Joanne (see blogroll at left) has an interesting story: certain teachers in San Leandro don't want to hang pro-gay posters in their classrooms because they say doing so would be against their religious beliefs. Education Intelligence Agency (see blogroll at left) has interesting comments as well: will the union back the teachers or the leftie pro-gay crowd? Seems like the union's in a bit of a pickle here!
I'm conflicted on this one. One one hand, the school board created a policy that says the poster must be displayed in the classroom. I'm all about following the rules. I always say that the schools are governed by the voters through their elected school board and teachers are public employees--as such, we have to follow the rules, like them or not.
However, is there merit to the teachers' claims that this policy forces upon them a violation of their religious beliefs and is therefore a violation of the 1st Amendment? I'm sympathetic to that argument.
This is truly a conundrum. Gay tolerance posters? While there are few more gay-tolerant than I, this seems a bit excessive to me--even in the SF Bay area! Why should we single out gays for tolerance? Are there no other groups that might merit tolerance but gay students--and in the SF Bay Area, no less??!! This Board policy strikes me as promoting a specific agenda that is so narrowly tailored that it's designed to cause problems. No one can argue with "tolerance" and "anti-bullying", but the devil is certainly in the details. "Tolerance" means to "tolerate", not welcome or condone or celebrate. I tolerate liberals :-)
Why the Board didn't commission a poster with the symbols of several different (harrassed) groups, with a message of tolerance? Why couldn't there be a pink triangle, a Star of David, a picture of a punker or goth, etc on a poster of tolerance? Focusing on a controversial 1.5%-6% (reasonable studies, not Kinsey's 10%) of the population just seems to me to be a Board that's either listening to a loud minority or is trying to show its liberal bona fides--and neither is fitting for an elected body in this country.
Ok, I'm getting off the fence here. If the policy were merely stupid, but not in conflict with the 1st Amendment, I'd say tough noogies. But since the policy itself is illegal, it must be challenged.
Update: The more I think about it, the more I think that the policy might not be illegal. Sure, we could find a court that might declare it illegal--and that court would be far, far away from San Leandro and the Bay Area!--but it's not so obviously illegal that a court challenge is mandatory.
Teachers, tough noogies on having to post them. Might I suggest posting some other tolerance posters nearby--ones like those linked to in the comments on this post?