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Gay Rights Vs Freedom of Speech
Transcript of Gay Rights Vs Freedom of Speech
This is what they said... The Issue... Supporting Legislation The Statistics... Chiang v. Vancouver Board of Education
Kempling V. British Columbia College of Teachers
Harper v. Poway Unified School District Section One of the Constitution states that all Constitutional Rights are guaranteed. However, Section One also states that the Government has the rights to limit individuals charter right, specifically if it infringes on another individuals rights.
This means the courts will back teachers and schools decisions to discipline those in the school who speak out against LGBTQ students. Label yourself as an ally!
Post a "Rainbow Flag" at your classroom door to show your classroom is a safe zone
Help start a Gay-Straight Alliance
*Address and stop bullying when you see it, including homophobic language such as "That's so Gay" William Lucas, age 15.
Tyler Clementi, age 18.
Asher Brown, age 13.
Seth Walsh, age 13. They all committed suicide in 2010, just days apart, after repeatedly being bullied over their sexuality 10% of students label themselves as LGBTQ 83% of LGBTQ students have been physically, verbally or sexually harassed at school. 64% report feelings unsafe at school 53% are cyber bullied over their sexual orientation LGBTQ students are 2-6 times more likely to attempt suicide then their straight peers Education Act Bill 3 Section 16 states:
"all courses or programs of study and instructional materials used in a school must reflect the diverse nature and heritage of society in Alberta, promote understanding and respect for others and honour and respect the common values and beliefs of Albertans." Supporting Legislation Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms Section 2
Everyone has the following fundamental freedoms:
(a) freedom of conscience and religion;
(b) freedom of thought, belief, opinion and expression, including freedom of the press and other media of communication;
(c) freedom of peaceful assembly; and
(d) freedom of association. "Non-discrimination is a core value of the public school system which is required to provide a tolerant and non-discriminatory environment for all students. Therefore, while teachers are free to hold religious beliefs, if their conduct based on those beliefs is not consistent with non-discrimination and tolerance, it is not a violation of the teacher’s rights if the school board or principal takes steps to address the behavior." Chiang v. Vancouver Board of Education, Who's Involved The Issue Findings... -Ms Chiang- School Librarian and sponsor of school's Christian Fellowship Club
-Ms Fergusson- Teacher and sponsor of school's Pride Club
-The School Principal Ms Fergusson gave out rainbow stickers and asked teachers to put them on their doors in support of LGBTQ students.
Ms Chiang felt this would lead to students and staff judging her for not doing so and went to the principal with her concerns.
The principal addressed her concerns by saying that all staff are to support all students regardless of beliefs. Kempling vs British Columbia College of Teachers Who's Involved The Issue Harper vs Poway Unified School District Who's Involved? The Issue -Tyler Harper- Student at Poway High School
-Several staff members at Poway High School, including a teacher, resource officer and assistant principal Tyler Harper wore a shirt with homophobic messages relating to the Bible.
School officials asked him to remove his shirt. He refused so he spent the rest of the day doing school work in the office.
He filed a lawsuit for infringing on his Freedom of Speech Findings... The court sided with the school stating that Harper's shirt disrupted the learning environment.
They also stated that "a school need not tolerate student speech that is inconsistent with its basic educational mission, [ ] even though the government could not censor similar speech outside the school" -Chris Kempling- local teacher
-British Columbia College of Teachers In 2002 Chris Kempling wrote letters to the local newspaper condemning the homosexual lifestyle.
The British Columbia College of Teachers decided he had "overstepped the bounds of free speech" and sought to revoke his teaching license. Findings... The court decided to uphold the school board's decision.
Though the court said Kempling's Constitutional right to Freedom of Expression was denied, they said it was reasonable under Section One of the Constitution as the district was "ensuring a tolerant and discrimination-free environment, and restoring and upholding the integrity of the school system" 1) Respect kids equally
2) Be aware you have LGBTQ students in your classroom
3) Words hurt! Use inclusive language
4) If you hear it, or hear about it, deal with it
5) If approached for help, deal with it Also Section 11.1 of the Alberta Human Rights Act (Bill 44) states that
1) Teachers can and must intervene in homophobic bullying
2) Teachers can include LGBTQ topics in instruction
3) Teachers can be involved in GSA’s Two Classroom Activities... At the beginning of class go to http://www.nohomophobes.com/#!/today/.
Ask student’s how many of them are on social media, whether it be Facebook or Twitter.
Tell students the above website is a LIVE count of how many times hurtful homophobic slurs are used on Twitter.
Keep it on throughout your class. Students will be amazed at how fast the count builds up for students speaking out negatively towards LGBTQ students. Put the words “that’s so gay” in a big circle.
Ask students what it means when they say something is “so gay”. From spokes radiating from the circle put all the meanings that students come up with.
Once they stop coming up with meanings, ask them what celebrities are openly out as gay. Replace the words “that’s so gay” with the names of the celebrities. Ask them those celebrities are the connotations that they listed for the sentence ”that’s so gay”. Ask them how they think Neil Patrick Harris would feel if you came up to him and told him that he was crappy. The following are aimed at getting students to think about the language they use and think about how they are making their peers and others feel when they use homophobic language, such at "that's so gay".
You can use either one of these activities as a starting point for a conversation on the difference between freedom of speech and hate speech. Readings and Resources EGALE: Canada's Human Rights Trust
http://egale.ca/ Institute for Sexual Minority Studies and Services (iSMSS)
http://www.safeatschool.ca Rainbow Resource Center
Bill 3 Education Act 2012
Burney, M. (2012). Standing Up to Bullies. Chronicle Of Higher Education, 50-53.
Cloud, J. (2010). Bullied to Death? Time, 176(16), 60-63
Considerations for Inclusion: Sexual and Gender Minority Youth in the Middle Years. Melinda McNie. The Institute for Sexual Minority Studies and services talk
Canadian Constitution of Rights and Freedoms
Dowler-Coltman, G. (1995) Homosexual Youth In Our School. The Canadian school Executive, 12-16
Essex, N. L. (2005) Gay issues and students' freedoms of expression- Is there a lawsuit in your future?. American Secondary Education, 34(1), 40-47
Horn, S. S., Szalacha, L. A., & Drill, K. (2008). Schooling, sexuality, and rights: An investigation of heterosexual students' social cognition regarding sexual orientation and the rights of gay and lesbian peers in school. Journal of Social Issues, 64(4), 791-813
Kilman, C. (2009). 5 steps to safer schools. Education Digest, 75(4), 37-38
McNie, Melinda. "Considerations for Inclusion: Sexual and Gender Minority Youth in the Middle Years". Red Deer College, EDPS 410. January 24, 2013.
United States Court of Appeals, Ninth Circuit. (N/A) Harper v. Poway Unified School District. Retrieved from http://caselaw.findlaw.com/us-9th-circuit/1356455.html
Weiler, E. M. (2004). Legally and Morally, What Our Gay Students Must Be Given. Education Digest, 69(5), 38-43.
Wells, K. (2008). Generation Queer: Sexual Minority Youth and Canadian Schools (Cover story). Education Canada, 48(1), 18-23.
Wingrove, J. (2012, Nov. 12) Alberta reshapes education with groundbreaking new bill. The Globe and Mail. Retrieved from http://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/politics/alberta-reshapes-education-with-groundbreaking-new-bill/article5225534/ Curtsey of Melinda McNie from the Institute for Sexual Minority Studies. Is calling homophobic speech wrong an infringement on their Freedom of Speech? Some Responses To get a better view of how other educators see the issue of free speech vs hate speech, I took to the blogging site Tumblr.
Here are the responses I received from Tumblr educators on the issue Gay rights is an issue that has picked up speed over the last decade. Many schools are making a push towards inclusive and accepting environments for LGBTQ students. However, this movement is creating a heated issue. As teachers act to stop the bullying of LGBTQ students, others are arguing that they are impeding the freedom of speech of students whose religious or moral stance is against the gay lifestyle. To tackle this issue, I looked towards legal documents and the Tumblr community for different thoughts and perspectives. Throughout my research I found a trend that supports schools decisions to protect LGBTQ students against students who would wish to harm them, whether emotionally, psychologically or physically. I list what LGBTQ students wish their teachers did as well as offer my own opinions on how to support LGBTQ student, such as ensuring that LGBTQ students know that your classroom is a safe place to go for support and stopping hate speech. I also provide some websites which the educational community may choose to use to find more ways to promote a safe and caring school for LGBTQ students. Executive Summary