Bullying, Homophobia, Prisons, Oh My!
I was shocked to see a video where a Mesa, AZ principal forced two boys to hold hands as a punishment for fighting (Per AV's comments below, the boys were given a choice of punishments which included this option). The video shows fellow students ridiculing two boys. Let's not focus on the crime (that is not the point). No matter what the reason this punishment is wrought with legal(?) and ethical issues. The situation points a bad, bad light on the principal and the school. Here are the messages the principal sent the students and the community.
"Bullying is OK in my school."
"One's sexual orientation is cause for harassment."
"Schools are not safe places and should be treated like prisons."
School leaders have a challenging job. I get that. I honor that. Using one's power to advocate bullying, support homophobic slurs, and to create a prison mentality is simply opposite the call of duty.
Note to the community: The place to put pressure is on the school board. It is their responsibility to create welcoming and comfortable schools. Let's hope they act responsibly.
Image credit: Flicker user Vectorportal
Political activism may get people invested in politics, and affect urgently needed change, but it comes at the expense of tolerance and healthy democratic norms.