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Indiana Teacher Punished for Teaching Tolerance

May 1st, 2007 · 5 Comments · Culture, Education, Journalism, LGBT, Media, News, Politics

Andy Towle is right. This is absolutely sickening.

The short version of the story: An Indiana journalism teacher is being punished for allowing a high school sophomore to publish an essay in the school paper that essentially said gay people deserve to be treated like human beings. Here’s a quote from the student’s essay:

“I can only imagine how hard it would be to come out as homosexual in today’s society. I think it is so wrong to look down on those people, or to make fun of them, just because they have a different sexuality than you. There is nothing wrong with them or their brain; they’re just different than you.”

The idea that that would be remotely controversial to anyone is horrifying. The idea that people in charge of a high school would not only disapprove of it, but choose to suspend the teacher who nurtured that admirable expression of tolerance boggles the mind.

But that’s what happened. The high school’s principal, a man named Edwin Yoder, suspended the teacher, Amy Sorrell, and put her under “investigation.” (Suspicion of not being an idiotic bigot?)

The results of that “investigation” (inquisition might be a better term) by the administrators of Woodlan High School have now been announced: Sorrell will be transferred to another school and not allowed to teach journalism for three years.

That’s right — take a talented, dedicated teacher and lock her away so she can’t possibly teach any other young minds to think in intelligent and compassionate ways. Apparently the administrators are hoping to find someone who’s willing to indoctrinate the local youth in a proud tradition of ignorance and hatred instead.

They’ve also forced Sorrell to issue an apology (!) and Superintendent Kay Novotny made a sanctimonious, sputtering statement about how the administrators are frustrated with the “spin” in the media, saying their reputations have been “tarnished” by the implication that they’re intolerant toward gay people.

But it’s their own actions that have tarnished their names, and that of their school — and if the spin fits, wear it.


5 Comments so far ↓

  • Aaron

    Every day, I’m astounded anew at some first-hand story of douchebaggery so geographically close to us. I guess that’s the typical mindset of small towns, sadly. I’m trying to imagine my high school paper publishing such an essay. Never in a million years. Even now!

  • Bilal

    I remember way back when Dean was Governor of VT and working to get a civil unions bill passed, a protestor outside of his office yelled at him “You’re forcing us to learn tolerance and acceptance!” (paraphrased, but it was really that sort of statement).

    Dean looked back at the man and asked “What’s wrong with that?”

    Some people will be forever stuck in these modes, but at least they’ll die someday.

  • Aaron

    True…let’s just hope they aren’t replaced with more just like them!

  • Ocelopotamus

    That’s a great story, Bilal. It’s amazing how “tolerance” and “acceptance” are actually dirty words to people on the other side of these issues.

  • Aaron

    That’s because they view them both as code words for “condone.” Wouldn’t the world would be better off if those folks just did jigsaw puzzles or dog-grooming or something to keep themselves busy? Then maybe they wouldn’t have so much time to worry about things that don’t concern them. Like Grace Slick said about the women who were trying to get the warning labels on records: “Don’t they have some ironing or washing to do? Come to my house and do mine!”