To the editor:
My AP government teacher, Misti Stevens, recently wrote an inflammatory, factually incorrect, and logically flawed letter to the editor that was published April 15.
As president of Leavenworth High School's Gay Straight Alliance, it is my duty to respond.
First, there is the assertion that teachers who mention their sexual orientation face unemployment. Mrs. Stevens, and most other teachers, often mention their spouses in class, thereby revealing themselves to be heterosexual and consequently “promoting traditional marriage and a heterosexual lifestyle,” and they are all still employed, as they should be.
She may be correct in that if an LGBT teacher mentioned his or her significant other they might be accused of “promoting a gay agenda” and might be fired, but it is something straight teachers never think about.
It should be that way for LGBT teachers as well. Yes, it might lead to questions, discussions, and education — in other words, things good schools are known for.
Individuals who believe that homosexuality is against Biblical principles are entitled to, and do, express their viewpoint. A fellow student who believes exactly that talked with me while I handed out Day of Silence stickers while manning a table at lunch — not known as a teaching period — but she agreed with me that no student should be bullied and that is what Day of Silence is all about.
Two of the posters put up in school hallways showed the difference in concerns between gay and straight students: “Non-LGBT youths say their biggest problems are school classes, exams, and work.”
“LGBT students say their biggest problem is being rejected by their family.”
Other posters mentioned that LGBT students are four times more likely to commit suicide and often face constant harassment. Family rejection, discrimination, and harassment leading to high suicides rates for LGBT students are statements of fact, not an effort to run the world’s worst recruitment effort.
On the Day of Silence, students were told they were required to participate in class normally and respond to teachers and staff. If anything, this should have led to a more productive school day.
Mrs. Stevens' statement that “participants were held hostage for their equal rights” is long on overly emotional, judgmental, and over the top rhetoric but short on facts.
Statements lacking substance are often the reason the person who utters them is labeled a “hater” or “homophobe.” Just saying.
If help and content for school clubs by adults on a “national level” is an evil that must be “kicked out” of our schools, then LHS will need to get rid of its JROTC program (I’ve served on staff for two years), our Interact Club (I’m vice president this year, president last), which is sponsored by the Rotary Club, National Honor Society, the Fellowship of Christian Athletes, and the list goes on.
Perhaps tolerance and education might be a more practical plan.
Day of Silence is about calling attention to the harassment and discrimination faced by lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender youth. Isn't a day of silence far better than years of intolerance and intimidation?
If you truly want to raise test scores and maximize learning, make school a safe place free from harassment and discrimination for all of its students.
Letter to the editor: Strongly disagree with teacher's views
To the editor: