policy or practice absolutely banning all ‘protest’ speech at the Desoto County schools that is contrary to the School District’s written policy and the First Amendment. … A blanket policy against ‘protest’ speech of any description is incompatible with longstanding First Amendment principles.”
In a separate opinion, Steele refused to grant Hatcher an injunction that would block school interference with the National Day of Silence planned for April 19, 2013.
“The attorney for the school board has stated that plaintiff may engage in literally all the conduct described by her attorney to the court,” Steele wrote. “While plaintiff is skeptical, counsel for the school board also pointed out that both the principal and the superintendent involved in the conduct underlying this case are no longer employed by the school board. The court has no basis to believe that the school board’s counsel has misled the court in his representation, or to believe the school board will not honor the position its authorized legal representative has articulated.”
A properly phrased injunction is unlikely to solve the First Amendment issues of this case, according to the ruling.
“The court finds that short of saying ‘obey the law,’ there is not a preliminary injunction which has been suggested that is sufficiently unambiguous as to the conduct proscribed so as to provide meaningful guidance as to the conduct being enjoined,” Steele wrote.
from Courthouse News Service
How Dare You Be Quiet In Class?
IRELAND – Gay teachers are being bullied by students in secondary schools, a teachers’ conference has heard.
A motion proposed and carried on the final day of the Teachers’ Union of Ireland (TUI) annual conference urged the eduction department to better protect gay and lesbian secondary school teachers.
Patrick Hogan, of the Limerick city school branch, spoke to the 400 TUI delegates in Galway yesterday and highlighted “the fear being suffered by so many of our colleagues”.
He said action was needed immediately.
“Our LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender) colleagues fight to overcome the huge fears they face in their schools every day.
“These fears are not just of losing their jobs, but fears of homophobic bullying they face on the corridors of their schools,” Mr Hogan said.
Speaking to the Irish Independent, Mr Hogan added that management in some schools was turning a blind eye to homophobic bullying of teachers by students.
“These may be colleagues who are already under strain within a school and this is allowed to be tolerated,” he said.
“They would be isolated incidents around the country.
“In one part of the country, there is a teacher who is under severe strain at the moment, and was transferred into a particular school – she was not happy with this.
“She was transferred out of there and has since been transferred back in there and faces this (homophobic bullying) on a daily basis,” Mr Hogan added.
Without identifying the school or teacher, Mr Hogan said management at her school were aware of what was happening to her, but said the bullying of the staff member was still occurring.
“It is being dealt with locally by the branch there,” Mr Hogan said.
Separately, TUI delegates have overwhelmingly agreed to oppose the contentious property tax.
In recent weeks, homeowners across the country have received correspondence from Revenue Commissioners instructing them to pay property tax rates in accordance with the value of their property.
Kenneth Sloane, of Dundalk IT, said the tax was part of an austerity policy that had failed the country.
Mr Sloane said teachers had “paid considerable amounts of stamp duty” on homes, including many bought at the peak of the construction boom.
He described the property tax as “another attack” on trade union members such as the TUI.
The TUI represents over 14,000 second-level teachers and third-level lecturers.
from The Independent
MALAYSIA – Asmara Songsang (Abnormal Desire), a new anti-gay propaganda stage production about the perceived dangers associated with the LGBT lifestyle, is currently touring schools and universities in Malaysia, according to The Guardian.
Presented for free, Asmara Songsang (Abnormal Desire) is receiving backing from the government in the months leading up to elections in the strongly Muslim country. Prominent Malaysian film and television stars are among the cast, which includes Datuk Jalaluddin Hassan, Julia Ziegler, Kamal Adli, Radhi Khalid, Razak Ahmad, Najwa P. Ramlee and Abby Rossidi.
Penned by 73-year-old director and screenwriter Rahman Adam, who has characterized homosexuality as something that could spread across the country like a virus, the musical centers on three LGBT friends who party, use drugs and engage in casual sex while recruiting young people to become part of their group.
The friends incur the wrath of their religious neighbors who seek to re-introduce them to the teachings of Islam. The three individuals who do not change are ultimately killed in a lightning storm, while those who repent are spared. The Papa Roach song “Last Resort” is featured in the production.
According to reviews, the musical concludes with a passage about the dangers of homosexuality and a pro-Malaysia song that features cast members waving the national flag. It launched its tour in at the Palace of Culture in Kuala Lumpur in early March. A film of Asmara Songsang (Abnormal Desire) is also in the works.
The work was penned to educate Malaysian students and their parents of “the bad things about LGBT,” according to director-writer Adam in a statement for the Guardian. He continued, “Nowadays in Malaysia you read so many things in newspaper articles or write-ups about LGBT … because [LGBT] are going into schools and influencing the children. Children need to recognise that men are for women, and women are for men. They [LGBT] are all out to have homosexual and lesbian sex, and although right now it is not so serious [in Malaysia], we need to act, to do something, to say something, to say that this is bad and not to follow it.”
While Malaysia has a history of anti-gay views, some have criticized the musical for its one-sided view of LGBT life.
Adam responded, “I just say, ‘This is their world.’ I didn’t do academic research, because I don’t intend to create a war against them. My job is to write a story and direct a play. That is all. If anyone said I tried to create hateful feelings, then I say no, I didn’t do that at all. I always do good things.”
Nothing will stop students at the University of Tennessee from getting some — not even the university itself, which decided it would not use state tax dollars to fund the first-ever “Sex Week” at its Knoxville campus next month, following a Republican lawmaker’s complaints.
The university’s chancellor Jimmy G. Cheek recently announced he was pulling all of the funding for Sex Week that came from academic departments and programs — about $11,145 in tuition dollars and state taxes.
Sex Weeks are popular, annual events at college campuses nationwide, but despite what the name suggests, they’re far from bacchanalian bonanzas dedicated to the nude and lewd. They’re designed to be educational, offering classes and panels, open dialogue and free testing for sexually transmitted diseases.
That said, Sex Weeks aren’t exactly bastions of chastity, either; some of the UT-Knoxville’s programming attracted accusations going below the belt in all the wrong ways, like the inclusion of a seminar titled “How many licks does it take?” and plans for a “golden condom scavenger hunt.”
State Senator Stacey Campfield started the push to shut down Sex Week after reading a Fox News piece highlighting the inclusion of a $20,000 “lesbian bondage expert,” and university officials quickly responded after reviewing the event, which is organized by the student group SEAT (Sexual Empowerment at Tennessee) and set to take place Apr. 7-12.
“The University’s three-part mission is to provide education, research and public service, and the state allocates this funding to help us fulfill the mission,” university system president Joe DiPietro said in a supporting statement. “Some activities planned as part of Sex Week are not an appropriate use of state tax dollars.”
The student organizers aren’t entirely out of luck, as they still have $6,700 from student programming and fundraising, but that doesn’t mean they’re happy. In typical collegiate fashion, Sex Week supporters are taking to — what else? — social media and Twitter with the hashtag #IWantSexWeek to lodge their complaints — and redefine what it means to be “sexually frustrated.” But with private donations pouring in to cover the costs — including $1,000 from Planned Parenthood — it looks like UT students might get some satisfaction after all.
from Time Magazine
NEW JERSEY – Parsippany High School senior Jacob Rudolph took his mission to protect LGBT youth from ex-gay therapy to the state capital Monday. The 18-year-old testified before the New Jersey Senate Health Committee in support of S2278, a bill that would ban the use of controversial gay “conversion” therapy on minors.
His testimony may have had an effect: The committee voted 7-1 with two abstentions to recommend S2278. The bill now heads to the full state Senate for consideration.
Rudolph’s recent Change.org petition campaign garnered more than 110,000 signatures.? The petition calls on Gov. Christie to support S2278.
The teenager captured the attention of the nation when he came out as LGBT during a school assembly and earned a standing ovation from his classmates. A video of the milestone went viral on YouTube.
In Monday’s testimony before the Senate Committee on Health, Human Services and Senior Citizens, Rudolph spoke up for the dignity and worth of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender teens.
“Perhaps the most cruel part of anti-gay conversion therapy is that these young people cannot even defend themselves from being subjected to this harmful practice,” he said. “I am not broken. I am not confused. I do not need to be ‘fixed.’ And as of this moment, more than 110,000 people from around the country have signed my petition, affirming that it’s time for the New Jersey legislature and Gov. Christie to protect kids from this dangerous practice.”
Rudolph traveled to Trenton with civil rights group Garden State Equality. He said he was pleased with the committee’s vote.
“I’m thrilled that the New Jersey legislature is moving quickly to ban the use of anti-gay ‘conversion’ therapy on minors, and I’m incredibly proud that my story and my petition have helped give a voice to the young people harmed by this dangerous practice,” he said. “The legislature is doing its part, and now we need Gov. Christie to stand up and be a leader. The cost of silence is too great when we’re dealing with young people’s lives.”
New signatures on Jacob’s petition are sent via email to Gov. Christie, Lt. Gov. Kim Guadagno,and the governor’s press secretary, Michael Drewniak.
Christie has yet to comment on whether he will support Senate Bill S2278.
from The Parsippany Patch
12th-Grader Comes Out To Entire School
HESPERIA, CALIFORNIA – A San Bernardino County school district allegedly discriminated against gay and lesbian students, including its apparent refusal to allow girls to wear tuxedos to the upcoming prom.
In a letter Monday from the American Civil Liberties Union of Southern California, the Hesperia Unified School District was notified that it faces legal action. The ACLU typically warns government agencies of impending litigation to give them time to make changes.
The letter makes specific allegations against the faculty and administration of Sultana High School. It recounts “persistent censorship” of activities and announcements by the Gay-Straight Alliance club.
“Indeed, the club’s very name has typically been truncated from ‘Gay-Straight Alliance’ to ‘GSA’ when morning announcements are read over the intercom, with the words ‘gay,’ ‘lesbian,’ ‘bisexual,’ ‘transgender’ and ‘queer’ omitted entirely,” the attorneys’ letter reads.
One announcement was submitted as: “Do you identify as straight, lesbian, bisexual, gay, or are you questioning everything? Come join Sultana’s Gay-Straight Alliance on Wednesdays at lunch in Room W-11. Join a group of students here on campus that support each other and want to make a difference for others.” The announcement was allegedly broadcast instead as: “GSA meeting in W-11.”
“The club’s recently submitted announcements have, more often than not, simply not been broadcast at all,” according to the ACLU letter.
The letter also accuses the school of allowing and failing to investigate discriminatory remarks by faculty and administration and pressuring the club’s lesbian faculty advisor to leave, contributing to an atmosphere of hostility and bullying among students.
In a statement, interim Supt. David McLaughlin called the allegations “deeply concerning” but said that he could not comment on any specifics because he has not yet had an opportunity to thoroughly review the letter. McLaughlin will personally oversee the review of all policies and practices that “strive to ensure that all staff and students can attend school in a safe, welcoming and nurturing environment,” the statement said.
Kyle Bodda, 18, a senior at Sultana, said school officials did nothing after he informed them of ongoing abuse by other students.
Recently, a classmate threw a football at him after he kissed his boyfriend at school. Bodda complained to the administration and said he was assured it wouldn’t happen again — but the abuse continues, he said.
“I trusted them,” he said. “It makes me feel less than human, unappreciated and unsafe.”
The school intends to hold its prom at a Los Angeles hotel in April, and students not dressed in traditional gender-defined clothes won’t be allowed on the bus to the event, according to the ACLU attorneys. A number of young women in the club want to wear tuxedos to the prom.
Levi Smithson-Johnston, an 18-year-old senior at Sultana, hopes to wear heels with his tuxedo but knows he will violate the dress code for boys if he does. The heels represent who he is and he feels comfortable wearing them, he said.
“I still plan on going,” Smithson-Johnston said. “But it will sadden me that I can’t express myself.”
Such expressions are legally protected, the attorneys contend.
“They wish to dress in this manner — which some would consider gender non-conforming — both because they are most comfortable expressing themselves by doing so and to make a political statement to the school community about who they are,” the ACLU letter states.
Attorneys from the Los Angeles and San Francisco offices of the firm Nixon Peabody are assisting the ACLU in representing the students.
from The Los Angeles Times
An open letter to the presidents of member institutions of the Council for Christian Colleges & Universities:
I am gay and I teach at a CCCU institution. I would like to tell you my name, my discipline, but I can’t because doing so would place my job at risk, as you well know.
My story is neither dramatic nor a profile in courage. Raised in a conservative Christian home, I only knew that homosexuality was a very serious sin. Then in graduate school, I fell in love with someone of the same sex — ironically enough, a conservative Christian like myself. My feelings scared me greatly. This person loved me as well, but we never articulated what those feelings were to each other until much later, when the feelings had changed. Since that time I have loved other persons of my sex, but only recently have I accepted my sexual orientation, when I am already teaching at a CCCU institution.
On institutional websites at Christian colleges one can find statements titled “Community Covenant” or “What We Believe” that discuss homosexuality, sometimes accompanied by biblical proof texts or “texts of terror,” as they are referred to by Christian gays and lesbians and our allies. Some institutions don’t have a separate statement on homosexuality, but do require faculty to conform to the student handbook that supports only heterosexual marriage. The language used in these statements includes “homosexual acts” or “homosexual practice” or “heterosexual marriage.” Such language allows your institutions to admit gay students, but carries with it the message that the institution does not think that they can look forward to a loving, committed, monogamous, same-sex relationship in the future.
At my institution there are no out faculty members. It is unclear to me whether simple orientation would place a person’s job at risk or whether behavior would be the primary issue.
You probably have read the 2011 New York Times article titled, “Even on Religious Campuses, Students Fight for Gay Identity.” I am perplexed by CCCU institutions whose student handbooks state that marriage is to be between a man and a woman, that refuse to hire openly gay faculty, and yet have clubs for gay and lesbian students in order to create a “safe” place for them. While I welcome such clubs, what does safety and hospitality mean if the real message is, “Here you can be safe as a gay student, but know that we think that you must be alone, without a partner, to be an obedient Christian”?
The Roman Catholic and gay theologian, James Alison, describes this situation: “However many caveats are put into it concerning the distinction between acts and orientation, this package grinds down on us and says, ‘As you are, you really are not part of creation.’” And is the institution safe and hospitable for gay students who have no gay adult role models as professors? You work hard to hire faculty of color to have role models for students of color, but do not do the same for gay and lesbian students. The clear message is that you cannot be a faithful Christian and be in a committed, same-sex relationship. So how is such a college a safe and welcoming place for gay students?
As for gay faculty members, they must “pass” as straight or, as I have been told, an institution might have an implicit “don’t ask, don’t tell” approach, but, as the military demonstrated, such a policy provides no real safety. My support comes from several friends, but I am out to only one friend who teaches at my institution, although I think there are other allies. No CCCU institution is a safe place for gay and lesbian faculty.
Much of this debate at your institutions hinges on biblical hermeneutics. It dismays me how CCCU institutions (institutions of higher education!) will cite biblical passages as if the passages are self-interpreting, thus adopting a hermeneutical practice of simplistic literalism. I have been struck by the fact that while CCCU institutions will not hire faculty in monogamous, same-sex relationships, they do hire divorced faculty without asking the grounds for the divorce. Wheaton College in Illinois is tragically consistent in its foundationalist approach to biblical hermeneutics, allowing faculty to be divorced so long as the divorce is based on biblical grounds. Do you seriously think that the great professor ceases to be a great professor because his/her divorce was based on irreconcilable differences rather than adultery?
One year I received a teaching award. If I were to come out now, would I suddenly cease being a good teacher? Would I no longer be able to ask disciplinary-related questions that spring from my religious faith?
As you know, millennials’ views of religion and homosexuality are rapidly changing. Will your institutions continue to attract students? Some alumni will not want to donate, and some foundations will not want to make grants. A friend suggested that the CCCU, like the Republican Party, may need to change to survive, or that those institutions that want to be more prophetic, courageous, and progressive and who believe that God’s revelation continues to unfold will need to leave the CCCU.
The courageous thing for me to do would be to come out. Gay students, knowing that I was sympathetic, have talked to me about their struggles with family and church. I would have liked to have been open about my own journey in these conversations, but was silent. It pains me to think that my silence contributes to homophobia. But as I stated, my acceptance of my sexual orientation came later, rather than earlier, and thinking about making a move now is daunting.
I would like to be able to live my life in the open and, like many of you, share life with a loving partner; however, to borrow a phrase from Melissa Harris-Perry’s book, Sister Citizen, it is “hard to stand up in a crooked room.”
from Inside Higher Ed
NEW YORK - A studly special education teacher who gyrates his chiseled body in YouTube videos was fired Tuesday after a fellow teacher caught him using a class email account for Craigslist hookups, the Daily News has learned.
Matthew Maleski, 32, worked at Public School 183 on the upper East Side for just more than a year when he was canned for responding to sexy Craigslist personal ads using a shared school Gmail account. To the horror of his co-teacher, he also included a photo of himself in boxer shorts – and nothing else.
According to a report from special schools investigator Richard Condon, a teacher informed school Principal Tara Napoleoni in November 2012 that she had “discovered a number of inappropriate emails” in the Gmail account she shared with Maleski for their class. A PS 183 website lists him as an occupational therapist at the upper East Side elementary school.
The shirtless stud flaunts his ripped abs in a YouTube video called “I Just Wanna F*uckin’ Dance!” where he grinds to pulsing house music, his body bathed in orange light.
In the promotional video for what appears to be a wild DJ party held last February, the two-minute clip shows dozens of men stripped down to their skivvies, washing cars and grinding on stage.
Maleski, who started working for the Education Department in 2011, made $56,048 a year. According to the investigation, he said he did not intend to send the emails from the school account.
According to his online profile, which features the same shirtless photo on his Facebook page, he studied secondary education and pre-medicine and veterinary studies at Ithaca College, and graduated in 2002.
Maleski did not respond to calls or messages for comment. An Education Department spokeswoman had no comment.
from The New York Daily News
FLORIDA - A Florida student sued her high school, claiming it tried to bully her into abstaining from an anti-bullying Day of Silence, and suspended her for keeping her mouth shut.
Amber Hatcher sued the DeSoto County School Board, its Superintendent Adrian Cline, DeSoto County High School Principal Shannon Fusco and its Dean of Students Ermatine Jones, in Fort Myers Federal Court.
Hatcher was a 15-year-old freshman during the fiasco last April.
Hatcher claims she asked Principal Fusco for permission to participate in a “National Day of Silence” to protest bullying.
The Day of Silence is the nation’s largest student-led action, “a peer-to-peer education campaign designed to bring attention to the harassment and bullying experienced by many lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) students and the destructive, silencing effects of anti-gay discrimination on LGBT students in schools,” Hatcher says in the complaint.
Fusco refused to permit it, telling Hatcher that participants would be punished because “peaceful protests are against district policy,” according to the complaint.
Hatcher says she appealed to Superintendent Cline, three times, and he refused permission too.
“On April 19, 2012, the day before Day of Silence, Principal Fusco interrupted Amber’s instruction time by calling her out of class and into her office where she warned Amber again that if she came to school the following day and ‘was quiet, there would be disciplinary consequence,” the complaint states.
Hatcher says Fusco called her parents to suggest they talk her out of participating – being silent – and suggested they keep her home that day to avoid problems. Hatcher says Lambda Legal sent Fusco and Cline a letter on April 19 that set out the district’s legal obligation to allow Hatcher to participate. The law office also sent Hatcher information on her right to wear a T-shirt with a message about the Day of Silence, so long as it was not vulgar and did not interfere with the rights of her fellow students.
Hatcher says the district’s actions chilled her right to free speech, and the rights of her fellow students. She claims many students who expressed interest in participating backed out for fear of getting in trouble.
“On the morning of national Day of Silence, April 20, 2012, Principal Fusco sent an email to all teachers advising them that: ‘If you have students who are wearing placards in protest of an issue or disrupting the hallways or classrooms, please notify the dean or administration and we will handle it. If a student refused to participate in class by taking part of a silent protest, that is considered a disruption. Again, please notify the administration, and we will handle it,’” the complaint states.
Hatcher wore a T-shirt to school that day, with the message: “DOS April 20, 2012: Shhhhh.”
She says she remained silent, had friends communicate the reason for her silence, and communicated through messages written on a dry erase board.
“Less than ten minutes into her third-period class, Amber was summoned to the Dean of Student’s office, whereupon defendant Jones asked whether Amber ‘wanted in-school suspension or out-of-school suspension,’” the complaint states. “When Amber asked why she was being punished, Dean Jones said, ‘Mrs. Fusco told you not to do this.’ Amber responded that she knew her First Amendment rights and that the school could not suspend her for exercising them.”
Hatcher was given in-school suspension. She says another student was also disciplined for his involvement in the protest and that Fusco already has denied her permission to participate in this year’s Day of Silence.
Hatcher seeks an injunction, wants her disciplinary record expunged, and actual and punitive damages for constitutional violations, retaliation, failure to train, and failure to supervise.
She is represented by Nancy Faggianelli, with Carlton Fields, of Tampa.
from Courthouse News
WOLCOTT, CONNECTICUT – Officials in a Connecticut school district have backed down in a fight over free speech rights, allowing a student to wear a T-shirt bearing an anti-gay message.
The lawyer for the school district this month wrote to the American Civil Liberties Union of Connecticut, saying Wolcott High School student Seth Groody may wear the T-shirt, which bears a slash mark through a rainbow. The other side showed a male and female stick figure holding hands above the message “Excessive Speech Day,” the ACLU of Connecticut said.
The ACLU said Groody wore the shirt April 20, which was designated as a day of awareness of harassment toward gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender people.
Groody complied with an order from a school administrator that he remove his shirt and replace it with one depicting a Wolcott High School symbol, the ACLU said.
Sandra Staub, legal director of the ACLU of Connecticut, said the district’s reversal teaches students that the First Amendment “is not merely a theoretical discussion topic but a real and vital guarantee” of free speech rights.
The ACLU prepared a lawsuit to be filed in federal court demanding that the school district be stopped from enforcing its T-shirt ban and that no disciplinary measures be taken against Groody.
Without elaborating, school lawyer Christine Chinni wrote to the ACLU on Feb. 14, saying Groody may wear the T-shirt. She declined to comment beyond what she wrote in the letter.
Edward Groody, Seth’s father, referred questions to the ACLU.
The ACLU disagrees “very strongly” with Seth’s views on gay rights, but its opinion has no bearing on his right to express those views, Staub said.
from The Associated Press
FARMERSBURG, INDIANA – An Indiana school district reeling from the uproar over a teacher’s comments that she believes gays have no purpose in life suspended the woman Wednesday.
Superintendent Mark Baker of the Northeast School Corp. in western Indiana’s Sullivan County issued a statement saying the teacher has been placed on administrative leave out of concern “for the safety and security of everyone in our buildings.” He added that “as a precaution” the Sullivan County Sheriff’s Department and Indiana State Police “have deemed it necessary to station an officer” at North Central Junior-Senior High School in Farmersburg, about 75 miles southwest of Indianapolis.
He said the “administration and one school employee in particular” at the school have received “aggressive email messages.”
“We are turning over to law enforcement all such communications,” Baker said.
The superintendent did not identify the teacher, but special education teacher Diana Medley’s comments have circulated widely on social networking sites amid news coverage in nearby Sullivan of a non-school sanctioned prom that would ban gay students. Sullivan, a city of about 4,200, is near the Illinois border.
“I just … I don’t understand it,” Medley said when asked whether homosexuals have a purpose in life. She was speaking to WTWO-TV of Terre Haute at a planning meeting earlier this month for the anti-gay dance.
Medley, who has no published telephone number, couldn’t be reached for comment Wednesday. She didn’t immediately respond to a message that The Associated Press sent to her school email account.
“As many of you know and appreciate, our school corporation is continuing to manage as responsibly and respectfully as possible the fallout from comments made by an employee as she attended a meeting outside of school or a school activity,” Baker said. “We have conveyed our disappointment and our disagreement with these statements and have emphasized her comments do not reflect our schools’ views or opinions.”
As of Wednesday, a petition on Change.org calling for Medley’s dismissal had generated more than 19,500 signatures from as far away as the United Kingdom, and a Facebook page supporting a prom that includes all students had more than 28,000 likes. Meanwhile, some gay rights groups are trying to bolster the confidence of gay teens with a Facebook page that will collect supportive videos.
from The Associated Press
Move Made To Keep Gays From Attending Prom
CORUNNA, MICHIGAN – A former teacher is suing a central Michigan school district that did not renew her contract following a dispute over a poster raising awareness for the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community.
Brook Johnson filed the suit in federal court in Flint against the Corunna Public Schools and some current and former district officials, claiming her First Amendment rights were violated, The Argus-Press of Owosso reported.
Johnson says she got negative evaluations solely because she was involved with a high school diversity club. She said the negative evaluations resulted in her contract not being renewed in 2011.
Johnson was the club’s adviser in 2009 when the school board voted to remove its LGBT Awareness Month poster from a school showcase. School officials said the poster – which featured photos of athletes, politicians and educators who live a homosexual lifestyle — was removed because it was “inappropriate.” The board later allowed the club’s poster to remain after the American Civil Liberties Union got involved.
The district says it’s declining comment because officials haven’t been served with the lawsuit.
from CBS Detroit