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Posted on Tue, Nov 16, 2010 : 10 a.m.

Openly gay Ann Arbor teen appears on MSNBC with Howell teacher he defended

By Cindy Heflin

Ann Arbor teenager Graeme Taylor spoke on MSNBC Monday about his defense of Howell teacher Jay McDowell, who was suspended for a day after he ejected a student from his class for saying he didn't accept gays.

Taylor, 14, also spoke on camera about attempting suicide at the age of 9 because of fears of being bullied.

The Pioneer High School freshman has garnered national attention after prominent websites linked to a video of him defending McDowell before the Howell school board.

Taylor said he attended the school board meeting to praise a teacher who "finally stood up and said something."

"I've been in classrooms where children have said the worst things," the boy told the board. "The kinds of things that drove me to a suicide attempt when I was 9 years old."

On Monday night, about 150 people attended a forum to discuss bullying and other issues raised by the controversy. Many spoke passionately about problems from bullying, the Daily Press & Argus reported. Some said the district must "stop the bullying." Others, including school board member Wendy Day, said McDowell engaged in bullying when he ejected the student, the newspaper said. (Read the Daily Press & Argus story.)

On Oct. 20, McDowell told a student in his classroom to remove a Confederate Flag belt buckle. She complied, but it prompted a question from a boy about how the flag differs from the rainbow flag, a symbol of pride for the gay community.

"I explained the difference between the flags, and he said, 'I don't accept gays,'" said McDowell, 42, who was wearing a shirt with an anti-gay bullying message.

McDowell said he told the student he couldn't say that in class.

"And he said, 'Why? I don't accept gays. It's against my religion.' I reiterated that it's not appropriate to say something like that in class," McDowell said Monday.

McDowell said he sent the boy out of the room for a one-day class suspension. Another boy asked whether he also could leave because he also didn't accept gays.

"The classroom discussion was heading in a direction I didn't want it to head," McDowell said.


Teacher Jay McDowell speaks at Monday night's forum.

AP photo

McDowell soon received a reprimand letter from the district that said his actions violated the students' free speech rights, as well as school policy. It also said he "purposefully initiated a controversial issue" by the wearing the T-shirt featuring the anti-gay bullying message.

"I thought it was a really great, teachable moment," McDowell said of his decision to remove the student from class.

Howell Public Schools spokeswoman Kim Root said the forum Monday was meant to be a step forward.

"We can learn some things from this episode," she said, adding the district hoped to receive recommendations from the public to improve "the tolerance of the district and enhance diversity efforts we already have in place."

Jay Kaplan, staff attorney for the American Civil Liberties Union of Michigan's LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender) Legal Project, credits McDowell for trying to create a "welcoming environment for all students." But Kaplan said the "teachable moment" would have come if the students stayed in the classroom.

"We believe, based on those statements — as offensive and upsetting as they were — they were protected speech," Kaplan said. "The only way we're going to create a better environment in schools is to start talking about this."

Kaplan said Howell schools have expressed interest in accepting the ACLU's offer to provide in-person training to students, faculty and staff. He said such training could provide a better understanding of what can be said and done.

McDowell has filed a complaint against the district over the discipline he received, but said Monday he primarily wants to "force the school to look at itself."

"I want to force adults to look at what situation we've created," he said. "I would really like us to be more aggressive in our policing of harassing and bullying."

Video from Monday night's Howell schools forum:

The Associated Press contributed to this story.



Wed, Dec 22, 2010 : 10:29 a.m.

I sure would like to see working, shared, hopefully operationalized definitions of "accept," "tolerate," and "talking back" in this thread. Without being fairly sure of what others mean when they use these words, I can't tell if I agree with them or not!


Fri, Nov 19, 2010 : 9:47 a.m.

The Supreme Court has held that students in a public school do not have the same free speech rights regular citizens have. Students can only speak freely in a forum where invited to do so, like a graduation speech or open discussion.


Fri, Nov 19, 2010 : 8:23 a.m.

Stop arguing on, it's lame and it doesn't get you anywhere. Have you guys failed to realize how awesome Ann Arbor teenager Graeme Taylor is? He is so young and he is going places to fight for what he believes in! This guy is awesome Way to go, Ann Arbor teenager Graeme Taylor

peg dash fab

Wed, Nov 17, 2010 : 11:35 p.m.

yes, sir, tony \(^;^)/ i agree that the teacher handled the situation badly. to use his cliche, a teachable moment did present itself, but was lost when he ejected the student. reading between the lines, it sounds like things were heating up and he was losing control of the class. the principal's office should have stepped in immediately to calm things and make that teachable moment happen, but they missed the opportunity. instead, they threw the teacher under the bus. handled badly all around...... except for grame taylor, whose moving words were delivered with amazing poise.


Wed, Nov 17, 2010 : 3:08 p.m.

To those not accepting gays here are to very very true cliches that you should keep in mind: 1) Be careful who you hate, because it could be somebody that you love. 2) Your right to swing your fist ends where my nose begins. And to any teen (or grownup) who is reading this comments and getting down on themselves, who is thinking "well this is what my parents and teachers believe and support...that I am nothing" You are NOT nothing and who you are is beautiful. If these comments are causing you to think about yourself in a bad way to 2 things. 1) leave this website, don't read comments that hurt you. 2) visit Because I promise once you're out of a town that doens't accept you it DOES get better. Thats all.


Wed, Nov 17, 2010 : 2:53 p.m.

I just want to give props to Graeme for bravely speaking out on behalf of the teacher. That's all.


Wed, Nov 17, 2010 : 2:34 p.m.

there wasnt a hint of hate in this story except by the teacher. the student simply said he doesnt accept gays. the teacher disciplined the child for stating his belief as the teacher is wearing an anti-gay bullying shirt. just an anti-bullying shirt would be much more appropriate and cover many more bullying issues. what about anti-overweight, anti-tall, anti-christian, anti-short, anti-big nose, anti-redhead, anti-rich, anti-poor, anti-big ears, anti-unibrow get the picture? we can argue until we die whether people are born gay or choose to be gay. we dont have to accept people being gay but we need to be tolerant of them. just as they need to be tollerant of straights and not cry out racism! or bully! just because someone disagrees with their lifestyle.

Bill Wilson

Wed, Nov 17, 2010 : 2:25 p.m.

What's the difference between the rainbow flag and the Confederate flag? The Confederacy was made of eleven states that declared themselves separate from the United States of America, because they felt being American was less important than having the right to own people. To the best of my knowledge, gay people haven't done that. I raised a gay step-daughter, and about a week after hearing her dress-down someone she overheard saying "that sounds gay" on a private phone call, I heard her make plans with her girlfriend to go and see a gay water-polo team. Her words were "let's go see the floating fa--ots." I confronted her: "You told ---- that making slurs, even on a private phone call, was completely unacceptable. Yet I just heard you call that team the floating fa--ots. So, the rules don't apply to you, eh?" A day or two later, she said: "Oh, by the way Bill, I discussed what you said with my friends, and what I did was 'taking back the word.' That's different." Me: "Unless you can show me a waiver signed by every gay person in the world, the fact remains that your expectations for others are higher than those for yourself, and that is the height of hypocrisy." She didn't have an answer for that one. Sounds like a few of them have setup their own private confederacy to me.

Matt Cooper

Wed, Nov 17, 2010 : 2:18 p.m.

@robyn Reading your posts makes me wonder what, exactly, is your definition of "acceptance". You seem to equate 'acceptance' with 'wanting to be like'. Example: "As far as acceptance - homosexuals do NOT accept hetrosexuality. They tolerate it. If they accepted it - they would be hetrosexual." Your words. Simply because I accept something about someone else does not in any way mean that I wish to be what they are that I accept. I accept black people...does that therefore mean that I want to be black? I also accept morons, so by default that means I want to be a moron? Some here are morons without even trying, and yet we all accept them for what they are. Does that mean we are all morons simply because some morons are allowed to post here? For you to say several times but in different ways "If they accepted it - they would be hetrosexual.", is actually rather silly and displays a total lack of understanding. Oh, and one final point. The word is "heterosexual" not "hetrosexual". How can you discuss it when you can't even spell it correctly?

Matt Cooper

Wed, Nov 17, 2010 : 2:07 p.m.

@rhondsama I totally agree with you but I will go even one step further and say that this teacher had no business whatsoever initiating this kind of conversation in the first place. It is not his job to teach morality and it is not his job to preach tolerance of gays while practicing intolerance of non-gays. He should have left well enough alone.

Bill Wilson

Wed, Nov 17, 2010 : 2:01 p.m.

First of all, regardless of whether or not anybody accepts or doesn't accept gay people, nobody has any right to make anybody else feel unsafe or uncomfortable. Especially children in school. We send our children to school trusting the teachers and administrators to take care of them and keep them safe, while at the same time educating them. Its a big task. So you agree then, the teacher's suspenshion was justified because the student who voiced an objection based on religious beliefs was made uncomfortable.

Some Guy in 734

Wed, Nov 17, 2010 : 1:23 p.m.

Robyn-- do you really believe your own definition of "accepting" sexuality? When I see the term being used, it most often refers to a thought process: "Huh. Neil Patrick Harris is gay? Well, ain't that the livin' end. He better not a punk to Burtka. David's a local, you know." Your definition of "accepting" a type of sexuality (and please correct me if I'm off base here) could be summarized as "bid'ness time with your pants down". Those two things are very different. If I were to say "I accept your sexuality", I would be using my definition, saying, "OK, there's this stranger whom I may not agree with, but how she pilots her own bathing suit areas is not a concern of mine. That's pretty much her responsibility, and now I'm gonna go about my own day." Your definition means I'm lookin' to sweaty it up. (I am not using your definition.)


Wed, Nov 17, 2010 : 1:23 p.m.

I don't want to keep going back and forth because its clear that we will never agree but I do want to respond to some of your questions @robyn, so here is my response. First, I never said everybody has to agree with me, in fact i think I said that anybody can accept or not accept anybody they want. Please read my entire post, before claiming I said something that I did not. You may disagree with me forever, just as KKK members disagree with me that all races are equal, but the law and the constitution (read the 14th ammendment) will be on the side of equality. I'm not asking you to fly the rainbow flag at your house, i'm just asking you not to verbally or otherwise attack gay people. I don't walk up to people with wacky hair and tell them I think it looks dumb, I keep it to myself, they have a right to have wacky hair, and I have a right to think its dumb. I don't have a right to attack them for it. Second, I never ever said you don't accept yourself. Please don't put words in my mouth. I said comfort. I don't know you so I can't say how you feel, but usually when a person is disgusted by the idea of being in a relationship with someone of the same sex its because they are terrified that maybe if they don't think its disgusting that means they are gay. It doesn't, most people are able to think openly about things which they do or don't identify as. I'm sure you accept yourself, and love yourself. I said you might not be comfortable with your sexuality. I would say a gay person who thinks the idea of being with someone of the opposite sex is icky might not be comfortable with their sexuality either. I don't fully understand your argument about how homosexuals don't accept heterosexuals. It doens't make any sense to me, so i can't respond to it. I can, however, say that no gay person is trying to illegalize straight marriage.

Some Guy in 734

Wed, Nov 17, 2010 : 12:22 p.m.

What's the difference between the rainbow flag and the Confederate flag? The Confederacy was made of eleven states that declared themselves separate from the United States of America, because they felt being American was less important than having the right to own people. To the best of my knowledge, gay people haven't done that.


Wed, Nov 17, 2010 : 11:53 a.m.

@ Deuce weller: I don't 'accept' myself? That's a pretty big assumption. Totally off base, laughable. There are adults that have an aversion to sexual relations with children - as well as those who have absolutely no aversion to it. So I guess you're going to say that the people who have an aversion to sex with a child are not 'accepting themselves'? What about beastiality? If that's an aversion to people - are they also NOT accepting themselves? Think about what you have said. It makes no sense. What you are trying to say is that if someone thinks the idea of having sex with their own gender is 'icky' - they have issues with themself. As if EVERYONE is supposed to prefer or be comfortable with it. If that's the case - then homosexuals that have an aversion to the opposite sex must not 'accept' themselves because they fear the opposite sex or something... Sounds ridiculous doesn't it? As far as acceptance - homosexuals do NOT accept hetrosexuality. They tolerate it. If they accepted it - they would be hetrosexual. They don't have to accept being hetrosexual - or understanding why hetrosexuals are attracted to the opposite sex. Same goes for hetrosexuals. Homosexuals feel differently than hetrosexuals about who they want to have relationships with - to force them to 'conform' to something that is not in their nature is wrong. But it is also wrong to force hetrosexuals to 'conform' to something against their nature. And for the simple reason that YOU want something to be socially acceptable. Do you really believe that every human should think the way you do?


Wed, Nov 17, 2010 : 11:27 a.m.

First of all, regardless of whether or not anybody accepts or doesn't accept gay people, nobody has any right to make anybody else feel unsafe or uncomfortable. Especially children in school. We send our children to school trusting the teachers and administrators to take care of them and keep them safe, while at the same time educating them. Its a big task. Every teacher in every school as the right to ask any student to leave the classroom if that student is causing a disturbance to education or making another student feel unsafe. We weren't in the classroom and therefore do not know exactly what occured, but we should trust that the teacher was making a decision about what was best for the students, and making a point about zero tollerance for bullying. The administration should stand behind him. Second @robyn, homosexuals accept heterosexuality all the time. Most gay people were forced to pretend to be straight for the better part of their childhood, and therefore have an understanding as to what its like to be straight in society. I think you must not be comfortable with yourself at this time because if you were you would not have an aversion to the same sex. Regardless of sexual orientation, anybody can look at anybody and say "wow, they are cute!". It doesn't gross gay people out to think of dating the opposite sex, it just its what they are attracted to. And for most straight people i know, it doesn't gross them out to be attracted to the same sex, it just isn't how they feel. Lastly, its true that nobody ever has to accept anybody ever. But when you choose to be hateful towards a group of people you are likely to not be respected or accepted to society at large. Example: the KKK, totally within their rights, yet not very respected. If a student had stood up in class and said "I don't accept black people, its my religion" And the teacher had acted this way, nobody would be upset. You have the right to think and believe whatever you want, just like I have the right to type this post, but it has been said that your right to swing your fist ends where my nose begins. Hate and/or don't accept anybody that you want, but don't take away their right to be happy. I'm shocked that anybody would question a teacher for trying to make sure his classroom is a safe environment for ALL students, regardlass of anything. I really thought we as a society were farther along than this.


Wed, Nov 17, 2010 : 10:55 a.m.

What freedom is there to be had if the kid who was kicked out of class is not allowed to dislike gays, its his opinion. Does everyone have to love gay people. For most people on this blog seem to be pro gay and thats fine, me to, my uncles gay but I still support his right to not like something.


Wed, Nov 17, 2010 : 10:53 a.m.

Why are so many people so worried about what everyone else thinks or feels? Not liking, not accepting, not choosing to be untrue to one's own convictions is now 'bigotted, intolerant, hateful, bullying...' Polticial correctness has become the new 'thought control'. You are not allowed to have differing thoughts or opinions about something or someone because in doing so - you will be seen as a menace to society. Homosexuals do not 'accept' hetrosexuality. They do not choose to be untrue to their own convictions and pretend that they are okay with hetrosexuality - if they were - we wouldn't be having this discussion. Homosexuals would all be living hetrosexual lives. We know that's not true. Hetrosexuality is as foreign to homosexuals as homosexuality is to hetrosexuals. I say this from the perspective that the attraction to the same gender is as natural for a homosexual as the attraction to the opposite sex is to hetrosexuals. Like wise the aversion to/of sexual attraction to the opposite gender for homosexuals can be equal to the aversion to/of sexual attraction to the same gender for hetrosexuals. So when it comes right to the point - neither can or will ACCEPT the 'lifestyle' of the other. Does that mean one side or the other is hateful? Does it mean one side or the other is unfair in their beliefs? Does that mean one side or the other is more entitled to their beliefs than the other? The simple answer is no. Humans are unique individuals, each person has their own set of beliefs, ideals, likes and dislikes. No matter how similar - there will always be differences. Rather than trying to force others to 'embrace' the differences that we find unacceptable - we need to simply accept the concept that everyone else in the world may not accept us, and we need not accept everyone else in the world. Not one person who has posted can honestly say that they ACCEPT everything that a friend or relative or loved one does. Not accepting certain things about a person is not the same as not tolerating them or even not caring about - or loving them. If you say there is absolutely nothing that you find unacceptable about those closest to you - you are a liar. I have been married for 15 years - and though I love my husband dearly - and would never want to be with anyone but him - there are things about him that are unacceptable to me. And guess what? There are things about me that are not acceptable to him. We can still love each other inspite/despite of not finding every aspect of one another acceptable. Perhaps when people can acknowledge that acceptance/nonacceptance is not equal to (in)tolerance, love, hate or indifference, they'll become a bit less worried about what other people may or may not think or feel. And a bit less willing to attack those who don't feel the same way they do.

peg dash fab

Wed, Nov 17, 2010 : 10:52 a.m.

@trs80, i asked @scoobysnacks about choosing sexual orientation. you replied "preference of anything is learned." are you saying that you were taught your sexual orientation? it's a serious question.


Wed, Nov 17, 2010 : 10:01 a.m.

It seems to me that it would have been a good idea for the teacher to allow the discussion to progress so far as to allow the student to express exactly what he meant by his statement that "I don't accept gays". Everyone who has posted a comment regarding this story has ascribed his or her own definition of "acceptance" to the student. There is a very broad spectrum for what it means on an individual level whether or not to "accept" another individual or group of individuals. It could be that this student would not choose a person who is gay as a personal friend (totally different lifestyles, with no focus on whether either lifestyle is good or bad, for example). Would it have been considered offensive for a student whose focus is on academics to state "I don't accept athletes"? Or vice-versa? At the very least, the academic student should have been allowed to explain his statement. I see no indication in this story as to whether the student would advocate aggression toward a person who is gay or, on the other hand, the student would have expressed his "preference" to "live and let live". This classroom discussion, IMHO, was terminated by the teacher way too soon. It was in no way determined whether the student was expressing his "personal preference" or was expressing a tendency toward bullying. Although we all can have our pre-formed opinion of the student's intent, his intent cannot be determined by the content of the story.


Wed, Nov 17, 2010 : 9:37 a.m.

To force someone to tolerate such unhealthy behavior should be against all rules for society! What is "unhealthy" about being gay? The mental health downsides to being gay come from people that hate gays, not from the gay people. HIV/AIDS is spread across the world by straight folks more than gay folks these days. In large parts of the world death during childbirth is not uncommon. I guess sex is unhealthy, so should we not tolerate people that engage in sex?


Wed, Nov 17, 2010 : 9:07 a.m.

This teenager is not procreating, even though he is biologically ready to do so, perhaps with some of his classmates. Un-natural! In this Christian nation it was "tradition" to marry off girls soon after puberty until not so long ago. It was also "tradition", and law, that women were basically the property of the husband. Who thinks we should return to what the Founders did and wanted? Those that find homosexuality to be "non-traditional" and maybe even offensive are on the wrong side of our future. Kind of like the Taliban.


Wed, Nov 17, 2010 : 8:03 a.m.

I like what this poster said, and think it bears repeating: "the student is completely within his right to state he does not accept gays, not accepting someone is more not agreeing with them and not saying he hates them (hate speech). No one has to accept anyone and everyone for any reason period." To force someone to tolerate such unhealthy behavior should be against all rules for society!


Wed, Nov 17, 2010 : 7:54 a.m.

trs80: studies show that identical twins raised apart have the same sexual orientation, so it DOES appear to be genetic after all.


Wed, Nov 17, 2010 : 5:47 a.m.

I work in a school district That a Principle made the comment to a parent that she was concerned for the children of the school because of my life style. What do you think happened to the Principle? Nothing!! Now guess what happen to me- I was treated unfairly and finally removed from the school and put in another. People are so quick to judge that they have no concept on how much it effects people. Thing was this parent had become my dear friend, the family wanted me to know what was going on behind my back. That Principle continued to try and make my daily job more and more difficult. Guess what- get with the times, people are different in many ways-you on not put on this earth to judge or drain the life out of a person. My spirit was broken, and even though this happened over eight years ago, there has been no justice done to the Principle. I thought A2 was better then that but I was sadly mistaken. Even worse was I wasn't even out or had shared my personal life with her. Quick to judge aren't we!!!


Wed, Nov 17, 2010 : 4:01 a.m.

Thanks A2anon- I hope trs80 doesn't engage in any sexual behavior without the explicit intent of getting his wife pregnant. Safe sex practice and birth control would surely cancel out the purpose of his "learned" behavior of preference! I also agree about choice, I wonder when all these people who think being gay is "just WRONG" chose to be straight. At 5, 6...teens? When?


Wed, Nov 17, 2010 : midnight

a2anon, I didn't read anything hateful in any of these posts, all I read is that people were disagreeing with one another. I long ago accepted people have differing opinions.


Tue, Nov 16, 2010 : 7:44 p.m.

I am so very, very glad that the hateful posters here do not represent the majority in our lovely town. It's why I live here.


Tue, Nov 16, 2010 : 6:57 p.m.

Thank you Bunny! I agree with everything you have said. It's unfortunate that people can't accept that other people don't have to accept everything about everyone else. I am soooo tired of labels - bigot, racist, hater, whatever - I am sooo tired of political correctness that forces people to pretend that they accept what they don't really accept. I don't like grits - does that make me anti-redneck? LOL! Really - this stuff is getting out of control.


Tue, Nov 16, 2010 : 6:32 p.m.

Ahhh, I see. So it's all about procreation. I get it now. So all those couples with no intention of procreating.... very abnormal. In fact, we should probably ban infertile-couple marriage while we're at it. And over 40 marriages or couplings. Cuz really, what's the point? I mean, you can't procreate, so said coupling is anti-nature. Genius.


Tue, Nov 16, 2010 : 6:30 p.m.

I hate everyone equally and that's my right.


Tue, Nov 16, 2010 : 6:18 p.m.

Matt: Thank you for clarifying. I thought I missed something regarding why that student was dismissed. I didn't read where he kept talking back either. Great post all in all.

Matt Cooper

Tue, Nov 16, 2010 : 5:32 p.m.

@rusty: "Only after the youth's continued truculence was he kicked out of the class. Talking back to a teacher multiple times on ANY topic is generally grounds for getting kicked out of class" Wrong answer Rusty. The teacher himself admitted that he kicked the kid out of class because he felt that the kid saying "I can't accept gays because it is against my religion" was innappropriate. No other reason. I guess teachers are now the new thought police. And we were worried about Big Brother.

Matt Cooper

Tue, Nov 16, 2010 : 5:28 p.m.

Funny how people will use any justification whatever in order to make it okay to stomp all over the rights of others to keep them from saying what's on their mind. Some of you cry endlessly about the gay kids right to express himself by wearing a gay pride flag, and go on and on and on about how wrong the other kid was for saying he doesn't accept gays because it's against his religion. Even after all that you still don't care one iota about the straight kids right to speak against that lifestyle. So what's it gonna be? Do free speech rights extend to ALL people, or only the ones who want to be politically correct? The bottom line is that the teacher, for his own personal reasons, felt that a kid wearing a confederate flag belt buckle was offensive to the gay student population, asked that kid to remove said belt buckle, and then summarily dismissed another kid who expressed that he can't accept gays because it is against his religion. Funny how the teacher initiates a conversation on such an extremely sensitive and controversial issue, and then practises the very intolerance he rails against. I guess in his view the only people that need to be tolerant are the ones that disagree with him.


Tue, Nov 16, 2010 : 5:02 p.m.

once agian saying "educate yourself" regarding reading studies about whatever is assuming people who do not share the same thoughts as you are stupid/uneducated. Addionally, "studies" can and often skew to someones agenda. It could also be argued, heterosexual beings have sex to further the species and that those that do not are genetically inferior and should not reproduce. Someone also stated that "short of finding a gay gene" that maybe there isn't a gene that makes you gay but one that makes you not straight, gay being the abnormality. what I am trying to say is maybe gay IS NOT normal (and gay people need to ACCEPT THAT)from a species/procreating stand point. Maybe it is an abnormality like schizophrenia or bipolar disorder that one day will be treated with drugs? who knows. But just like any other non normal thing no one has to accpet you for whatever reason. Tolerate as someone else said yes, to whatever degree someone is willing to, but they do not have to. Probably b/c it is not natural to dilute the gene pool with inferior genetic make up which abnormalities do.


Tue, Nov 16, 2010 : 4:20 p.m.

@A2anon. Yes, I know. Once again I never said it was not possible, I said same sex cannot reproduce. Even the animals that practice homosexual behaviors know it is for 'fun' and will not better or further the species. Everyone knows male and male cannot reproduce and there for has no other intended application other than personal satisfaction. Even in the article you so nicely provided the writer states that some if not most animals engage in homosexual behavior for fun fulling knowing they cannot reproduce. It also states they engage in this behavior to gain social power. Thank you for providing additional proof to my argument.


Tue, Nov 16, 2010 : 3:27 p.m.

cheers to bunnyabbot. "actually one could argue the teacher was the bully here, he shut down communication within the classroom and was not respectful of the student using his position as the teacher to bully the student by making him leave." That is exactly right.


Tue, Nov 16, 2010 : 3:13 p.m.

@trs80 -- "nature" has plenty of examples -- lots! -- of homosexual and bisexual behavior. Link to a National Geographic article:


Tue, Nov 16, 2010 : 3:06 p.m.

@True. Never said it was a choice, I merely said you are born without a preference. Nature shows you that it takes opposite sex to reproduce. I also never quoted anything from the bible. Your comments go to show how uneducated you really are. You are quick to belittle because not everyone shares your opinion. Science would say that a man and a man cannot reproduce there for is not what nature had intended.


Tue, Nov 16, 2010 : 2:58 p.m.

@lumberg -- so define what you mean by "accept." If you don't accept them, than what, exactly, do you do to/with them?


Tue, Nov 16, 2010 : 2:55 p.m.

@bunnyabbot, I have no idea what you are talking about. Did you read my post? I stand by my statement that people do not have the choice about whether to "accept" other people. They must, because they are people. This should not be confusing.


Tue, Nov 16, 2010 : 2:55 p.m.

@A2anon An individual can do what he or she pleases - not be forced into accepting another - no matter what the reason or how ignorant "People have no choice but to "accept" other people. You don't have to marry them, or love them, but yep, you must accept them because they are human beings, and your discomfort doesn't trump their humanity." Dont you mean TOLERATE others? Not accept them? I am an individial who will accept people on my terms - not yours! But I should TOLERATE others because u are an individual as well... This group-think mentality is a little scary...


Tue, Nov 16, 2010 : 2:53 p.m.

Please take the time to educate yourself before you spout off about how gay people choose to be gay or how they have 'learned a preference' which is unnatural (citing the Bible I'm sure). The Bible is not the book by which we determine what is and is not 'natural'. For those inquires, most educated folks head to the nearest science section of their local libraries. And now it's time for me to get back to work... someone has to fill out this paperwork!


Tue, Nov 16, 2010 : 2:47 p.m.

Suggested reading: Biological Factors in the Development of Sexual Orientation


Tue, Nov 16, 2010 : 2:41 p.m.

@a2anon, guess what, not everyone that doesn't agree with the gay lifestyle has "discomfort" about it. It is a grand misconception that people who don't share ones own beliefs are uneducated, homophobic or rasist (etc). Addionally, it is really funny when someone is complaining about not being accepted and come off as sounding completely intollerant of someone else simply b/c they have a differing opinion. Perhaps those that have different (abnormal, strange) beliefs, lifestyles or what have you (not limited to being gay) need to come to terms within themselves that they are not really the center of the world and therefore thier feeling accepted is not all that important to everyone else. Most people simply do not care nor do they have to nor should they. That might not seem fair to some poeople, but life is not fair. @meg, respect and accepting are not one in the same, if they were than the teacher would respectfully accept the student had a different belief/opinion as his own. actually one could argue the teacher was the bully here, he shut down communication within the classroom and was not respectful of the student using his position as the teacher to bully the student by making him leave


Tue, Nov 16, 2010 : 2:39 p.m.

@trs80 Actually, you're wrong. There are twin studies which back up the claim that gay people do not choose to be gay. It is not definitive proof (because short of a gay gene being found I don't think there is definitive proof), but it's typically enough for educated people to conclude that being gay IS NOT a choice (or learned preference). To uneducated people I usually say, "Did you choose to like the opposite sex? Because you know if you did that means you, at some point, were attracted to the same sex." Something to ponder.


Tue, Nov 16, 2010 : 2:35 p.m.

@Meg. Incorrect analogy. Skin tone is genetics. Preference has nothing to do with genetics. You learn that a straight preference is how nature intended it to be.


Tue, Nov 16, 2010 : 2:23 p.m.

xmo: Respect is something to be discussed with students. That is part of an education. trs80: Strange how no one asks how straight people learned to be straight. Saying sexual orientation is a preference is like saying one's color is a preference.


Tue, Nov 16, 2010 : 2:17 p.m.

I thought students were suppose to learn about reading, writing, math etc in High School, sexual orientation should be something that is talked about else where.


Tue, Nov 16, 2010 : 2:09 p.m.

@peg. Preference of anything is learned. No one is born with any sort of preference. To say you are born gay or straight is like saying you are born knowing what language you will grow up to speak. @A2anon. No one has to accept anything, its called personal choice.


Tue, Nov 16, 2010 : 1:59 p.m.

Excellent post, A2anon. I was wondering the same thing.


Tue, Nov 16, 2010 : 1:48 p.m.

So, what on earth does it mean to not "accept" gays? What does that mean??? What does it mean if one doesn't "accept" blacks? Doesn't accept them how? Everyone has a right to live without being targeted, bullied, made to feel horrible about their very existance. And when it's institutionalized, like racism and homophobia.... then it's dangerous. Extremely. People have no choice but to "accept" other people. You don't have to marry them, or love them, but yep, you must accept them because they are human beings, and your discomfort doesn't trump their humanity.


Tue, Nov 16, 2010 : 1:40 p.m.

@scoobysnacks Your opinion is the root of all evil when it comes to this problem. To actually say that homosexuality is ignorant. To say gay people aren't 'normal' and that there is 'professional counseling' for it is even worse. If this is what kids are learning from 'wise' adults like @snoobysnacks then I fear for our future. Bullying will always be there if people think like this. Where is the love?

peg dash fab

Tue, Nov 16, 2010 : 1:39 p.m.

@scoobysnacks, are you saying you chose your sexual orientation?


Tue, Nov 16, 2010 : 1:15 p.m.

There should have never been a "spirit day" in support of gay rights in this or any other school. The teacher should not be wearing an anti-gay bullying shirt in the classroom. A simple anti-bullying shirt would be appropriate. If the student doesnt accept gays, he doesnt accept gays. He stated his own belief which is no way a form of bullying. If a student says he doesnt accept the christian faith, there would be NO media attention yet if a student says he doesnt accept the muslim faith, the media, most likely, would be all over it as they are with this story. If you choose to be gay, dont flaunt it and expect everyone to accept it as normal. It isnt normal and there is professional counseling available.


Tue, Nov 16, 2010 : 1:14 p.m.

bunnyabbot You said what I wanted to say...just put it a little different THANK YOU.


Tue, Nov 16, 2010 : 1:11 p.m.

the student is completely within his right to state he does not accept gays, not accepting someone is more not agreeing with them and not saying he hates them (hate speech). No one has to accept anyone and everyone for any reason peroid. the problem is "a great teachable moment" is often used to push ones own (the teachers) belief/agenda on someone else (the student). The real teachable moment is not everyone agrees, people have different opinions and that is ok. bullying is a seperate issue. Why someone is bullied doesn't matter as all bullying is unacceptable.


Tue, Nov 16, 2010 : 1:10 p.m.

when did "tolerance" become acceptance? when did diversity come to mean "our way is the right way?" this teacher instigated this event - and he did not like what the kids had to say when he forced the issue - so he kicks them out? great teaching moment.... event the ACLU and others agree that the students should not have been kicked out of class... its time tolerance becomes literal folks I tolerate morons every day but I dont accept them

5c0++ H4d13y

Tue, Nov 16, 2010 : 1:08 p.m.

I think we should deny education to everyone that holds a belief we don't agree with.

rusty shackelford

Tue, Nov 16, 2010 : 1:01 p.m.

Also, let's not forget the boy's initial, deeply offensive analogy: that a symbol used by gay people is analogous to a symbol used by traitors to our country who believed in their "right" to keep human beings as slaves.

rusty shackelford

Tue, Nov 16, 2010 : 1 p.m.

lisam, I agree with you in theory, and in fact what you prescribe is what the teacher tried to do several times. Only after the youth's continued truculence was he kicked out of the class. Talking back to a teacher multiple times on ANY topic is generally grounds for getting kicked out of class. Only the more so because the student was saying very harmful things about his schoolmates.


Tue, Nov 16, 2010 : 12:52 p.m.

Most common in the workplace anymore we are informed of "zero tolerance" for sexual harrassment, etc., in other words, disciplinary action. I do not know if there are policies like this in schools and if not, there should be. Such policies should be read and signed by the parent at the beginning of school, indicating they have been discussed with their if something goes awry...there are no surprises. I still feel strongly there should have been a discussion here in the classroom. I feel this was an open opportunity to let the kids express themselves and for the teacher to teach the students to listen to an open opinion. What this has created is "I'm right and you're not....It's my way or the highway." Kind of what we all rebel against growing up.


Tue, Nov 16, 2010 : 12:43 p.m.

Some parents do NOT teach their kids, so even though it would be ideal for it to "start at home" it often does not, and then our schools are left to be the ones that have to educate. Just as this exemplary teacher attempted to do.


Tue, Nov 16, 2010 : 12:37 p.m.

I taught your 4 year-old.


Tue, Nov 16, 2010 : 12:34 p.m.

Hey, did you read my post...You "taught" your 4 your better than that. GOOD FOR YOU. That's what I mean. It starts at HOME. Removal is fine....but with counseling. Where's the follow-up. Removed...and what? What did the kid get who got removed...talked to? The story gets dropped. I would like to know what happened from there. What we know is an adult formed his opinion on the child for forming HIS opinion. If there's just an action of removing the child without any kind of discussion....that's wrong.


Tue, Nov 16, 2010 : 12:25 p.m.

So, lisam, what I hear you saying is that kids, by virtue of being kids, aren't responsible for their actions. Really? Because my four-year-old is taught better than that. Also, why isn't it "the point" that saying "I don't like black kids" would not be tolerated (nor should it be)? LGBT kids and those perceived to be LGBT are subject to harassment and abuse that is far beyond the realm of "normal" kid behavior. Bullying doesn't need to be tolerated because it's common. It's sad that you think this wasn't important enough to warrant a brief removal from class.


Tue, Nov 16, 2010 : 12:19 p.m.

It's funny how badly Howell Public Schools underestimated the effect this asinine decision would have. The first speaker is right... we're DEFINITELY not going away. Get ready for the real media storm Howell - it hasn't even started yet! Bigotry anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere!


Tue, Nov 16, 2010 : 12:11 p.m.

Karen M...That's not the issue. I just so happened to be around an adult recently made a bigoted comment. You know what? I went to school with that man's son. In school everyone was afraid of this kid. Unfortunately, this "son" passed away, but after witnessing the behavior of his father, it's proof kids are a product of their environment. It starts at home. People....PEOPLE need to know the words they choose may suffer consequences. If a child said that in school....he should be talked to/warned, and let it be known it is not acceptable. If it happened again, then yes, further action should be taken.


Tue, Nov 16, 2010 : 12:02 p.m.

Do Kids always say "I hate you" to each other? Do they really mean hate? For most of the times, they don't. They are still friends. Please let kids be kids. Bulling is every where in our life. If you really want to stop bulling, we should work on it with our grown-ups first. Recently, my friend was told that someone in the office wanted to file a criminal charge against her because she called her department chair's office to schedule an appointment which she was asked to do so by another chief from another department at U-M. Do people in this country still have any freedom? Will we be arrested someday because we called our Dr.'s office?


Tue, Nov 16, 2010 : 11:57 a.m.

@lisam - Do you think a student should be kicked out of the classroom who says "I don't accept black people?" I do.


Tue, Nov 16, 2010 : 11:51 a.m.

Everyone wants their moment in the spotlight. Hey Mom, I made national news and now I am going to Disneyland!


Tue, Nov 16, 2010 : 11:42 a.m.

This is truly controversial in many ways and I hope I make my point. I do not believe the student should have been expelled for a day. I think his statement opened an opportune moment for discussion in the classroom. I know "gay" teen bullies too. I know kids who bully as a defense mechanism because they are plain unhappy with themselves. It's all how you treat others in my opinion. If you're going to be nasty, you're gonna get what you give, gay or not...although I agree it would be very tough to be "gay" in school because it's just another avenue for kids to get picked on. Kids can be cruel...period. Usually there's a pack leader and kids side with that person for fear if they don't, they'll get picked on too. This is nothing new. People come in all shapes and forms, different styles, etc. I have seen too often teens who want to portray this "image", but don't want the repercussions (stares, comments)...but can sure throw out the nastiness and think it's "ok". You CAN be who you want to be gay or not and still be respectful. It's all how you treat others. Sometimes it takes years to figure that out. How many times have many of us seen or heard stories about adults who feel guilty of treating someone bad from years past and apologizing to that person for making their lives a living hell when they were younger. Kids need role models in good behavior, good manners, and respect. Kicking this particular kid out didn't teach anything.