A teenager in Florida has been expelled from school and charged with two felonies simply because her girlfriend’s parents disapprove of their relationship. She now faces two years of house arrest and a year of probation.
Kaitlyn Hunt was a popular student at Sebastian River High School, participating in everything from cheerleading to basketball. Hunt began dating another female student and the latter girl’s parents became enraged, according to Hunt’s parents. Kaitlyn was 17 at the time the relationship began, while her girlfriend was 15. Upon Kaitlyn’s 18th birthday, her girlfriend’s parents sent the police to the Hunt home and the teenager was arrested.
Hunt was charged with two felony counts of lewd and lascivious battery on a child. Then, weeks before her graduation, Hunt was expelled from school.
“[The girlfriend’s parents] are out to destroy my daughter,” Hunt’s mother told the Examiner, “because they feel like she ‘made’ their daughter gay. They see being gay as wrong and they blame my daughter. Of course, I see it 100% differently. I don’t see or label these girls as gay. They are teenagers in high school experimenting with their sexuality — with mutual consent. And even if their daughter is gay, who cares? She is still their daughter.”
Infuriating. So many things wrong with this.
First, this is a case of homophobic parents blackmailing a girl they don’t like in a slimy, roundabout way that serves to mask their bigotry. I can’t believe what a cheap shot they took. Absolutely disgusting.
Second, “I don’t see these girls as gay”? Cool, thanks, Mom. Thank goodness she’s not disowning her daughter, but I don’t totally see this as being supportive either.
Third, there’s a petition circulating to drop or lessen the charges against Kaitlyn. Go sign it. And try not to lose faith in humanity, even though people like this exist.
A transgender teen in Pennsylvania learned recently that school administrators would not be reading his correct name at his high school graduation ceremony.
Officials at Red Lion Area School District told Issak Wolfe that they would be reading the female name he was given at birth rather than his correct name. He’s fighting the district back with the help of the ACLU, but this isn’t the first time the school has discriminated against him on the basis of his gender identity.
Wolfe will be allowed to wear a black cap and gown, which is designated for the boys in his school, while girls must wear a yellow cap and gown.
Wolfe previously fought with administrators when he attempted to run for Prom King. Instead, his principal placed his female birth name in the column for prom queen, according to the American Civil Liberties Union.
“I am really disappointed that the school district doesn’t want to do anything to protect transgender students,” Wolfe said in a statement. “I want to make sure that future transgender students are not humiliated and disrespected the way I was.”
When we all become super rich, we should buy a TON of copies of every Harry Potter book for schools and they should be read in school. Like, first grade - first book… and so on and so forth. So that every child grows up with Harry Potter like we did.
“To be clear, I do not have a problem with increased protection or security. Who’s to say that a shooting won’t occur at the next student party? It could happen, God forbid, and I understand why USC wants to be prepared. My issue lies within the selective surveillance of minority-hosted parties, as if crimes only happen among high concentrations of melanin. Hundreds of criminal offenses, including sexual harassment, rape and assault happen every Thursday night on Greek Row, a undeniably white establishment. Yet, the culprits of the Department of Public Safety Crime Reports distributed to USC students and faculty, seem to be strictly limited to Black and Latino males (6’2-6’5 in dark hoodies).”
More and more schools around the country offer gay-straight alliances, but one Chicago high school is trying to take the classic GSA to the next level.
Stephanie Tovar, a junior at Lincoln Park High School in Chicago, is working to create a mentoring program similar to Big Brothers Big Sisters specifically for gay students at her school. LGBT students would be paired with a mentor of a similar identity or experience to help them through the challenges some LGBT teenagers face.
Many of the mentors working with Lang are motivated to help out because of their own difficult high school experiences. “I guess you could say my experience being a gay teen in Kentucky is one of the driving reasons I want to be involved,” said Mark Nott, one of the mentors. “I had no one to talk to, no one to relate to.”
After attending the group’s first meeting, Nott was surprised to see how similar the experiences of students at Lincoln Park High School — nestled in a liberal city in a state that appears on the verge of legalizing same-sex marriage — to his own.
“It really struck me that everything I went through, the identity issues, the insecurities, the lack of support, is all here as well,” Nott said. “Going in, I thought, this has to be easier for people in a larger more liberal minded city, but really, that doesn’t make high school any less difficult.”
Absolutely brilliant. I can’t wait to see where this goes.
“Dear Mr. Barduhn and Board of Education Members:
It is with the deepest regret that I must retire at the close of this school year, ending my more than twenty-seven years of service at Westhill on June 30, under the provisions of the 2012-15 contract. I assume that I will be eligible for any local or state incentives that may be offered prior to my date of actual retirement and I trust that I may return to the high school at some point as a substitute teacher.
As with Lincoln and Springfield, I have grown from a young to an old man here; my brother died while we were both employed here; my daughter was educated here, and I have been touched by and hope that I have touched hundreds of lives in my time here. I know that I have been fortunate to work with a small core of some of the finest students and educators on the planet.
I came to teaching forty years ago this month and have been lucky enough to work at a small liberal arts college, a major university and this superior secondary school. To me, history has been so very much more than a mere job, it has truly been my life, always driving my travel, guiding all of my reading and even dictating my television and movie viewing. Rarely have I engaged in any of these activities without an eye to my classroom and what I might employ in a lesson, a lecture or a presentation. With regard to my profession, I have truly attempted to live John Dewey’s famous quotation (now likely cliché with me, I’ve used it so very often) that “Education is not preparation for life, education is life itself.” This type of total immersion is what I have always referred to as teaching “heavy,” working hard, spending time, researching, attending to details and never feeling satisfied that I knew enough on any topic. I now find that this approach to my profession is not only devalued, but denigrated and perhaps, in some quarters despised. STEM rules the day and “data driven” education seeks only conformity, standardization, testing and a zombie-like adherence to the shallow and generic Common Core, along with a lockstep of oversimplified so-called Essential Learnings. Creativity, academic freedom, teacher autonomy, experimentation and innovation are being stifled in a misguided effort to fix what is not broken in our system of public education and particularly not at Westhill.
A long train of failures has brought us to this unfortunate pass. In their pursuit of Federal tax dollars, our legislators have failed us by selling children out to private industries such as Pearson Education. The New York State United Teachers union has let down its membership by failing to mount a much more effective and vigorous campaign against this same costly and dangerous debacle.
Finally, it is with sad reluctance that I say our own administration has been both uncommunicative and unresponsive to the concerns and needs of our staff and students by establishing testing and evaluation systems that are Byzantine at best and at worst, draconian. This situation has been exacerbated by other actions of the administration, in either refusing to call open forum meetings to discuss these pressing issues, or by so constraining the time limits of such meetings that little more than a conveying of information could take place. This lack of leadership at every level has only served to produce confusion, a loss of confidence and a dramatic and rapid decaying of morale. The repercussions of these ill-conceived policies will be telling and shall resound to the detriment of education for years to come. The analogy that this process is like building the airplane while we are flying would strike terror in the heart of anyone should it be applied to an actual airplane flight, a medical procedure, or even a home repair. Why should it be acceptable in our careers and in the education of our children?
My profession is being demeaned by a pervasive atmosphere of distrust, dictating that teachers cannot be permitted to develop and administer their own quizzes and tests (now titled as generic “assessments”) or grade their own students’ examinations. The development of plans, choice of lessons and the materials to be employed are increasingly expected to be common to all teachers in a given subject. This approach not only strangles creativity, it smothers the development of critical thinking in our students and assumes a one-size-fits-all mentality more appropriate to the assembly line than to the classroom. Teacher planning time has also now been so greatly eroded by a constant need to “prove up” our worth to the tyranny of APPR (through the submission of plans, materials and “artifacts” from our teaching) that there is little time for us to carefully critique student work, engage in informal intellectual discussions with our students and colleagues, or conduct research and seek personal improvement through independent study. We have become increasingly evaluation and not knowledge driven. Process has become our most important product, to twist a phrase from corporate America, which seems doubly appropriate to this case.
After writing all of this I realize that I am not leaving my profession, in truth, it has left me. It no longer exists. I feel as though I have played some game halfway through its fourth quarter, a timeout has been called, my teammates’ hands have all been tied, the goal posts moved, all previously scored points and honors expunged and all of the rules altered.
For the last decade or so, I have had two signs hanging above the blackboard at the front of my classroom, they read, “Words Matter” and “Ideas Matter”. While I still believe these simple statements to be true, I don’t feel that those currently driving public education have any inkling of what they mean.
Sincerely and with regret,
Gerald J. Conti
Social Studies Department Leader”