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Teacher on Facebook: Being Gay Just Like Being a Murderer

Teacher on Facebook: Being Gay Just Like Being a Murderer

Being gay is just like being a murderer, says one Kansas middle school teacher. It’s bad enough hearing this from a teacher, a person responsible for shaping the minds of our nation’s children. The story gets worse when that teacher blasts the message across Facebook — and his students see it.

Jack Conkling, who teaches social studies at Prairie Middle School and coaches women’s basketball at Buhler High in Buhler, Kansas, decided to update his Facebook page last week with a rant against marriage equality.

“All this talk in the news about gay marriage recently has finally driven me to write,” Conkling wrote, according to The Advocate. “Gay marriage is wrong because homosexuality is wrong … It ranks in God’s eyes the same as murder, lying, stealing, or cheating.”

“To many this may seem close minded and antagonistic, but it doesn’t make it any less true,” he added.

HutchNews reports that many Buhler students are among Conkling’s approximately 600 Facebook friends. Several jumped in on the comment thread, voicing both disagreement and support for Conkling’s statements.

While Conkling is entitled to his own opinions, some argue that his position as an educator adds extra weight to the ideas he expresses in public. As one reader of The Advocate puts it, “The minute this guy became Facebook friends with the students at his school, any status updates, or comments he makes … must be treated as if they are said directly to (any) one of his students.”

Jon Powell, chairman of the Hutchinson chapter of the Kansas Equality Coalition, told HutchNews that Conkling’s “inflammatory statements” could be interpreted as condoning anti-gay bullying. Given the alarming rise in suicide among bullied students, Powell said the post was “dangerous” and “irresponsible.”

“What would Mr. Conkling say to a student who is getting bullied for being gay or lesbian?” Thomas Witt, the KEC’s Executive Director, wondered in a press release.

When reached for comment, Prairie Hills Middle School principal Craig Williams said the school doesn’t have a policy about teachers on Facebook. “We’re looking into it,” he said.

 

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Photo credit: Timothy Vollmer (Creative Commons)

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161 comments

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3:36PM PDT on Aug 24, 2012

wow. so would he treat his LGBT student's as he would murderers or thieves? also, social studies? when LGBT individuals are part of our society and their rights being revoked are social issues!? pretty bad hire. time to let him loose

6:52AM PDT on May 29, 2012

The teacher needs to be taken to task for mixing his religious beliefs with his responsibility as a teacher. Religion has no place in the schools unless there is going to be respect for _all_ religions, not just the bigoted Christian fundamentalists.

9:29AM PDT on May 26, 2012

This teacher should not be friends with his students on facebook., as well as a teacher is not allowed to have sexual realations with a student no matter if the student is at legal age.

4:13PM PDT on May 25, 2012

Sigh-some humans really don't act very human. This guy needs to find a different job-he teachs only hate and this world has more than enough of that now.

9:50AM PDT on May 25, 2012

Ma che caspita di insegnante è?

12:24AM PDT on May 25, 2012

Well I wonder who this "teacher" would rather meet in a dark ally? I'll go with the nice, normal LGBT citizen and leave the murderer to Mr. Conkling. He's quick with the Bible, but seems to have missed the point. Shouldn't he and the other religious nut jobs be asking themselves, "What would Jesus do?". I don't think we're using the same Bible.

12:13PM PDT on May 24, 2012

It always amazes me how some Christians pick and choose which of the Old Testament laws they consider worthy of obeying. I say this in answer to the commenter named Brooke S.who says that God views all sins equally. Then why do Christian eat pork, wear wool and cotton together to name a few abominations that warrant grave punishment in the OT. While their religion is called Christianity, there is no recorded evidence that CHRIST ever said anything against homosexuality. Furthermore, the famous Ten Commandments in the Old Testament DO NOT mention homosexuality either. So one is left to wonder what is it that fuels these people's outrage.

12:19PM PDT on May 23, 2012

I believe in equality, so don't get me wrong, but it seems like this guy is Christian and in the Bible homosexuality is a sin, and sins are all seen in Gods eyes as the same. People are entitled to their own opinions and he is in no way being hateful with what he said, but I do believe that it is very wrong for him to post that knowing that his students or any other students at the school could see that and let his opinions escalate to bullying, etc.

10:53AM PDT on May 23, 2012

excuse me?

7:58AM PDT on May 23, 2012

Supporting free speech means all speech, even that which we don't agree with. If this guy wants to post hateful stuff in his free time that's his business, just don't expect me to be friends with him any time soon. However...
"As one reader of The Advocate puts it, “The minute this guy became Facebook friends with the students at his school, any status updates, or comments he makes … must be treated as if they are said directly to (any) one of his students.”
If this guy wanted to express his personal views that he could not express at school then he should not have involved his students. He opened up his personal life , by choice, to his students and he needs to accept any consequences from that.
This is another great example of a comment I made on another thread earlier. If you do not have a social relationship with someone you probably shouldn't engage in social media with them! The teacher/student relationship should not be a social one.

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