I first posted on this subject last week. It’s a matter that concerns a school administrator’s definition of a student’s essay, written for a sanctioned debate, as bullying for the sole reason, apparently, that the essay expressed opposition to adoption by gay couples. In that post, I wrote that I had emailed District Superintendent Todd Carlson, the administrator who found the dissenting opinion an act of bullying, the following questions:
1) The hoo-raw is about a student newspaper op-ed debate in the form of an essay supporting gay couple adoption and an essay opposing gay couple adoption. Is this a fair characterization of the newspaper’s debate?
2) I request access to copies of the student essays written in favor of and in opposition to gay couples and adoption.
3) You are reported as saying “It is a form of bullying or disrespect to a group of people” in reference to the “anti” essay. Is this an accurate quote? If so, please advise how the “anti” position could have made without such bullying. What terms and arguments would have been acceptable?
Dr Carlson has chosen not to respond.
Mathew Staver, founder of the Liberty Counsel, wrote to Dr Carlson also decrying the Superintendent’s bullying. Staver described Carlson’s own bullying.
He’s using his position to bully this student. This is absolutely the epitome of intolerance….
When Mr. Wegner stated that he did not regret writing [the essay], and that he stood behind his beliefs, Superintendent Carlson told him that he “had got to be one of the most ignorant kids to try to argue with him about this topic[.]”
Then came the threat. Carlson told Wegner
[W]e have the power to suspend you if we want to.
Although Dr Carlson declined to make the boy’s essay available to me; Staver obtained a copy of both essays in the debate, apparently from a copy of the student newspaper in which the essays originally appeared. He made the essays available at the above link, and both essays can be read here, as well.
Read the essays, and decide for yourselves whether the boy is “bullying” anyone.
In the meantime, it’s curious that Carlson refuses to explain his own actions, or to explain the manner in which an opposing opinion could be couched in a non-bullying manner.