A member of Wipeout Homophobia on Facebook sent a direct email to the staff there. In it, he told of a relative of a friend in Eufaula High School, in Eufaula, OK. A high school class is given as essay assignment. It is to be on current events. One girl's choice was to do one on gay marriage. What's in the news more than that these days? Brilliant, and brave, idea.
Gale Applegate, this girl's teacher who gave the assignment, forbade the girl to write on that topic, saying everything but the truth of the matter: that she's a homophobe and a bigot. She told the young pioneer outright that she would be "unable to grade her paper without bias", which is an acknowledgement that she's against same-sex marriages. In itself, I'm ok with her being against same-sex marriage. That's her prerogative. I'm not ok with her imposing her bias on a young, blossoming, impressionable mind.
Is it the responsibility of a teacher to censor the critical thinking abilities of their students? The deeper question is should a teacher even be allowed to impose their own prejudices upon their students? The answer to both is an unequivocal no. There is no way that young Khrystal shouldn't be able to write to her imagination's extent and on whatever topic she chooses. If the idea was to write on current events, what could be more current, more relevant than today's nationwide, indeed worldwide, struggle for marriage equality? Instead of allowing this young student to explore and express her opinions on a critical and controversial topic, Ms. Applegate threatened to not only fail the assignment: she threatened to fail Khrystal for the class! Every clear thinking parent, student, male or female should be outraged at this teacher's arrogance. Forget the bigotry. She's allowed, under the Constitution, to be an ass. However, she is not allowed to force feed her prejudices to her students.
One of my favorite battle cries is THERE IS POWER IN NUMBERS!! Those who are in the U.S. can voice your concerns by calling the school superintendent as well as the principal directly. Those outside the U.S. who wish to voice their opinions can write to the address below. There are also email addresses, both for the principal and the Dean of Students:
firstname.lastname@example.org - Principal
Principal Garret Davis
Eufaula High School
1st & Woodland
Eufaula, Oklahoma 74432-2410