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CA Teacher Allegedly Wrote “S” for “Sinner” on Student’s Hand for Wearing “Gay is Good” T-Shirt

CA Teacher Allegedly Wrote “S” for “Sinner” on Student’s Hand for Wearing “Gay is Good” T-Shirt

The Press-Enterprise reports that a number of complaints have been filed in the Perris Union High School District where students and teachers have said that anti-LGBT bullying, harassment and discrimination by pupils and even some teachers is a serious problem, including one alleged incident where a teacher drew an “S” on a student’s hand and called her a sinner throughout class because she wore a “Gay is Good” t-shirt.

Other incidents that have been reported include a student group being barred from celebrating LGBT History Month even though other student groups were allowed to hold special events such as one in support of Black History Month. The school involved said that permission for a Black History Month celebration had been a mistake, citing that it doesn’t allow any events of this kind and therein saying that this wasn’t a case of discrimination but miscommunication. Students disagreed.

Another case that has prompted an ACLU investigation occurred when an openly gay student was suspended after using bad language while confronting another student that had harassed him for being gay. The other student was not suspended even though he reportedly used a gay slur, and while the gay-identifying kid is now back in school, he remains unable to take part in extracurricular activities even while the other student is able to do so.

These incidents, The Press-Enterprise reports, are being taken “very seriously” by school administrators:

Teachers and students took their concerns to Paloma Valley administrators, the school board and the ACLU. District officials say they are addressing the complaints.

“We take them very, very seriously,” said Leslie Ventuleth, spokeswoman for the Perris Union High School District and its chief human resources officer.

District officials have taken several steps to improve the climate at Paloma Valley, Ventuleth said. The school now has a Peer Leadership Uniting Students program, which encourages students to intervene if they see harassment or bullying. The school also held recent anti-bullying assemblies.

District officials are considering more anti-bullying training for students and staff and working to expand programs to other district high schools, Ventuleth said.

As mentioned above, the ACLU has now begun an investigation.

The State of California has some of the toughest anti-bullying laws in America and is one of only a handful of states to have LGBT-inclusive anti-bullying legislation. Questions will be raised, therefore, on how to effectively enforce those laws so as to prevent incidents like these.

As to the teacher who wrote an “S” on a child’s hand, the school district has reportedly dealt with the matter, though it is unclear what disciplinary action, if any, was taken:

In one instance, a teacher drew an “S” on a student’s hand and repeatedly referred to the student, who was wearing a T-shirt that read “Gay is Good,” as a sinner throughout class, according to a complaint with the district provided by a teacher.

[...]

The complaint, dated Oct. 14, detailed the incident. In the document, provided with names blacked out, the student wrote, “I’ve heard this has happened before.”

Ventuleth said the complaint was investigated and “based on our findings, we have dealt with the employee.” She declined to elaborate, citing the employee’s right to confidentiality.

You can read more details about these incidents at The Press-Enterprise article here.

This comes as the White House just last week opened its doors for a conference on bullying prevention. The Obama administration also launched the stopbullying.gov website.

The website provides information on how to deal with bullying for teens, young adults, parents, educators and also provides a page on community actions too.  There are also dedicated pages dealing with cyberbullying and anti-LGBT.

Read more about the White House anti-bullying conference here.

The Student Non-Discrimination Act, a bill to tackle anti-LGBT bullying and institutionalized homophobia in schools, was recently introduced in Congress. Read more about the legislation here.
 
TAKE ACTION: Support the Student Non-Discrimination Act!

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Photo used under the Creative Commons Attribution License, with thanks to Cesar Augusto Serna Sz.

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93 comments

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12:48PM PDT on Mar 29, 2011

Yes, fire her. "Dealt with" = swept under the rug. ACLU get on this!

2:36AM PDT on Mar 20, 2011

It's like The Scarlet Letter all over again.

10:51PM PDT on Mar 19, 2011

Tom said: 'by demonstrating how "gay" actually wounds its adherents, or letting those embittered with the fruits of their "gay" experiences have a voice.

Please explain! The ones doing the wounding are the anti-gays, so what you say makes no sense. Without them, gays would probably have a normal, happoy existence.

10:04PM PDT on Mar 19, 2011

I'd say that the "S" was for "smart" or "strong" for not being afraid to stand up for her beliefs.

well done, young lady. Illegitimati Nil Carborundum (don't let the b@st@rds wear you down)

10:20PM PDT on Mar 18, 2011

Fire her. That is all.

3:28PM PDT on Mar 18, 2011

Shameful! The school is not a church. This man is paid to be a teacher - not a priest.

11:38AM PDT on Mar 18, 2011

thanks noted

1:24AM PDT on Mar 18, 2011

Lets get religion OUT of schools!

6:32PM PDT on Mar 17, 2011

The fact is a teacher has NO right to call a student a sinner!

Plus God isn't real....

8:52AM PDT on Mar 17, 2011

Technically, the "sinner" label is true, but as the Rabbi once said, "Let he who is without sin cast the first stone." Making an issue of someone else's sin is equal to putting your own sin on a pedestal. The fact is, sin is corrosive, a wounding void in the human character, which is why our Creator hates it so: because of how sin flaws humanity, His creation, to whom He has given His heart.

Certainly, a claim like "gay is good" is easily contested. The teacher could have handled this much better -- by demonstrating how "gay" actually wounds its adherents, or letting those embittered with the fruits of their "gay" experiences have a voice.

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