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Posted on Wed, Oct 13, 2010 : 6:03 a.m.

Saline school board votes to leave non-discrimination policy unchanged

By Tara Cavanaugh

In a split vote that came after nearly two hours of public comment Tuesday night, the Saline school board decided not to change its non-discrimination policy to add the words "sexual orientation, gender identity and gender expression."

For weeks, community members and school board members have been debating the controversial change, with one side arguing it's needed to create an inclusive climate in the district and the other side saying the district's anti-bullying policy already does that.


More than 150 people attended the Tuesday night school board meeting to watch the board vote on the non-discrimination policy. | Photo by Tara Cavanaugh

Weeks of meetings culminated in Tuesday's 4-3 vote, with trustees Lisa Slawson, David Medly, and President David Friese voting in favor of the change. Board members who voted against it were Amy Cattell, Chuck Lesch, Paul Hynek and Craig Hoeft.

The non-discrimination policy currently says height, weight, religion, sex, color, race, national origin, and marital status can't be used to deny students the benefits of educational activities. At issue was adding “sexual orientation, gender identity and gender expression” to that list.

Board members who voted against the change said the real issue is bullying, not discrimination, and the district already has a policy to address that.

“I value your group and all students at the high school," Cattell told students seeking the policy change. "You have brought awareness to us, and it is our job to put the action in place to make students feel safe.

"It's obvious that our anti-bullying policy needs to be stepped up,and we need to come together as a community and a school system to ... have zero tolerance of bullying of any students."

Hynek agreed. "It's an issue of education, and we don't live in a tolerant society," he said. "We already have a policy in place."

Before the vote, Medly proposed an amendment that would have changed the policy to only include the words “sexual orientation.” Cattell seconded that motion, but only Medly and Friese voted in support of it.

For two hours before the vote and another 45 minutes toward the end of the meeting, members of the community weighed in on the proposed policy change. The board heard from current and former teachers, current and former students, parents, concerned citizens, and others outside the district.

More than 150 people attended the meeting. Some had to stand on the side of the room and sit on the floor. The crowd reacted to many speakers, ignoring requests from Friese not to clap.

Don DiPaolo, who taught in Saline for 19 years, told the board he was too afraid to come out in Saline because the climate wasn’t safe for a gay teacher.

“The truth is there are a lot of painful, painful memories here, which is why I haven’t been back since ‘97,” he said.

DiPaolo said he tried to keep his sexual orientation a secret, but still people in the community suspected and wrote anti-gay slurs on his car in spray paint and in his classroom and damaged his car.

The board also heard from community members who didn't support changing the policy.

Tom Frederick, a science teacher at the high school, told the school board it needed to realize student complaints should be dealt with through the bullying policy, not the non-discrimination policy. He questioned whether the school board should take an advocacy role on lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender issues, and worried “the change will lead to future cases of discrimination.”

Jim Toy, a civil rights activist, addressed the board before the vote. As he left the meeting, he said he was disappointed.

“I came here because I support the right for everybody to be free from discrimination and harassment,” he said. “And for that freedom to be visible, it must then include the classes that were up for the vote: gender identity, gender expression, sexual orientation.”

“I hope that it will be brought before the board again. It’s a matter of justice,” Toy said.

Colin Roberts, a graduate of Saline and a student at the University of Michigan, said, "Tonight as a board you’ve shown the students, teachers, and staff of this district that you don’t care."

Emma Upham, president of Saline High School's gay-straight alliance called Spectrum, vowed the issue isn't over.

“This is not the end of this. We are disappointed but not disheartened,” she said. “We will continue until the climate is better at our school.”

Tara Cavanaugh is a freelance writer for Reach the news desk at or 734-623-2530.


Change Michigan

Mon, Nov 1, 2010 : 3:15 p.m.

By the way "Saline Dad" LOL nice "welcoming spirit" you just showed the entire world with what you said. Who are you to decide what Saline is or is not? "We" meaning you? You cannot speak for an entire town. Expressing my opinion and feelings is something ALL SALINE RESIDENTS HAVE A RIGHT TO DO. So look in the mirror and stop speaking for ALL OF SALINE with your "we" statements as you can only speak for yourself as I speak for myself and not an entire town. but hey..there is room for us with your GIANT EGO right? Nice Hope all the other residents feel real 'welcome" too with your representation of the town as "we". Nice to know you were elected the town spokesman.

Change Michigan

Mon, Nov 1, 2010 : 3:07 p.m.

Saline Dad: I am not a hater as you call me..pot calling the kettle black? I can see by your name you are one of those who think they are the epitomy of Saline. I do live in Saline. Being religious is not a bad or good thing but imiposing your views on others or how you think a town should be or look is. You have to get a comment in here all the time so your self inflated ego shows. Fact: Saline is a diverse town and many deny it as they want things to "stay the same" meaning what? fact: Not everyone agrees WITH YOU "Saline dad". so you are showing your intolerance by calling me a hater. Many Saline folks are good people but some seem to think they rule this town and everyone else can "get on board" or go away. Your comment makes me believe you are one of those types. Grow up and stop bullying it won't work "Saline Dad". Nice name..


Sun, Oct 24, 2010 : 9:52 p.m.

Well, regardless of what a few Saline teachers might think of them, the LGBT students are full citizens of the United States, and the children of taxpaying citizens. Which means...guess what. They have to teach them. And those teachers with issues will just have to get over it. If they don't, I won't be going to their precious Celtic fest next year, or ever until they get their act together. I must suggest that for others who care about this issue, as well.

Scott Beal

Mon, Oct 18, 2010 : 5:17 p.m.

Who's hiding? I'm merely trying to maintain a civil tone. If your arguments are sound, perhaps you can refrain from embellishing them with baseless assumptions about my character and beliefs (as you have done again in the final paragraph of your latest post). "Gender expression" is a term that refers to the personal, outward representation of one's gender identity -- e.g., one's choice of clothing, mannerisms, etc. The equivalence you're trying to establish with "religious expression" or "Christian expression" (which, for purposes of the argument you've put forth so far, appears to center on the insistence that gay sex acts are immoral) is false. Choosing to respect students' gender expression would not cost anyone anything. Frankly, it seems spiteful to refuse them this respect. I don't see how any of those three reasons for stating "Christian expression" is relevant or constructive, but I won't belabor it. One of us is going to have to concede the last word to the other, or else we'll be here all week, shouting in an empty room. Which frankly sounds exhausting. So have at it.


Mon, Oct 18, 2010 : 2:02 p.m.

@Mr. Beal. If you don't believe what I am imputing to you, then just deny it. Don't hide behind a feigned reticence. The policy does not cover "religious expression," only "religion," and the reasons I said "Christian expression" are these: because I suspected that you would react negatively to it, as you did; because Christianity has been attacked repeatedly in this thread, as it is with regularity in threads; and because almost no one else is demonstrating the guts to stand up to this leftist agenda. Anyway, from a lefty point of view, I'm sure you saw the glaring problem inherent in a public school policy expressly allowing for "Christian expression," namely the oft-mentioned wall of separation. If the six words were to be adopted, that wall would allow for "gender expression" but not "religious expression" (much less "Christian expression"). And we wonder why we have problems in public education... Anyway, one for the files. A Christian student stating his/her belief that same-sex sexual acts are immoral is not perpetrating discrimination, according to Mr. Beal, and since he supports the right to such speech, he also must not think that it fosters an environment that encourages bullying (although he demurred to answer this directly). Okay, so since we already have a policy against bullying and harassment, and one could still openly say that gay sex acts are immoral, I can't think of much of anything the six words be achieving... (But of course, I don't believe that such speech would be tolerated with those words on the books, not for a second.)

Scott Beal

Mon, Oct 18, 2010 : 1 p.m.

Discussion becomes tedious when my counterpart keeps attributing thoughts and motives to me that I have nowhere expressed. What you "believe that I think" is your own business, and appears to have little relationship to what I've actually said. I think the word "released" is a perfectly serviceable, neutral description for either scenario you describe, but I concede it's a bit bland. If you prefer another term, fair enough. The refusal to certify professional counselors who will not perform to the standards of their profession is not a denial of first amendment religious freedoms. No one would question this if it were a case, say, of a hardcore Christian Science believer wanting to become a medical doctor but refusing to prescribe medicines. The professional consensus among the psychological community is that LGBTQ identity is normal and unharmful, but that intolerance of LGBTQ identity is harmful. Imagine how much more so such intolerance would be from one's own professional counselor. So no, this is not a case of religious freedom denied. It is a case of ensuring minimal standards of proper counseling to those who need it. Neither of us can say how "Christian kids" would behave with or without the non-discrimination policy. That's because every kid, Christian or not, is an individual, and will act differently. The non-discrimination policy defines a necessary, minimal standard of equity. The insistence on including "Christian expression" takes me aback. It's interesting that you chose to say "Christian" rather than "religious," coming from a stated perspective of respect for people's first amendment rights of religious freedom. As another person pointed out earlier in the thread -- EVERYONE has a sexual orientation, gender identity, and gender expression. But "Christian expression" clearly does not apply to everyone. Religious identity does -- and in fact, that is explicitly covered under the current non-discrimination policy. Yes, I believe a Christian has a right to speak his/her mind, and I believe that a queer person has a right to speak his/her mind*. I would ask both of them not to make a point of trying to make the other feel disrespected, wicked, or small on the basis of who they are or what's in their heart. This is a matter not of rights, but of decency. (*And of course, there are a great many people who are both queer and Christian, and they have the same rights too.)


Mon, Oct 18, 2010 : 11:59 a.m.

@Mr. Beal, You attacked one of my comments as "absurd" offering no basis for your statement. That's not tolerance. Meanwhile, you have not proven that any of my comments are not plausible. Furthermore, you said that these two women were "released" from their programs. "Released?" The fact that you felt the need to use this obvious euphemism (and that is being charitable) hints strongly at how weak your argument is. If they were lesbians who had been fired from a church camp for girls, would you still say that they were "released?" These women were not "released," they were thrown out and denied access to the program because their religious convictions do not allow them to tell people what they see as lies. No one should be able to force them, on threat of expulsion, to say things to patients that they do not believe. Ward simply wanted to be recused from the case, but no, that wasn't enough. They told her she had to stay on the case and affirm gay sex practices. All of this is a violation of the constitutionally guaranteed right to freedom of religion and free speech. The code that people are trying to import in Saline will move things in the same direction, where ultimately children will not be allowed to express their beliefs because it will be considered "discrimination" relative to two or more of the "six words." And it isn't that these kids wouldn't treat these people as equals, either; as Christians, they would. Christians do not see the world heirarchically, knowing that "all have fallen short," including themselves. However, some of them may wish to reserve the right actively to speak what they see as the truth. No policy should be put in place that contravenes that right. As the cases at these two universities prove, eventually, that is exactly what happens. These women weren't heckling anyone, weren't bullying or harassing. Far from it. But they were thrown out nevertheless! Here is the contradiction that I think you are not seeing. I believe that you think that a Christian speaking his or her mind, namely that they do not believe that gay sex acts are moral, is hostile, judgmental, discriminatory, and contributes to an environment that fosters bullying. Do you deny it? If you do deny it, then you had better be willing to say that you would back that up by putting two more words into the non-discrimination policy, namely "Christian Expression." Open to that? Meanwhile, I suspect that you think that a homosexual who speaks his or her mind and says that these same Christian beliefs are all of those things is merely expressing his or her right to free speech. Do you deny that? I myself would by no means deny the homosexual student the right to speak his/her mind, but I do insist that the Christian is entitled to the same right. If you support the one, but not the other, your argument is based on a demonstrable double-standard. What say you?

Scott Beal

Mon, Oct 18, 2010 : 10:39 a.m.

Scylding, in what way have I failed to tolerate you or your viewpoint? You have made a point of publicly sharing your viewpoint, and I strongly disagree with it, so I am exercising my prerogative to publicly argue against it. To characterize this as intolerance is simply another misrepresentation. I rebutted your argument and your predictions, without attacking you personally. In both of the cases you have cited, the students in question were pursuing degrees in professional counseling. Neither university dismissed the student on the basis of religious belief, or for exercising their first amendment rights, but for failing to meet fundamental professional requirements. As Augusta State University has pointed out in response to Keeton's case, The professional counselor's job is to help clients clarify their current feelings and behaviors and to help them reach the goals that they have determined for themselves, not to dictate what those goals should be, what morals they should possess, or what values they should adopt. Both Julea Ward and Jennifer Keeton refused to treat gay clients with the same nonjudgmental, constructive approach as straight clients, and that is why they were released. You are right, this IS an outcome of adding sexual orientation, gender identity, and gender expression to a non-discrimination clause. The point is that people can't discriminate against other people on that basis. It doesn't mean they have to stop feeling what they feel or believing what they believe. White Christian men don't have to believe that Muslim women of color are their equal in the workplace, but they have to TREAT them as equals. That's the whole point. Adding the six words to Saline's anti-discrimination clause would simply affirm the school district's treatment of LGBTQ and non-LGBTQ people as equals, just as it already affirms Christian and non-Christian people as equals. I am puzzled and saddened that many people find this simple idea so threatening.


Mon, Oct 18, 2010 : 9:46 a.m.

This whole thing makes me extremely angry. However, it is not for the same reason that many of you are. First of all, I love how all of you are saying you aren't proud to live in Saline anymore. You know that's not true, you're being dramatic. Second: I am very proud of everyone that spoke at the meeting. I understand why people would want to put this policy in place. However, I ask you all: how much do you really think it would help? Are schools with this policy in place completely absent of bullying and discriminating? Because, honestly, although the Saline discrimination policy addresses many other things (gender, race, weight, etc.) I can tell you from experience that people are bullied about these things constantly. Not only at Saline, but all over the world. I am proud of the Saline BOE members who voted on how they feel about the topic, which is what we elected them for. All of you just make me so mad that I can't even write coherently anymore.


Mon, Oct 18, 2010 : 9:26 a.m.

@Scott Beal You're right, the Spectrum page is not where policies are set forth by means of which people can be punished, but it is a revealing look into the bizarre mentality behind all of these efforts to get policies like this on the books. However, a quick Google on "student expelled for speaking against homosexuality" leads one to a number of news stories about students actually being denied their right to speak about and behave in accordance with their convictions of faith under similar policies. Not least of these is a woman named Julea Ward, who was expelled from EMU this past July because she would not submit to the "guidelines of tolerance" and counsel gay students the way the school was trying to force her to. Then there's Jennifer Keeton, who was told by Augusta State University that she would be dismissed from their program unless she altered her central religious beliefs on human nature and conduct" and basically endorse gay sexual practices that she found perverted. Unbelieveable, a university actually telling a woman to change her religious beliefs to match its policies! How did it come to this? The policies were put into place, that's how, and then the university rigidly backed them up. You should do your homework instead of reflexively revealing your intolerance for my viewpoint, which, far from being "baseless fear mongering," I have now proven to be quite accurate, based on what is happening in universities where policies like the one being pushed in Saline have taken root and are now bearing bitter fruit. These policies are actually being used to deny people their freedom of religion and right to free speech, right now. They are violating our basic rights as Americans. Will this happen in Saline right away after such a policy is adopted? Probably not. But it all starts by getting an initial policy on the books. From there, the leverage and rigidity of enforcement just keeps increasing, until finally, kids start getting expelled merely for stating and adhering to their beliefs, like these two women were. Your brand of tolerance appears to be a one way street, Scott. You believe in it, alright, as long as it's people who disagree with you tolerating your views.

Scott Beal

Mon, Oct 18, 2010 : 12:08 a.m.

Scylding, these last couple of posts smack of baseless fear-mongering. A child expelled because of a comment on pants vs. skirts, really? What an absurd misrepresentation. I would like to point out that the follow-up "read and see what else you can look forward to" includes not one incident of discipline, academic or otherwise, for any student expressing an opinion on sexual orientation or gender. Instead it's an overview of Spectrum Center documents which are informational in purpose. The Spectrum Center isn't some sort of campus thought police force; they're there to support LGBTQ students' needs at the University of Michigan. What's so intolerable about that?


Sun, Oct 17, 2010 : 4:44 p.m.

A post above asked "who would be hurt by adding those six words?" The answer is anyone who dares to voice a belief that homosexual activity is immoral. These six words we keep hearing about arent just six words. They are a Trojan horse designed to make actionable any form of expression against homosexuality, gender-transitioning (the politically correct term, I have gathered), and gender expression, no matter how a student wants to express it. Ready to have your child expelled because they voiced their opinion that homosexual acts are wrong, or commented that they thought Raymond looked better in pants than a skirt and panty-hose? If yes, read on and see what else you can look forward to. Anybody on the fence as to whether they want to go down the road of making special provisions in school policy conferring special status of this kind needs to see to what bizarre lengths another local educational facility has gone, having started down that road a long time ago. Visit U of Ms Spectrum Center,, and see the 5-page, unisex bathroom list (because, of course, you cant expect gender-non-specific people to use a mens or womens bathroom, for heavens sake). Or click on the working definitions link on the page and read the definition of gender expression, which is the [e]xternal manifestation of one's gender identity, usually expressed through masculine, feminine or gender variant behavior, clothing, haircut, voice or body characteristics. Typically, transgender people seek to make their gender expression match their gender identity, rather than their birth-assigned sex. Learn, there, as well that calling a cross-dresser a transvestite is (sic) DEROGATORY [their caps], and that transgender should only be used as an adjective, not as a noun, and furthermore that the term transgendered is problematic because it implies a process that one went through, whereas transgender implies an inherent attribute. Read how the term sex-change must give way to transition because the former inaccurately suggests that one must have surgery in order to truly change ones sex (huh!?!). Be educated, there, that it is defamatory to say that a transgender person is pretending to be this or that. Such descriptions are extremely insulting, we are admonished. Folks, this issue will come up again, as advocates are threatening in the comments above. If you allow the proponents to prevail, it wont stop with the policy wording. That change will be the platform from which all these other special affordances will flow. There will be calls for unisex bathrooms on every floor or wing; there will be codifications of words that can or cannot be used to speak about homosexuals, cross-dressers, gender-expressers, and young people transitioning. And eventually there will be punishments for those who do not comply. Still wondering whether there is a leftist agenda afoot here? A well-enforced, general anti-bullying policy is enough. Get that done, school board and administrators, and the rationale for this dries up and blows away.


Sun, Oct 17, 2010 : 2:13 p.m.

Baked into many of the above comments decrying the school boards decision is the assumption that the harassment and bullying of, and discrimination against, homosexual students in Saline stems from underlying, Christian-inspired homophobia in the community. This is a false assumption. Christians who embrace the scriptures do not endorse any form of harassment or bullying, but instead believe in treating all people with love; in this context, among other things, love means a charitable regard that renders to others respect and tolerance. Those posts railing against religion, by which I am sure that 99% of the posters mean Christianity, are therefore going after the wrong adversary. Young people (or any people) who harass and beat up their peers for being gay, or anything else, for that matter, are not behaving in a Christian manner. I condemn such harassment and bullying, as do all true Christians. Furthermore, that argument is specious at best that holds that Christians who do not view same-gender sexual activity as moral are nonetheless responsible for this harassment or bullying, because they provide a rationale for these acts by impugning homosexuality. We can see the falseness of this belief by analogy. Surely, all of you "progressive" people who are opposed to the boards decision would agree that neo-Nazism is a wrong-minded viewpoint. At the same time however, because you (Im sure) believe in free speech and the tolerance of those with whom you disagree, and do not advocate violence, you would not support the notion that your children should harass or beat up neo-Nazis at school, right? If a handful of youths decide to bully and batter some neo-Nazi kid, are you guilty nevertheless, because you fostered an environment that stood against the tenets of neo-Nazism? Of course not. No analogy is perfect; obviously, I am not equating homosexuality with neo-Nazism. Its just that I had to pick a really egregious mentality for my analogy, since there are so few things that people on the left will actually say are morally wrong that really ARE morally wrong. For example, some of you would very likely say that doubting man-made global warming is just as morally reprehensible as neo-Nazism, when it most certainly is not. You may wonder why I associate your position with leftism. Lets face it, there is a leftist agenda at work behind this effort to enshrine these six words. If this posts, perhaps I will explain how that is the case in a separate entry.


Fri, Oct 15, 2010 : 7:08 p.m.

It is sad to see that after so many years after I have graduated from Saline, the climate has still not changed. Though I myself am not gay I am certainly an advocate for gay/trans-gender rights and human rights overall. I can now say that I am glad that I left Saline after I graduated and did not allow my children to be apart of this school system. I hope that eventually Saline will see the light and realize that everyone should not be discriminated against. Not just who they think should be.

mike from saline

Fri, Oct 15, 2010 : 2:34 p.m.

Thanks Ed for the research. It doesn't look like too many people paid any attention to it.


Thu, Oct 14, 2010 : 10:51 p.m.

#1. She didn't "steal" Baby Jessica. Sorry, the law says natural parents have rights. #2. She did her job, unlike some people... #3. You can skip my door.


Thu, Oct 14, 2010 : 9:46 p.m.

Sorry about the above typo, my 6 key sometimes decides to not work. I meant to say that "unfortunately I'm 16 and can't have a say in the election." It came out as 1, not 16, in my above post. Maybe the staff here at could fix my typo for me.


Thu, Oct 14, 2010 : 9:40 p.m.

@ConcernedParent - I do know that Ms. Faupel has spoken with a reporter rom, so I would expect a story to come shortly. Also, Ms. Faupel is in the process of creating a FaceBook page for her campaign, which should be active shortly, according to the people I have talked to. Ms. Faupel will also be at a candidates forum this coming Tuesday at 7:00pm at the Saline Liberty School which will follow a Policy Board Meeting, at which I would expect the issue of amending the anti-discrimination policy to be brought up again. Please try to spread the word and get as many people to attend as possible. Thank you! @Donna - That's exactly why I would vote for Marian Faupel (unfortunately I'm 1 and can't have a say in the election); I feel she will do what is best for the students in Saline Schools, even if that isn't the most popular thing to do.


Thu, Oct 14, 2010 : 9:27 p.m.

Obviously it's time for a change on the Saline Board of Education.


Thu, Oct 14, 2010 : 9:06 p.m.

6 innocent words.. to protect innocent KIDS.. and the school board could not enact that... I am not shocked... but am ashamed.


Thu, Oct 14, 2010 : 8:55 p.m.

Thanks Don for the great news!!! Will she make an announcement for to cover??


Thu, Oct 14, 2010 : 8:15 p.m.

It is official, Marian Faupel will be running for the Saline Board of Education as a write-in candidate!


Thu, Oct 14, 2010 : 7:17 p.m.

I for one am satisfied with the decision.


Thu, Oct 14, 2010 : 5:55 p.m.

changemichigan your a hater and I doubt your from Saline, we welome all, even the religious people you seem to hate. Save some time typing your insults, and just bully people until they give in to your way of thinking. Most people in Saline live, work and play in Ann Arbor. Maybe you need to get out more often.


Thu, Oct 14, 2010 : 5:36 p.m.

@Hammer - What do you propose students who aren't "out" to there parents do? Or what about the students who have close-minded parents who view homosexuality as some egregious sin? Who are those students supposed to go to for help? Also, the BOE's multiple anti-discrimination policies fail to conform to the laws which they state they base the anti-discrimination polices off of, I refer you to my earlier comments. Your argument, which many on the BOE hid behind, is moot. Finally, your comment regarding the TV show "Glee" shows that you buy into a completely incorrect stereotype of LGBTQ people. Not every gay person is alike; I guarantee you that the majority of LGBTQ people are not walking around in groups belting out "Don't Stop Believing" or the latest song that Lady Gaga has made with a few clicks of a mouse.

Change Michigan

Thu, Oct 14, 2010 : 4:25 p.m.

Amen to sayitplain as winning awards for "best place to live" is not something they should have if they project intolerance with a one size fits all conformity and rigidity. I agree. What makes a town great? A welcome spirit and saying: "We welcome ALL people" not only those we feel fits our "ideal typified image". US NWR needs to reassess this town after that BOE decision as is it a great place to live if you are gay/lesbian? The vote says clearly..your not welcome here. How disgusting.

Max Peters

Thu, Oct 14, 2010 : 4:21 p.m.

so how doesn't the current policy cover homosexuality? do you really need multiple rules to say the same thing?

Change Michigan

Thu, Oct 14, 2010 : 4:18 p.m.

I have lived in Michigan all of my life. I have lived in Saline for almost a decade.I see good and bad people acting as agents of change to recognize that freedom means for everyone. While I respect religious beliefs, those who are conservative in those beliefs do not get to dictate archaic control over a rapidly changing and evolving nation. Saline is a small town with a small town mind-set and having children in this town I can say I have witnessed personally so much anti-change attitudes and one-size-fits-all thinking it is so repressive. The sad response when you say these brave people did at the meeting is "If you don't like it MOVE." NO My answer to them is YOU MOVE so progress can finally come to a town that so desperately needs it. Diversity comes in every area of life, not just for some groups or cliques who believe they run the town. Saline School are lacking in diversity in every area possible as if you don't fit the bill.."Preppy jock or elite thinking and conformity" there is much ridicule and coldness. If true "religious" people wanted outsiders or people who are new to be "welcome" they would show the fruits they rave on and on about being "Christian" instead of sowing seeds of intolerance and backward thinking. The School Board decision disgusts me and the nation is embarrassed by such thinking..and everyone can see what this town's conformist claustraphobically small minded mentality is..homogeneous. NOT EVERYONE is religious or "a mold" so Saline needs to re-vote and protect those their language does not address and show the world who is watching they are not anti-gay and lesbian with ACTION not rhetoric. As the very religious speak.."BY YOUR FRUITS YE SHALL KNOW THE." My challenge to the religious is to show goof fruits not hypocritical "I get my rights but you don't get yours." What Saline needs are new people who are not nepotistically connected and can justly and with impartiality serve on the school board. Too many people especially in the school are related to one another and the pressure is high to conform. I am ashamed to say I live here when the School Board sets such a disgusting precedent for intolerance as they did in this disgusting decision as a show of blatant close mindedness in the face of massive progress. I long for a more inclusive town with much tolerance for all. Shame on the BOE for setting another box around the town with its poor vote. Fight back everyone and show them this is not "their town" it is anyone's who wants to live here. Grow or stagnate..Saline always seems to choose to live in a past that never existed. Change and progress will come whether you fight it or not, and I hope the BOE votes again to end ignorance and intolerance among their ranks which is evident by their lack of solidarity for those who are not like the "norm". Disgusted with Saline.


Thu, Oct 14, 2010 : 2:17 p.m.

I don't understand why there is so much debate over some verbage on the policy? Whether the words have been changed or not, will it stop the harassment? I'm divided on this issue. I see several things happening here. Students are getting bullied. What does the BOE have in place to help those individuals? They say there already is something? Then there's a group of students that want the language changed to recognize them in this policy? Are they being bullied and not having anything done about it by the school board? All because this language doesn't exist? Will it stop them from being bullied if the language does get changed? I think the BOE should have just changed the language if it was going to turn into such an ordeal. This is probably just an outdated technical typo in the politically correct society we now live in. The bottom line is that these socially different individuals will still get harrassed and bullied because they are different from the majority of the rest of society. So I can understand why the BOE was divided.


Thu, Oct 14, 2010 : 1:22 p.m.

So the policy wording DID need revision (even w/o including 6 words in contention). This was an ideal opportunity to minimally follow State & Federal Laws and include "citizenship status, HIV/AIDS, genetic information, and familial status" & eliminate out-dated "handicap" in non-discrimination wording. Details are important - if you are going to listen to over 2 hours worth of public comment, at least have staff look up federal/state laws before the meeting and have a revised draft ready to go. BOE needs to step it up and recognize need to prepare youth for success in a diverse world.

say it plain

Thu, Oct 14, 2010 : 12:16 p.m.

wow, I'm really glad I didn't buy that house in Saline I had considered years ago. I hope the publicizing of Saline's intolerance keeps it off lists of 'best small towns to raise a family' or whatever it 'won' some years ago in some magazine.


Thu, Oct 14, 2010 : 11:52 a.m.

Can confirm whether Marian Faupel is running as a write-in candidate?


Thu, Oct 14, 2010 : 11:50 a.m.

how is this going to help? are they afraid they are going to offend-the {SPESHL.PEOPLE} THE {ENTITLED} ones.


Thu, Oct 14, 2010 : 10:15 a.m.

In a world where I am legally required to respect everybody at all times, the last thing I want to do is go out of my way to be anything....I bet you that 100 years from now sociologists will see a merit in repelling ideals and lifestyles different from your own. I mean, society has firmly believed a million wrong things for thousands of years - why do we really think we have it right now?


Thu, Oct 14, 2010 : 7:49 a.m.

It's fairly sad to see that supporters of the language are ignoring the issue of bullying and making it a political issue instead. The voters of Saline can address this if they wish and hatemongers supporting the language should be quiet.


Thu, Oct 14, 2010 : 7:05 a.m.

I am a resident of Saline and I support the school board action. I think a measure like this would oversexualize our children. Even if there are legitimate reasons for highschoolers and teachers how would these affect preschool or elementary school in a positive manner? Also I fear that a policy like this would not respect freedom of religion. Should someone be classified as a bully for merely saying that homosexuality is disordered as most major religions teach? If you are offended by this consider that anti-obesity crusade currently going on. Perhaps it is different in that we share common ground that obesity is a disorder but would we consider someone a bully for merely stating this? This policy would certainly not allow for tolerance and diversity in this case. In addition t is amazing to see the ferocity and practices that some could describe as bullying which have been displayed subsequent to this measure failing towards the school board and those that support the school board. How does fighting bullying problems with bullying solve anything? All reasonable people agree the crackdown that is needed is not some legal or fighting battle between members of the community but rather to stop bullying whatever the cause. Bullying is not tolerable no matter the cause. period.


Thu, Oct 14, 2010 : 6:43 a.m.

Saline Schools get with the times- sad to see how divided the School board is!!! Most Boards already have their minds made up before people come to speak!


Thu, Oct 14, 2010 : 5:46 a.m.

I've read the news and the comments. I think the level of hysteria and vitriol coming from the proposal supporters is overwrought. The school board followed Federal and State standards. If there is a student that feels unsafe then that student's parents should do something about it. full disclosure: I can't stand Glee


Thu, Oct 14, 2010 : 2:34 a.m.

So I can make fun of gay people but I can't make fun of fat people? So, if you plunk your double wide "behind" down at McDonald's everyday, shovel Big Macs into your oversized belly, limit your physical exercise to nothing more than hoisting spoonfuls of McFlurries onto your oversized, swollen tongue, then you're protected by a non-discrimination policy? Who came up with that idea? Only in MI would protecting fat people while throwing gay people to the wolves be considered a good idea. For God's sake, push away from the McDonald's table, get some exercise, and lose some weight.


Wed, Oct 13, 2010 : 11:45 p.m.

I nominate Don Crawford for president of something. What an intelligent young man! Nice job, Don. And to others who have posted on this wall, it is not a "gay lifestyle" -- The word "lifestyle" is offensive and diminishing, as though being gay or lesbian is a hobby or an optional way to spend free time. The Saline School Board is mired in outdated thinking. Most of corporate America added these protections years ago. What's the big deal? For gosh sakes, we are talking about adding six words to support KIDS who came forward and asked for help. The school board let them down.

Mark A.

Wed, Oct 13, 2010 : 11:41 p.m.

An organization may create policy which violates that of a higher body, and it has happened in good conscience when the laws of the higher body are unjust, such as previous civil rights movements. The laws should be considered, though, and preferably someone at the meetings will be aware of the laws of the higher bodies. I am not familiar with all of the governing documents of the school, but I doubt that it is against the school board's purpose to make policy, rather than simply enforcing the rules of the higher bodies. Diplomacy doesn't allow one to attack the reasoning behind a speaker's words or actions, by way of assumption. If the speakers clearly said that they were against the policy because of the horrible stereotype of gays spreading HIV, then it would be okay to call that bigoted. If they did not indicate a reason why they were opposing it, or specified a different reason, the speaker's words should be taken at face value. However, if anyone thought that Mr. Crawford was out of order, the point should have been made at the time. It's too late now. Move on.


Wed, Oct 13, 2010 : 9:45 p.m.

I hear Marian Faupel, an attorney who was on the Saline BOE for 12 years, and who spoke passionately at the meeting last night, is considering a run for the board as a write-in candidate. I hope she goes ahead with it. I'll write your name in proudly, Marian! Good luck!


Wed, Oct 13, 2010 : 9:40 p.m.

These students have displayed a kind of courage and dignity in which few people ever achieve. I attended this meeting last night and to my relieve I found a room full of supporters. What the board did was wrong and I am glad to see these students will keep on percervering. Each and every student at these meetings is comendable for there efforts. They are what community is made of. I'd like to leave you with this last thought: Forget for a second that this is an LGBTQ issue and remember that these are saline students, students who have bravely told there tales of discrimination. At the end of the day these are students, LGBTQ or not this policy change could've made great change for all. by the way Don Crawford you are extremely brave I comend u for ur wonderful comments!


Wed, Oct 13, 2010 : 9:06 p.m.

@ Jimmy Olsen - You are correct about weight and marital status being included in the various laws which the BOE gets supposedly bases its' anti-discrimination policy. I apologize for my slip up. According to polices 8015 and 5030, "The District will not discriminate against any person based on sex, race, color, national origin, religion, height, weight, marital status, handicap, age, or disability." The policies further state that the district bases it's antidiscrimination policy on the following "applicable federal and state laws and regulations prohibiting discrimination including... Titles VI and VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, 42 U.S.C. 2000d. et seq.; and 42 U.S.C. 2000e, et seq.; Title IX of the Educational Amendments of 1972, 20 U.S.C. 1681, et seq.; Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, 29 U.S.C. 794; The Americans With Disabilities Act of 1990, 42 U.S.C. 1210, et seq.; the Persons with Disabilities Civil Rights Act, MCL 37.1101, et seq.; and the Elliott-Larsen Civil Rights Act, MCL 37.2101, et seq." The above laws prohibit discrimination based on the following terms: "Sex, race, color, nation origin, age, height, weight, marital status,familial status and genetic information" The district policies fail to include either "familial status" or "genetic information." Also the district includes the term "handicap," which is not included in any of the laws which the district claims to base its' anti-discrimination policies on. You'll also notice that many of the terms which you listed in your response to my earlier post, are not included in any of the district's anti-discrimination policies; also notice that your list does not include the term "handicap," which is included in the district policy. Based on this information, I feel that we can both reasonably agree that the district's anti-discrimination policies fail to meet requirements, and that there is a non protected class listed in the policies. Therefore my earlier argument is still valid. SAS, has previously included non-protected classes in its' multiple non-discrimination polices, and therefore BOE members should not be able to validly claim that they only wish to keep "sexual orientation, gender expression, and gender identity" out of the anti-discrimination polices because they are not protected classes.


Wed, Oct 13, 2010 : 8:50 p.m.

All kids get bullied at one time or another, its not right or welcome. Do gay people not hate or bully others, are they somehow unlike other children - I don't think so. Life is full of idiots, grow a thick skin like we all have to. Gay vs Straight, Poor vs Rich, Black vs White, Right vs Left, etc. It is so overplayed, if you cry wolf all the time and spout hatred when it really counts no one will listen.

Jimmy Olsen

Wed, Oct 13, 2010 : 7:56 p.m.

@Mr Crawford In all 50 states, federal law makes it illegal to discriminate based on: Race Color National origin Religion Sex (including pregnancy, childbirth, and related medical conditions) Disability Age (40 and older) Citizenship status Genetic information In addition, Michigan state law also prohibits discrimination based on: Race Color National origin Religion Sex (including pregnancy, childbirth, and related medical conditions) Disability: physical or mental Age Genetic information Marital status AIDS/HIV Height or weight Misdemeanor arrest record I happen to see "marital status" and "weight" on the state list, and you are also wrong about the number of people feeling that many comments at the end of the meeting were undeserved. Also, the board president asked the audience to NOT clap - i guess only the opposition listened.


Wed, Oct 13, 2010 : 7:47 p.m.

@ tdw I don't know if you received an answer that satisfied you. Someone who has a stutter, uncool taste in clothes, doesn't make the team or clique, will change with time, or find their niche, but a kid who realizes that he (or she) is gay can't take speech therapy for it. It is inherent to their identity. If a person can't be himself, who can he be? If they don't feel support at home for whatever reason, I'd hope they could feel it at school and beyond school. Prejudice is tricky. Like the song says "It has to be taught." Once it has been taught, however unintentionally, it has to be examined consciously, not suppressed or brushed aside.


Wed, Oct 13, 2010 : 7:44 p.m.

@ WestMich - You are incorrect - An anti-discrimination policy for the entire district DOES cover all teachers and employees. The anti-discrimination policy is part of employee hiring policy. I know because I work in a district that explicitly makes a point to include and celebrate teachers from different sexual orientations within their anti-discrimination policy.


Wed, Oct 13, 2010 : 7:20 p.m.

I am dissappointed as a person, an advocate, a mother, and a Saline teacher. I want to name call, paint all those that disagree with my opinion with a wide stroke from the same brush, blame, and stay stuck in sadness. I want my way. Then I remember that peace begins with me. I refocus on what I can do. I rededicate myself to listen. I allow myself to be honest and vulnerable to my own biases, grudges, and multiple other shortcomings. And I loving look to the examples of grace that the Spectrum Students are. I am moved to try again for all of us-students and staff and community. 6 WORDS + ACTION = CHANGE "The highest result of education is tolerance." ~Helen Keller


Wed, Oct 13, 2010 : 7:17 p.m.

The word "hypocrite" comes to mind a lot here. The anger and dare I say hate being directed toward the four board members who didn't vote "their way" is mind boggling. Practice the tolerance you are preaching about folks! I've lived in the Saline area since 1972 ( 1977 graduate) and much of the verbage being posted here is nothing but unabashed lies and slander. Again I want to thank Saline science teacher and men's cross country coach Tom Frederick for having the guts to speak out against this policy change. He risks a lot being that he is a union teacher and most likely will face a lot of anger and discrimination himself very soon.


Wed, Oct 13, 2010 : 6:30 p.m.

Well I'm thinking God is not going to be very pleased with her followers in Saline...she shall smite them!!

Stephen Byrd

Wed, Oct 13, 2010 : 6:30 p.m.

I heard this afternoon of the vote by the Saline Board of Education. What a huge disappointment, not only to the school district and the employees of the district, but also to the students and to the community. As another comment stated, sexual identity, DOES NOT mean just persons who are attracted to members of their own sex, but to ALL people. As a gay male, I have endured harassment my entire life. Beaten up as a child, tripped in school, called names. This carries on with me to this very day. In light of what has been happening in the news lately about the suicides of young people, I would think a board of EDUCATION, would look at the best way to not only protect the students but also the staff. Do you know that as a gay male, I have to make sure that I am aware of my surroundings no matter where I go! For the board to not institute this policy (or the addition of 6 words) it proves how small minded each and everyone of the board members that voted against it are. It is time for the voters of Saline to get the small minded individuals out of office and elect people who want to work with the community!


Wed, Oct 13, 2010 : 6:23 p.m.

Paul Hynek's seat is the only one up for re-election in November. His sole challenger is Todd Carter who also voiced his opposition to a change in the policy during the public comment section of the meeting. Is a write in candidate possible?


Wed, Oct 13, 2010 : 6:18 p.m.

@SalineMom - Yes, I did state at the BOE meeting last night that the board members who voted against the proposed amendment to the policy cast a vote in favor of hatred of bigotry. And yes, last night I did state that those members only possible motivations could have been hatred and bigotry. I stated that because the board members have been hiding behind various civil rights statutes which don't state that LGBTQ people are a protected class; when the anti-discrimination policy already includes classes of people who are not defined as protected classes(martial status, and weight) by either a state or federal civil rights law. The board members who voted against this proposal failed to cite any other reason that could even at first glance be considered legitimate (one cannot seriously argue that LGBTQ students and staff, who are a minority of the population, would go and actively discriminate against the religious students in SAS, if the proposal had passed). Therefore one could reasonably presume that the four board members who voted against the proposal did so for religious and moral reasons which are hateful and bigoted in the opinion of many. Also I want to point out that every person who went and spoke in favor of the change both at the beginning of the meeting and at the end of the meeting (including myself) received applause from the audience, while almost no one who spoke out against the change received applause. I'd be willing to bet that very few people found my comments to be undeserved, or overly harsh, or in anyway bullying as you earlier stated some comments were in an earlier comment.

Jimmy Olsen

Wed, Oct 13, 2010 : 6:11 p.m.

@Ms Ferraro If I am not mistaken, height and weight are protected classes by the state of michigan. You need to consider both federal and state protected classes.


Wed, Oct 13, 2010 : 5:55 p.m.

Mr. Crawford, I find your statement very interesting: "Comments such as those were completely inappropriate and uncalled for." Considering last night, your only explanation for those Board Members voting no was "hatred and bigotry". I guess you know these Board Members personally and have had conversation with them? You've rationally discussed the facts and their interpretation of them? You know what their personal history might be - were they ever bullied? Were they ever harassed? Again, and your only comment was "hatred and bigotry". Nice approach to move the conversation forward.


Wed, Oct 13, 2010 : 5:44 p.m.

To those of you who are suggesting that the BOE remove all classes of people from the anti-discrimination policy, and replace it with a blanket statement covering all groups/people; that is a commendable idea. Unfortunately, there are multiple factors that would prevent such language being used. Firstly, there is the fact that we live in a world in which we seem to be incapable of caring about anyone who is different from ourselves, and because of that, we shun those people and are horribly cruel to them; let's face it, humans are intrinsically cruel an hurtful. Secondly, federal law mandates that certain classes of people be included, by name, within an anti-discrimination policy. So with those two reasons in mind, the BOE cannot amend the policy to consist of only a blanket statement. Also, as a student at Saline High, I just want to express my disappointment with Amy Cattel, Chuck Lesch, Craig Hoeft, and Paul Hynek. Although I cannot vote yet, I plan to do everything I can to make sure that the above mentioned board members lose their seats; I also encourage those of you in the Saline community to do everything you can to kick them off the board. Unfortunately, the candidates who are running against the incumbents are no better when it comes to the issue of basic rights being awarded to members of the district; therefore I encourage someone to attempt a write-in campaign. It is also important that people lend their support to Lisa Slawson, David Medly, and David Friese; God only knows what the American Family Association and it's ilk are doing to them. Lastly, some of the comments that have been made on this article have been completely appalling; especially those made regarding the morality of the various lifestyles of LGBTQ people. This should never have been turned into an issue of LQBTQ rights, religion, or morality; this should have solely been an issue of student safety. It should also be pointed out that some of the comments made at the board meeting last night were inflammatory and derogatory. One speaker decided that it would be appropriate to compare LGBTQ people to the likes of alcoholics, and drug addicts, because the LGBTQ "lifestlye" (I'd really like someone to show proof that all gay people live the same lifestyle) promotes the spread of diseases such as HIV/AIDS and syphilis. Comments such as those were completely inappropriate and uncalled for. PS - I encourage people to use their real names when commenting, and not to hide behind a username. Be proud of your opinion, no matter what it is.


Wed, Oct 13, 2010 : 5:43 p.m.

I find interesting many comments like this among the posters: "If you can't vote the way that the majority of the community wants you to vote, then please do the right thing and step down." I was unaware that some polling had taken place that indicated what the majority of the Saline community wanted. No one contacted me to ask, or sent me a ballot to vote. Also, many of the commenters here, as well as many of the public commenters after the vote last night, are actually bullying the board members who voted no. Your actions are no better than the cure you hope to find. I must commend the members of the Spectrum group for their advocacy and decorum before and after the vote.


Wed, Oct 13, 2010 : 5:41 p.m.

i think we should give all school board members credit for dealing with a very difficult situation. their votes reflect what they think is best at this time. we want our elected officials to be honest, hard working and to represent us in the most appropriate way possible. that does not mean we agree with all of their choices. but, in this case, the members acted honorably. i can't say the same for some of the participants at the meeting. clearly, some have been exposed as espousing open-mindedness but behaving in the opposite way.


Wed, Oct 13, 2010 : 5:36 p.m.

i think we should give all school board members credit for dealing with a very difficult situation. their votes reflect what they think is best at this time. we want our elected officials to be honest, hard working and to represent us in the most appropriate way possible. that does not mean we agree with all of their choices. but, in this case, the members acted honorably. i can't say the same for some of the participants at the meeting. clearly, some have been exposed as espousing open-mindedness but behaving in the opposite way.


Wed, Oct 13, 2010 : 5:33 p.m.

Again, this policy would not have affected teachers. This policy that was being looked at was simply a student discrimination policy. Issues dealing with teachers and staff are dealt with while negotiating union contracts. Also, a fact that was neglected in this article was that the official opinion of the legal team representing the Saline School district was to vote against the addition of these words. From a purely legal stand point, this team of lawyers found that the policy would be ineffective and not in the best interests of the district. For the people who are calling for the dropping of the other groups (sex, race, religion) from the discrimination policy, please realize that this would be against state and federal law. If you want change, please lobby your state and federal lawmakers to get these additional words added to their discrimination policies and then school districts everywhere will have to adopt them as well. School boards are suppose to create policy using state and federal laws and mandates. While I realize that the some city councils and BOEs love to make policies dealing with state or national issues, this is often not an extremely beneficial way of getting things done. Now on the local level, I think the discussion should be on harassment policy and reporting. The Saline School District has only had two filed complaints about harassment due to sexual orientation. Hopefully ways to increase reporting of harassment will be found to help curb the number of bullies in school. This entire ordeal has been helpful in that it increased the awareness of bullying happening at schools and it gave students more knowledge of how to report harassment and get help.


Wed, Oct 13, 2010 : 5:26 p.m.

If two of the present school board members who were opposed to adding the six words to the anti-discrimination policy are the only two running for re-election in a few short weeks, is there a way that someone could choose to be a write-in or is it too late for this upcoming election? Is there any way to oppose the two of them?


Wed, Oct 13, 2010 : 5:21 p.m.

Don was a great tennis coach, and good US Government teacher. Fooled us - he acted like a womanizer. He was so scared in Saline he had a party at his apartment after Tennis practice to celebrate going to the State Tournaments with the boys tennis team, no harm done but he seemed kind of secure in his job and didn't have tenure yet.


Wed, Oct 13, 2010 : 5:18 p.m.

@InsideTheHall - you chose to leave red heads out, but some iteration of the school board at some point thought there was just cause to add weight-challenged people and height-challenged people. If kids killing themselves over sexual orientation issues is not powerful enough motivation to change the policy statement as had been requested, what on God's green earth motivated them to put HEIGHT AND WEIGHT in there!!!! Did I miss the news stories about 6-footers offing themselves because they couldn't get a job and the Saline School Board saying, ewwhh, we gotta address that? Makes no kind of logical sense. So, sorry tall people, short people, fat people, thin people, but I think you need to be yanked from that statement. To leave you in is hypocracy of the greatest stature. Don't you people get it - discrimination protection has been offered to the most vulnerable amongst us for decades (blacks when they were 2nd class citizens, women when they were denied the right to vote). It's a way of correcting a wrong. And if you don't think that gay teenagers KILLING THEMSELVES doesn't not clearly show that they are a most vulnerable group then you have no heart. I am dismayed that this has turned into a debate about bullying - because that is NOT THE ISSUE. It is about establishing a CLIMATE AND A CULTURE in the schools of acceptance, it's about telling these kids we've got your back, now and maybe when you're adults - maybe applying for employment with this school district. If you think words on paper have no effect, will make no difference, then throw out the school policy manual entirely (as was eloquent stated by a speaker last night) and, while you're at it, throw out the bible, constitution, koran, the pledge of allegiance, etc., etc., etc. They're all just words on paper. It means something to these kids to say, hey, we've got a bullying and harrassment policy and, you know what, we'll go the extra step and say we won't discriminate also. Kids are killing themselves, it's got to stop, the way to make it stop is to change the climate, the way to change the climate is to first put it in writing that hate, in the forms of bullying, harrassment AND DISCRIMINATION will not be tolerated in this PUBLIC school. If you can't add this most vulnerable group to your statement then you must remove the others that are not legally mandated to be there, starting with height and weight.

Terri L. Harris-Durnell

Wed, Oct 13, 2010 : 5:11 p.m.

This is so good to see! I was feeling like there was a "Saline" mentality that I was not privy to... It appears that my good neighbors have the same concerns that I do! I served 20 years in the military. I have met so-o-o many people... Bullying, and harrassment are not remote problems for "other" people. They are facts of life. Facts of life that we, as parents, as teachers... as just plain decent people, must address. The intelligient, articulate people of this community have spoken!!!! No one wants to be a jerk! No one wants their children to be jerks! How better to convey that message, than to put it in writing? Saline School Board, please, pay attention.


Wed, Oct 13, 2010 : 5:10 p.m.

@InsideTheHall What is this gay agenda you speak of??


Wed, Oct 13, 2010 : 5:09 p.m.

Professionals and others who research Saline Schools and the Saline area realize they have a gem, they live here because they want the best for their children. Saline boasts the highest performing schools in the area, with a safe town and nice atmomspere. The only hate I see is coming from outsiders and people with an agenda that won't benifit all the students but just a few. No bulling means just that, giving defined groups special treatment over other puts that group at an advantage instead of on a level playing feild.


Wed, Oct 13, 2010 : 4:47 p.m.

InsideTheHall: I think you're going a bit overboard here with your "redheads" comment. You are totally missing the point. What is it about people that feel the need to exclude someone if they are gay, anyway? Why can't all of us just accept people the way they are and let it go at that, whether it is religion, the color of their skin, or WHATEVER reason? Why do people feel the need to persecute someone that is different from themselves? I don't get it, and never will. Let people just be people. Maybe people think that everyone is the same, i.e., some religious nut that feels the need to "convert" someone else to religion. It just doesn't work like that. Let people be themselves. Believe however you want to believe and let it go at that. Everyone is different and just accept that fact that not everyone is the same. Geez. What's the big deal.


Wed, Oct 13, 2010 : 4:27 p.m.

Lets be clear here. The policy should state simplying that all forms of discrimination are not allowed. No Bullying applies to everyone all the time. I think we all agree on that. What we don't need is to sanction the gay agenda....and it is an agenda. That is why I did not push to have red heads included in the language.

saline high student

Wed, Oct 13, 2010 : 4:22 p.m.

As a student at Saline, I would just like to say that myself and my supportive peers at the high school will not be giving up this fight so quickly. We have the need for a stronger discrimination policy, and we're going to do what we can to improve this policy to make ourselves as safe as possible.


Wed, Oct 13, 2010 : 4:19 p.m.

I can't wait until Ann Arbor City Council passes one of their resolutions about this.


Wed, Oct 13, 2010 : 4:16 p.m.

*Please forward to your board and anyone in your community who hasn't yet grasped how far reaching your school board's choice is. Let it be known they are speaking for you as a communitylike it or not. Your community is sending to the world more than one message: To the Bully: LBGT faculty/student are fair game and there's nothing you can do about it! Moreover, my school board has and will look the other way if I do. To potential home buyer: If I move to Saline I will be surrounded by a large majority of people who practice their faith on Sundays, but stand firmly grounded in hate on Tuesdays. To the LGBT staff and students: Hide! Do not be your authentic self if you don't want to be emotionally and/or physically harmed by others. Do you have separate lunch tables and drinking fountains for these students/faculty? You allow them through the door-- they can be the best teacher, student, athlete...and you claim them as Saline's best-- yet you won't stand-up and make a safe school for all. As a parent, educator, and a GSA mentor I can honestly say your school board's choice made me physically sick. I will forward the facts on to every social network I can think of. What are the facts? Saline has a school board that represents the entire community. It had an opportunity to change it's G.O.B. Club mentality and be countedinstead they chose to tell the world you, as a community, are haters. Maybe SHAME will help your community realize that behind every bully (or school board acting like one) are good people, like you, choosing to do nothing.


Wed, Oct 13, 2010 : 4:15 p.m.

It's been said before, but I want to also say that I am so proud of the LGBTQ high school kids who have been so brave, and I'm proud of the SALINE community that came out to support them. That room was probably 80% in favor of the policy change. And the people who spoke in favor were eloquent and compelling. The spectrum group were the real leaders in that room.


Wed, Oct 13, 2010 : 3:46 p.m.

Mitch: Next time I disagree with a vote from your hometown (Portage, no?) school district board of education, I'll be sure to create a facebook group about it... I understand this is an issue that you feel passionate about, but as a member of the Saline community, I have faith that the right decision will be made. But that requires action from Saline if Saline feels the Board did not make the right decision - not action from college students from Portage.


Wed, Oct 13, 2010 : 3:41 p.m.

To Saline Student: Keep going forward and stand up for yourselves. The tide will change, trust me, and the board members who voted against adding this to the board policy manual WILL BE VOTED OUT. They are not representing the majority of people in Saline, as they are SUPPOSED TO DO, i.e., their constituents. This is more than a discrimination thing - it's a human rights issue, along with religion, etc. To the board members - put aside your religious feelings and not make this a religious issue. Religion has NO PLACE in a public school system. If that were the case, then these kids would be going to a religion-based school. Geez, people, it's not rocket science. Get over yourselves.


Wed, Oct 13, 2010 : 3:41 p.m.

Wow. I am surprised and disappointed that the Saline School Board did not have the courage to protect all of it's students. I read that some Trustees believed the protection was already in the policy. I think they would feel very different if someone they cared about was in one of the proposed categories and dealt with the bullying and discrimination. If residents of Saline are disappointed, then they need to vote better Trustees onto their school board. And if residents organize to try again to make the board do the right thing by all Saline Public School students - I hope the Ann Arbor News gives it just as much publicity so that supporters can be aware and participate. Sad day...

saline student

Wed, Oct 13, 2010 : 3:27 p.m.

As a member of Spectrum I'd like to say that although we are all very disappointed by the vote, we're also prepared to continue attending full board and policy board meetings. We'll continue to keep our spirits high and support one another. We'll continue to advocate for what we believe is the right thing to do. We certainly do not feel defeated. To the community members who have shown support and to the community members who have provided valuable discussion, thank you all so much.


Wed, Oct 13, 2010 : 3:17 p.m.

Does it really take rocket science to understand that a person who is picked out to be bullied based on race, gender, sexual orientation or any such reason has already been discriminated? Discrimination is STEP 1 and bullying is STEP 2. They do not want to put words in STEP 1 as it is covered in STEP 2. So, they want the STEP 1 to happen which is discrimination. Anybody who says that this is a case of bullying and should not be covered in discrimination clause is an ldeal case for a mental checkup. And for the board members, here is a direct comment to you - If you are intellectually challenged as not to understand the above basic fact, what can we expect the children in your schools to be? How many of board members are school dropouts here?


Wed, Oct 13, 2010 : 3:11 p.m.

@ JM and @T - You both are absolutely right. Saline's current policy is to keep gay staff silenced and not to give them a voice. This works extremely well for the side that is oppressing because they have control and power through fear. It's pretty horrible for the oppressed when they constantly work in fear that they could lose their jobs. It seems that Saline though would rather maintain this environment of fear and oppression. Fear = hard working gay teachers who will keep quiet.


Wed, Oct 13, 2010 : 3:10 p.m.

@InsideTheHall - the gays are on the outside because you already drove them out with your torches and pitchforks. @tracyann - advocates realize all Saline residents are not bigots. Unfortunately those residents have not historically been the ones with the loudest voices.


Wed, Oct 13, 2010 : 3:05 p.m.

I agree with @bornblu the board should reconsider and do the right thing. But, to read the tone here only supports their position. I am surprised that they went against Supt. Graden's recommendation.


Wed, Oct 13, 2010 : 2:58 p.m.

For all of those thinking this policy is only causing issue for students...the staff at SAS is also at risk as they could be fired at any moment simply for being who they are. The anti-bullying issue is also a mask to hide behind for those who don't want to afford anti-discrimination rights to adults under the employment of SAS. The protection of kids are the priority, but don't think for a minute as an adult I don't watch over my shoulder when I have to go to Saline. I would rather go to the rougher parts of Detroit if given the choice.


Wed, Oct 13, 2010 : 2:57 p.m.

I am EXTREMELY disappointed in our school board. The board members that voted AGAINST this should be ashamed of themselves. At one time, when my daughter graduated from SHS in 2006, I was SO PROUD to say that I lived in Saline and I always stood behind our school district and what it stood for. The board members are voted in because the voters need a voice. Obviously, they are out of touch with the community or just vote how THEY PERSONALLY believe. If you can't vote the way that the majority of the community wants you to vote, then please do the right thing and step down. This is awful and disgusting. No one at Saline enforces the bullying policy OR the dress code, so why even have it.


Wed, Oct 13, 2010 : 2:50 p.m.

@tdw because gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender kids are the ones getting killed. It's not about picking on somebody just cause you can and think they are weird. Gay kids get bullied out of hate. They get killed. It's really just a fine line between bullying and a hate crime.


Wed, Oct 13, 2010 : 2:50 p.m.

The vote of the School Board should not be a surprise to anyone who has been involved with this Board over the years. They have consistently voted AGAINST the wishes of the community they are suppose to represent on a very consistent basis. The group think is to reject any proposed change as being unnecessary or the Board rationalizes that they already have addressed this or that issue in another way. Folks - DO NOT GIVE UP! Organize, educate and mobilize the community. It is obvious that the majority of the community support this cause, the teachers and administrators support this cause and the students support this cause. Continue to push this matter. Continue to educate the Board, the community and our students about this matter. You have opened the door to a topic not many communities want to talk about, congrats for getting this far. KEEP IT UP. Use the Teen Center to educate, use the PTO to educate, use LINK CREW to educate, use every available public forum to educate people on this topic. Beyond educating, be sensitive to the ballot box as well. Unfortunately,the 2 candidates on the ballot for next month's election both felt the need to voice opposition to the proposed language. This means that voters need to remember that Paul Hynek has voted against the teachers contracts during his time on the Board (only Board member to do so) and his opponent is sponsored by the Saline Education Association. (The SEA paid the money to registar the candidate rather than secure signature to put him on the ballot). So for those who are going to vote against Paul Hynek because of this vote, remember you are voting in a person who will oppose any changes to the contract of the Saline Teachers, a contract that has ZERO employee premium sharing and one of the richest contracts in the nation when considering the total package (pay, benefits, pension, added duties premiums, step increase annual increase and similar items).


Wed, Oct 13, 2010 : 2:49 p.m.

Mitch and Lisa As I stated previously, I am in favor of the change in policy language being made and would/will actively support any candidate who runs in favor of including the past proposal. To spout your hate (your words Mitch) towards the 4 BOE members (and your presumation that hate is what they believe and feel) creates the same discrimination from those with our point of view. While your intolerance of their thoughts shows through, I continue to disagree strongly with their decesion but do not believe they are hateful individuals, only that they have an opinion different than mine. SDP, it is quite easy, run for the BOE. I will continue to support our local community (all aspects of it) and am extremely thankful for the education of my children and grandchildren from the Saline schools. (Lisa, as an aside, if the price is right, I know many who are interested moving to our community, and might possibly be in your home. Just contact a local realtor).


Wed, Oct 13, 2010 : 2:49 p.m.

Was this whole issue brought up because of the rash of suicides by gay school kids? Many people commenting have brought it up, but those kids who killed themselves were bullied, not discriminated against. They were singled out and bullied because they are gay, which is wrong, but adding words to an anti-discrimination policy does not stop bullying. And I really wish people would stop painting all the citizens of Saline with the same anti-gay brush; the irony is killing me.


Wed, Oct 13, 2010 : 2:29 p.m.

@ Mitch I asked this question but no one answered it so I'll ask you.This is NOT ment to confrontational ( my spelling sucks ).Why is it worse to bully someone based on their sexual orentation than to bully someone because they wear glasses,are small,don't wear the right clothes,stutter? etc... Again I'm not trying to take sides here


Wed, Oct 13, 2010 : 2:05 p.m.

@InsideTheHall What values of the community are you talking about? You have a poll on this article showing a super majority of people who have read it support changing the language. You have a lot of people commenting on the fact that they support on the change of language as well as the people who talked at the meeting last night. There were a lot of people who spoke at the meeting that supported the change in language who weren't reported about in this article and they represented the majority of the people at the meeting. So it sounds to me that you were proud that they stood up for your values and not the community's.


Wed, Oct 13, 2010 : 1:53 p.m.

Thanks Mitch, just emailed all four and thanked them for standing up for the values of the community and not folding to the ginned up pressure from the outside gay community who want to dictate our affairs.

j M

Wed, Oct 13, 2010 : 1:29 p.m.

What we all need to be reminded of or made aware of is that the change in this policy would have impacted both student AND TEACHERS!!!! Currently, the policy does not provide protection for teachers who may feel that they have experienced discrimination or harassment based on their sexual orientation, gender, and/or gender identity. There are many LGBTQ teachers within Saline School who are too concerned to be identified for fear of job security especially in these hard economic times. I passionately believe that in order to create climate change there needs to be visible role models in the teacher community who are able to take a stand against harassment, bullying, etc. If teachers (all teachers- gay, straight, bi, etc.) feel as if they are at risk of being fired or treated differently as a result of stopping anti-gay comments, bullying behavior associated with LGBTQ content, etc. then how exactly will a zero tolerance policy get put into action. If teachers hear other teachers mocking kids based on assumptions that they may be LGBTQ and nothing is done about it with the adults how will the adults implement such zero tolerance with the kids? Will the staff get training on how to work with LGBTQ colleagues just as much as they will get training on how to address LGBTQ issues with kids? Does the administration understand the impact of staff feeling "outed" to other staff? It happens- adults mocking kids, staff "outing" staff, gossip amongst colleagues, isolation for teachers who cannot be themselves amongst their colleague- and, it sets a tone that impacts climate and how seriously will people take any new anti-discrimination/anti-bullying policy!


Wed, Oct 13, 2010 : 1:22 p.m.

Mitch, can you share the facebook link? I want to join :)

Mark A.

Wed, Oct 13, 2010 : 1:01 p.m.

I don't understand the confusion over the difference between the anti-bullying policy and the non-discrimination policy. The argument "We have a bullying problem not a discrimination problem" is not a logical reason to vote against a policy change. One should weight the pros and cons of the change, whether it's needed or not. Change can and should happen BEFORE it's needed, after all. As a member of many boards, I don't see this as a huge failure, though. Things often don't change the first time it's discussed. There's nothing stopping a motion at the next meeting. The only set back is the time between meetings.


Wed, Oct 13, 2010 : 12:52 p.m.

Keep in mind that one of these fine folks, Paul Hynek, is up for re-election this November. Lets make sure that someone like this who puts his own beliefs before the protection of students does NOT remain a member of the Saline school board. :) I KNEW there was a reason the school board thing was on the election ballots. Go democracy! :P


Wed, Oct 13, 2010 : 12:48 p.m.

It only confirms why I would not move my family to Saline. Shame on the school board. Letting some elected parents make educational choices for all children in Saline, when they are not qualified to do so.

mike from saline

Wed, Oct 13, 2010 : 12:43 p.m.

@speechless Your proposal for change's in the language of Saline's Anti- discrimination policy sounds just like the University of Michigan's "Code oF Conduct" from the 90s ["Your words and opinions are making me feel un-comfortable"]. And we all know how that turned out. 1st Amendment 42 Speech codes 0


Wed, Oct 13, 2010 : 12:41 p.m.

Good ole' Saline. Somethings never change!


Wed, Oct 13, 2010 : 12:30 p.m.

The non-discrimination policy change decision wouldn't have affected anything in any way other than a brief celebration for those in favor of it. While the change certainly wouldn't have been detrimental, it would not be the landmark event everyone seems to think (or hope) it would be. Mr. Fredrick is right when he says the problem is in the bullying policy and how it is (or isn't) enforced. Those in favor of the change shouldn't be too upset. Instead, seek to tighten up the bullying policy.


Wed, Oct 13, 2010 : 12:25 p.m.

It doesn't make sense to me how so many people can step forward and yet the school board can still ignore everything in favor of their own opinions. I have lived in Saline all my life and witnessed the extreme prejudice Saline residents generally direct toward different groups including those of different race, different religious views, and those that simply have different opinions. Somehow Saline still manages to amaze me with the level of discrimination exhibited in the community. It makes me feel sad and disgusted that this kind of behavior is being perpetuated by people that adamantly insist they are trying to teach their children good values. It also disgusts me how much Saline seems unable to separate religion from anything they do. My support goes out to the students who have to go to school feeling unsafe.


Wed, Oct 13, 2010 : 12:19 p.m.

Saline seems to have evolved into a kind of suburban, Bible Belt bedroom community. While tending toward middle class in income and in manners, its social environment prefers to encourage a toxic social atmosphere in more outwardly polite ways — that is, aside from the tauntings and the occasional beating in school, courtesy of local kids and their upbringing. While the anti-bullying policy is supposed to address in-school assaults on students, the anti-discrimination wording addition would go a step or two further, taking on the more "polite" forms of harassment and calculated social marginalization. ------------ "... Don't whine, organize!" Yes, the upside here is that the draconian vote result last night will ignite increased activism among those students and community members who feel very let down. Maybe a year or two from now the result will be 7-0 or 6-1 in favor of upgrading the discrimination policy — which actually needs the addition of more than just last night's proposed six or seven words. It really should include a list as similar as possible to the anti-bullying policy below: "Harassment or bullying is any gesture or written, verbal, graphic or physical act... that is reasonably perceived as being motivated either by any actual or perceived characteristic, such as race, color, religion, ancestry, national origin, gender, sexual orientation, gender identity and expression; or a mental, physical or sensory disability or impairment; or by any other distinguishing characteristic."


Wed, Oct 13, 2010 : 12:18 p.m.

To those who have commented that we should vote in a different school board, let's be clear, it is not quite that easy. To reiterate what SalineMom said, neither canidate in this November's election support the change. Both Paul Hyneck and Todd A. Carter agree with the Board's decision. Any suggestions about how to use my vote? There is much more work to do.

mike from saline

Wed, Oct 13, 2010 : 12:16 p.m.

I'm curious as to What are the policies in regards to discrimination, and sexual identity, in other communities, not only in Washtenaw County, but all over the State. Is the Saline School boards position out of wack? I'm guessing it's NOT. What say you,


Wed, Oct 13, 2010 : 11:52 a.m.

Board members who voted against the change said the real issue is bullying, not discrimination, and the district already has a policy to address that. So in voting against the change we're saying it's ok to discriminate based on sexual orientation, gender identity and gender expression?? Board members Amy Cattell, Chuck Lesch, Paul Hynek and Craig Hoeft in voting against this change potentially are ok with discriminating against these people?? Sounds like we need others to take a stand and run for the school board to oust these people. I'll vote for you.

mike from saline

Wed, Oct 13, 2010 : 11:41 a.m.

As soon as I saw the head-line, I knew this would be the perfect venue for the "progressive, forward-thinking, social, and economic justice crowd," to demonstrate there hand-wringing concern, and self- rightous indignation. Being as how it concerns the Saline Community, better yet. I recieved a phone call one evening [back in 2004] from a polite, soft-spoken young man, who was a volunteer for one of the Gay-rights, organizations [Ann Arbor, Gay, Lesbian, Bi-sexual, and Trans gendered Coalition, I believe] urging me to vote against a ballot proposal that would define marriage as that between a man and a woman, only, in the State of Michigan. I asked him if this was about discrimination, and he replyed, "yes, most definantly." I asked him if he was against discrimination? He said he was. I said, "I'll make you a deal, there's another ballot proposal they're collecting petition signature's for, that would ban disrimination by the State of Michigan, based on race, religion, gender, national origin, which will probably be on the ballot in 2006, and if you and the orgin- ization you represent will support that proposal, I'll be glad to vote against this "gay-marriage ban. What do you say? Does that sound fair?"..........Silence.....hello..are you still there...... I tell you this [true story] to remind all you "forward thinking, progresive type's posting "finger wagging, shame on you," comments, full of ridiculous hyperbole, that Ann Arbor tolerated racial discrimination [UofM admisions policies] for decades, and when given the chance to vote against discrimination in 2006, voted overwhelmingly to keep the status-quo. As far as I'm concerned, if you voted against the Michigan civil rights proposal in 2006, you have no standing, and nothing you say in regards to discrimination should be taken seriously by the good citizens of Saline.


Wed, Oct 13, 2010 : 11:38 a.m.

Whoops, meant to say "...and my parents wondered why I always scoffed at their efforts to convince my wife and I to buy a house in Saline."


Wed, Oct 13, 2010 : 11:30 a.m.

Very depressing but no big surprise. I grew up in Saline and was harassed by bullies all through middle and high school. I wasn't even gay, just didn't fit into the mold, but that didn't stop my intolerant, insecure, close-minded classmates from lobbing "F" bombs my way at every opportunity. The kid who lived down the street even spray painted a message saying that I was gay at the end of our block so the whole neighborhood could see it! Guess who's a gay male model now? (Hint: it's not me) Go figure....and my parents wondered why I always scoffed at their efforts to buy a house in Saline. Proud to say I'm raising my kids in Ann Arbor. It may not be perfect, but at least people can respect diversity here.


Wed, Oct 13, 2010 : 11:16 a.m.

Ok I have a question why is it worse ( or any diffrent ) that a kid is bullied because they are gay,than a kid that is bullied because they are small,wear glasses,talk with a stutter etc...?


Wed, Oct 13, 2010 : 11:14 a.m.

Here's a way to think about this issue. Ask yourself, who might be hurt by including these 6 words in the anti-discrimination policy? The obvious answer is it would hurt no one. Then ask yourself who might be helped by including these 6 words. The answer is, it could help everyone, but in particular it would offer protection to those specifically cited in the 6 words. The reasoning to vote against the proposal seems to overwhelmingly be that "no one is experiencing discrimination so why change the discrimination policy". The answer is, because if it isn't changed there still exists the potential that there could be discrimination in the future. There is no reason why the anti-discrimination policy should not be consistent with the anti-bullying policy. They are two separate policies, each offering a different type of protection. There's no good reason for both of them not to be all-inclusive. And THEN.....they both need to be more than just words on paper. And to those who spout about immoral don't have to believe that homosexuality is right or wrong in order to believe that a homosexual deserves the same protections as all others. No one really cares that you think Bobby will go to hell because he dates Billy instead of Betty. The only relevant questions here are does Bobby deserve to participate in all educational activities and does Bobby deserve not to be bullied? The answers are yes, therefore both policies should reflect that.


Wed, Oct 13, 2010 : 11:07 a.m.

All bulling is wrong.Schools should take care of it.


Wed, Oct 13, 2010 : 10:59 a.m.

To bad! With all of the recent teen suicides because of being bullied you think they would have made sure the school was doing more to prevent it and with larger consequences for the bullier


Wed, Oct 13, 2010 : 10:52 a.m.

Saline School Board candidate Todd Carter addressed the BOE in OPPOSITION to the change in language.


Wed, Oct 13, 2010 : 10:44 a.m.

Saline Public School and for that matter any public school should be publicly penalized for any act of bullying that victimizes any child and lack of enforcement of their own anti-bullying policy. And if heads need to roll then so may it be. I think in the process we may be able to weed out some good-for-nothing board members. Coming back to bullying, the real education starts at home. But then question is are parents educated or responsible. So many children are there whose parents are adults just physically and I have no words for their moral behavior. There should be a system where the school is able to determine the healthiness of family at home and the problems that that child might bring with him/her at school. Then they can work towards that problems. The worst statement I have ever heard is "Kids will be Kids". If that is the attitude then I am sorry to say that parents have failed miserably. Just popping out kids don't make one a parent. It takes a huge amount of sacrifice and involvement to raise socially sensible and good citizens. Schools are not cleaners for their messed up child. They should start cleaning their mess at home. So, we need some kind of policies and laws in place that not only school but parents are also held responsible for bullies and are penalized heavily if they fail to restrain their own children. Everybody talks about broken education system. The is education 101 - we should start with that. Atleast, instill proper behavior in school. Academic performance is way ahead.


Wed, Oct 13, 2010 : 10:38 a.m.

Please! Anti-bullying policy is sufficient? Another thinly veiled excuse to hang on to those racist, classist, and anti-gay "values" that so many in Saline hold so dear. Can't say I'm surprised. At least have the guts to call it what it is...discrimination.


Wed, Oct 13, 2010 : 10:24 a.m.

@Gary Your personal beliefs are just that--personal. Religion has no place in our school system or any other public institution because it undermines personal freedom and choice. That is essential to our democracy, yet every day I hear someone trying to re-write history with this "Christian Country/Christian Foundation" weirdness. Even our most devout founding fathers understood that the Church must not govern our affairs in any way.


Wed, Oct 13, 2010 : 10:24 a.m.

Yikes! I feel for the employees and staff of SAS who are gay. They will continue their silence and keeping up their illusion to the district and students that they are not gay. It seems that Saline would like to pretend that it does not have gay employees or staff. I wonder what advice the SAS district would give it's gay employees when a student comes to them for advice? What about when a student outright asks them if they are gay? What should a gay teacher do since they are not protected under the anti-discrimination policy? Should they lie and say they are straight? Or should they abstain from the question (which would basically be an admission since most heterosexual staff have no problems talking about their spouses/boyfriends/girlfriends/fiancees)? I'm interested to hear SAS's thoughts, but I assume they will stay silent on this issue because it's easier to pretend gay employees don't exist for fear that it may come off as supporting gay people (And this seems more important than supporting their gay employees and staff).


Wed, Oct 13, 2010 : 10:24 a.m.

@Mr. Scientist - too fitting!!! I have lived here 30 years and you are right on. We are putting our house for sale in the spring and getting out of crazy town.


Wed, Oct 13, 2010 : 10:13 a.m.

I got a new slogan for the City web site - Saline: How America used to be!


Wed, Oct 13, 2010 : 10:11 a.m.

TOM. Really? What they want to do is shut down the debate and declear victory- "Yes, life is meaningless. Our behavior is irrevelent and we are free to do and to be whatever enters our mind. There is no right and wrong, God is dead." Sorry, but the meeting last night only helped to show "God" is alive and well in our next generation of children. They are yet not blinded by animosity, ignorance and the learned wisdom of our past and present generation of adults.


Wed, Oct 13, 2010 : 10:04 a.m.

Disappointing. It's unfortunate that the BOE can go against what seems to be an overwhelming majority. The people will get their vote when these people are up for election again. Let's just vote these members off the board! Paul Hynek is up for relection this year, right? Let's replace him!

Gary Perrydore

Wed, Oct 13, 2010 : 10:03 a.m.

The school board voted no on the policy change but clearly stated that the issues surrounding it will be addressed - that all students should be free of bullying. The proposed policy did not add all students and did not address enforcement. The board has committed to ensuring the real issue of bullying is taken up with policy and enforcement mandates. The vote last night was not rejection of the students who have expressed their concerns, it was rejection of a policy that would not effectively deal with the problem, it would in fact create additional challenges for the board to deal with and would not have moved us closer to a true resolution. Since others are bringing religion into this, I will also address that briefly unfortunately this forum does not lend itself to an adequate response but I will attempt one statement. From a Christian standpoint, rejecting the proposed policy change is not incompatible with Christianity. As a Christian, I reject adultery, I reject abortion, I reject pornography the list goes on, but I do not reject the person. Jesus never rejected the person, but he did reject sin. From a Christian perspective, we are called to love, but just like Jesus, we are not called to love or accept all actions or behaviors.


Wed, Oct 13, 2010 : 10:02 a.m.

TripleVSix - What does your obvious dislike of Ann Arbor have to do with this story? The Saline School Board simply lacked the courage to strengthen the non-discrimination policy. So it's your city's issue, not Ann Arbor's.


Wed, Oct 13, 2010 : 10:01 a.m.

@ Stefanie...For once has done a good job at moderation.I am more than satisfied to see my comments removed along with the others.


Wed, Oct 13, 2010 : 9:57 a.m.

@Inside The Hall: Sorry sir, but we live in America. No one has the right--legally or morally--to impose their archaic religious beliefs on the rest of us. This isn't an issue about diversity. This is about the essential core American belief: Liberty and Freedom.


Wed, Oct 13, 2010 : 9:55 a.m.

stunhsif - I am a 30 year Saline resident with a son in hs and a 5yr old daughter who I will not send to Saline schools because of the intolerance. I will be voting against the members who voted against this. It really didn't matter how many people came out and spoke for this last night. Those members of the school board who voted against this would vote against it no matter what. I am glad the students aren't giving up and hope this motivates them to fight harder!


Wed, Oct 13, 2010 : 9:50 a.m.

Typical--The schoolboard has the "Different Like Me" syndrome. Wouldn't expect anything less from the "Me" generation.


Wed, Oct 13, 2010 : 9:33 a.m.

"ED: That is poppycock. Typical Gay Rights stance, if you oppose their demands you get labeled and then the threats. Well my friend, diversity should cut both ways and it is lacking within the gay community when Christians openly express that the gay lifestyle is immoral." - InsideTheHall I actually agree with @InsideTheHall on this one. I don't think responding to other peoples opinions with name calling or threats is very productive. I'd like to point out that @InsideTheHall is labeling all homosexuals as "immoral" while simultaneously asking everyone not to label him/her. It is the equivalent of saying someone is "immoral" based on race. I'm making no distinction here between "homosexual" and "homosexual lifestyle". I am also a Christian. I think the primary tenets of Christianity are the love and acceptance of others. We are all Gods children, and portraying oneself as a moral authority is incredibly suspect. We were not placed on this earth by God to judge others, period. I do think this is an issue of right or wrong. Equality in our society sadly requires codification. We can't say "yes, your equal but we don't want to make you legally equal for the following reasons". Law and law enforcement are two separate things. This isn't just about bullying, it is about recognition. Even if this policy change resulted in more bullying it would still be the right thing to do. By not voting to revise this policy we have proclaimed to an entire group of people that they don't deserve and can not expect equal treatment. This decision is a sad statement on our society.


Wed, Oct 13, 2010 : 9:32 a.m.

It appears that a number of commenters would like to impose their views on the residents of Saline and anyone disagreeing is being castigated as some sort of thug or storm trooper. This is supposedly a free country and everyone has a right to their own point of view. The lack of civility expressed by those supporting the additional language does nothing to further their cause and only causes a more reactionary response.


Wed, Oct 13, 2010 : 9:22 a.m.

This is merely an attempt to officially recongize those with sexual interests counter to their design,(yes, sexual confusion interferes with our children). Then secondly this is an attempt to officially embrace and affirm their devient sexual leanings,(no one may discourage it or speak negatively about it as a result of adding this language to the code) And then ultimately this change serves to elevate homosexuality to the same status as hetersexuality with the goal of expanding their ranks and luring more boarderline children into embracing the "gay" lifestyle. What they want to do is shut down the debate and declear victory- "Yes, life is meaningless. Our behavior is irrevelent and we are free to do and to be whatever enters our mind. There is no right and wrong, God is dead."


Wed, Oct 13, 2010 : 9:12 a.m.

Corporate America moved past this issue long ago & added these words to non-discrimination policies for customers, employees & suppliers - If we are trying to prepare our kids for the world of work (respectful appropriate behavior means you keep your job & it is the right thing to do), adults must teach this every day. I don't care what my neighbor "is" as long as they keep their property up & pay taxes. Disappointing and embarassing that School Board couldn't put this into words on the policy.


Wed, Oct 13, 2010 : 9:04 a.m.

Again- what do people not understand about the wording? Everyone is included in those 6 words. What kind of fallacious logic distorts that to "behaviors". We are talking about a more inclusive non-discrimination policy. A policy that will not go away, because of federal mandates. Derailing this with false reasoning is really sad.


Wed, Oct 13, 2010 : 9:02 a.m.

"Saline is the only city in washtenaw county that consistently supports the republican presidential candidates in every election" Oh, the horrors! So, you're saying it's a bad thing for a town to consistently support candidates of one party. That sounds a lot like Ann Arbor to me.


Wed, Oct 13, 2010 : 8:58 a.m.

Wow, just wow. I hope those in Saline who feel that this was wrong (and it sounds like there are plenty) really follow thru and keep pressure on the school board to revisit the issue until everyone is treated the same. And then VOTE in your school board elections. This is sad and disappointing but not the end of anything.


Wed, Oct 13, 2010 : 8:50 a.m.

I've now read and heard several interviews with the board members who voted against and each of them says the same thing: "We need to improve our anti-bullying policy" Unfortunately no reporter has yet asked the relevant follow-up questions: Where's your plan to do that? Where's the policy you propose? When will the new and improved anti-bullying policy be proposed and passed? Why isn't it possible to pass a non-discrimination clause AND pass an improved anti-bullying policy? The reason is pretty simple. It's easy for board members to vote against this and then hope the issue goes away, given everyone's short attention span, so the board members who voted against this will never be held accountable to back up their platitudes about anti-bullying with REAL action. Or will the school district hold them accountable and force them to pass strong anti-bullying measures? Or will something shiny distract everyone in a week and this will be forgotten?


Wed, Oct 13, 2010 : 8:47 a.m.

Corey Lord - So, if I'm following your logic, you disagree with the values being taught in some homes, so the BOE should fix that??? The anti-bullying policy came from the anti-discrimination policy? Really? Then why would it be necessary to "strengthen" the anti-bullying policy by adding this group to the discrimination policy? The confusion to me surrounds "acceptance" versus mistreatment. I do not have to accept any of the behaviors that are being mentioned here needing protection. BUT I do NOT have the right to mistreat any of them either, for those reasons or any others. I have an issue with the idea that it's less wrong to beat me up or mistreat me than it is someone who has a particular color of skin, eye color, hair style, (insert whatever else you can think of)!


Wed, Oct 13, 2010 : 8:36 a.m.

@ the Ghost, Alan, and others: I do live in Saline,and know many of the individuals on the BOE, teachers, and administrators of the local schools. While I would have liked the propasal to have been adopted, I will not penalize an entire community because of my disagreemnent with a few (4 BOE members). There is an appropriate way to affect change and that would be for others to become active through their involvement by running for the BOE. Specifically though Ghost, your chastizing nature seems to not include the teachers union which by your logic should also be held accountable for this decision. A teacher spoke out specifically against the proposal yet you let his organization skate, while advocating boycotting of the entire remainder of Saline becuase of the actions of 4. Your priorities shine bright. I will continue to completely support Saline while I advocate for change. I would also personally like to thank Coach DiPaolo for his presentation. As a parent of past tennis players, active in the tennis program, I value him as both a friend and mentor, and thank him for all he has given our family.


Wed, Oct 13, 2010 : 8:30 a.m.

so sad, but not surprising to me. Saline is the only city in washtenaw county that consistently supports the republican presidential candidates in every election (look at the election stats). it is the most consistently conservative city in our county. these school board members are afraid of losing their seats AND reflect the views of their constituents. Bullying is a serious problem for any kid who doesn't "fit the mold" in some ways. And many kids who bully are often repeating views and behaviors that they hear and see at home.


Wed, Oct 13, 2010 : 8:15 a.m.

Question is do they know how to enforce anti-bullying policy? Policy on paper is one thing and enforcing is another. And I do not think anybody in that school system is expert on enforcing the policy otherwise this situation won't be there. And if the bullying continues, despite the policy in place, due to lack of enforcement then the lives of children are in peril. Rights should be given to parents to sue the school system if they are not able to enforce the policy diligently. And/or the memebers of this board should be fired right away. They are playing with children's future and they have no right to do so.


Wed, Oct 13, 2010 : 8:15 a.m.

Saline's anti bullying policy works so well that a minority elementary school child had to go the emergency room after being bullied by his classmates. Gotta love Saline.


Wed, Oct 13, 2010 : 8:15 a.m.

@soccerdad13 "Teach your kids your values at home and let them take them into their daily lives". This is the problem. Kids are being taught this same intolerance about sexual orientation from the people around them, including families. If parents are intolerant it will just breed more intolerance. Shame on the 4 members of the school board for voting against this. We all know it is an issue of bullying which needs to be addressed but the bullying policy came from anti-discriminatory policy so why not extend to protect kids who need protecting.

Jay Allen

Wed, Oct 13, 2010 : 8 a.m.

I am afraid to speak out in favor of what the Saline B.O.E. did because I will be lynched with the EXACT SAME mentality you all are complaining about. I do have the "guts" (being "PC" here) to say something and just as YOU (plural) have the "right", to be heard, so do I. Where is all of this hatred you folks have towards the STATE in which we all live in? Most of you willing admit that you do not live in Saline but you have an opinion against what the SALINE B.O.E. did. Okay that is fine, I can accept that, what the B.O.E. does not affect you. But we ALL live in the STATE and our STATE has done nothing. Bigger picture here folks....... As I stated yesterday, you are naive if you think that changing "words" on a piece of paper is going to fix anything. Plus, you want words added that are ALREADY covered in another area of the School's policy. I have taken the time to read the entire thing with an OPEN mind, not just a few excerpts that are turned inflammatory, how many others that are posting can say that? The problem is MUCH larger than this and once EVERYONE recognizes that, then and ONLY then can progress be made.


Wed, Oct 13, 2010 : 7:57 a.m.

Ahhh, Saline. Behind the times as usual. Thanks, BOE, for the reminder of why I will never send my children to their parents' alma mater. And Mr. DiPaolo, sorry about my troglodyte classmates who boasted during Sociology class about going out to find and beat up gay people. That must have been even more upsetting to you than I realized at the time.


Wed, Oct 13, 2010 : 7:50 a.m.

Am loving the "I'm going to take my ball and go home now" attitude. Perhaps if the proponents of the policy change spent as much time articulating the necessity of it as they did demonizing its detractors, it might have passed. But being righteously indignant is EVER so much more fun!


Wed, Oct 13, 2010 : 7:49 a.m.

A big and hearty "thank you" to Tom Frederick a science teacher at Saline who actually had the guts to stand against this publicly. Please let us know and keep us informed if you experience intolerance toward you. As this was written it should have been shot down. Thank goodness sanity prevailed last night. And for those of you in A2 who are now going to "boycott" Saline we say bye bye to all 4 of you.


Wed, Oct 13, 2010 : 7:48 a.m.

Went to the Board meeting because my children, students in the Saline schools, talked about all the repressive thinking, the bigotry and intolerance expressed by fellow classmates and school staff. I was glad to hear the articulate opinions expressed by community members that seemed to prove my children wrong. It gave me faith in the community and something to have a serious talk with my children about. Then the Board voted.


Wed, Oct 13, 2010 : 7:45 a.m.

Thank goodness common sense prevailed and for those posting opposed, I will take note of the BOE members who got wrapped up in the hype. Finally, someone realized that there are enough rules in place already to deal with the issue. For those that feel it's up to the schools and the BOE to "teach leadership," you're part of the problem. Teach your kids your values at home and let them take them into their daily lives. Sure, let's organize and protest and march and take more time away from teaching the skills the kids need to be successful. The issue is it's NOT worse to mistreat someone that is in a "protected" class. It's wrong to mistreat- leave it at that. The activists and lawyers have complicated it because it keeps them in business.


Wed, Oct 13, 2010 : 7:42 a.m.

Should have let the students vote on how they would like their school district to be run. Guaranteed the vote would have been overwhelmingly in favor of adding 21st century thought to this policy.


Wed, Oct 13, 2010 : 7:38 a.m.

@ Jimmy...well said


Wed, Oct 13, 2010 : 7:37 a.m.

ED: That is poppycock. Typical Gay Rights stance, if you oppose their demands you get labeled and then the threats. Well my friend, diversity should cut both ways and it is lacking within the gay community when Christians openly express that the gay lifestyle is immoral. For those boycotting Saline tell us when you start we want to quantify the impact. Oh, and we'll keep an eye out for those protests.


Wed, Oct 13, 2010 : 7:37 a.m.

I am terribly disappointed with the vote. But, please don't paint all of Saline with the same brush. We are also the town that has raised some remarkable and strong young adults who brought an issue to the table, spoke their minds with passion and grace, and organized a thoughtful group. For those who keep spouting off about "outsiders" and "these people" and "this group", get a grip. "These people" are your brothers and sisters, your family, your friends, your co-workers. Those six words had the power to provide more protection for some of our most vulnerable students. We ALL have a sexual identity, gender orientation, and gender identity. This wording included everyone.


Wed, Oct 13, 2010 : 7:29 a.m.

What amazed me at the meeting last night was the power and courage of those students who spoke. I fear every day we're losing the will to "fight the system". Despite the outcome, these individuals came together and did a spectacular job. Change is coming one way or another, At least Saline's future generations show more promise than our own. It's unfortunate most of these true leaders will be leaving this area and Michigan for more tolerant, vibrant and accepting locations.


Wed, Oct 13, 2010 : 7:15 a.m.

"The comments from community members supporting the proposal were overwhelmingly in favor of protecting those most vulnerable. Instead, the board chose to ignore their stakeholders and take the easy way out." Wow, I didn't realize that every stakeholder in Saline was at the meeting. Years ago when the packed house was against schools of choice the board voted for it. I guess due dilegence and some careful thought take precedence over the quick tally of votes of those speaking at a board meeting.


Wed, Oct 13, 2010 : 7:01 a.m.

Since the board voted not to add the 6 requested words to the discrimination statement then the only next logical step is for them to REMOVE all the words currently in the policy statement and all other school documents that are not mandated by law to be there. To do otherwise is hypocritical. You can't say, well, adding this group of people will only create a never-ending laundry list of groups wanting to be added when you, yourselves, have already begun that laundry list - but choose who can and cannot be on it.


Wed, Oct 13, 2010 : 6:52 a.m.

So @Chai you reminded me... "The brick walls are there to give us a chance to show how badly we want something." Randy Pausch So, we can go back with more support and specific reasons for the non-discrimination change. Reasons why having just the bullying is NOT enough.


Wed, Oct 13, 2010 : 6:48 a.m.

I am disappointed to read that community leaders capitulated to ignorance and small-mindedness. I had hoped for greater courage in our community leaders.


Wed, Oct 13, 2010 : 6:38 a.m.

Very disappointed with the outcome of the Board vote. The speakers were at least 4:1 in favor of the change - maybe more. The most passionate speakers were people who felt the discrimination first hand. I am not sure how anyone could listen to that and not be moved. I am not sure how anyone could hear any of those words and assume that all is well. With all the horrible news of harassment of members of the gay community at schools across this nation, it is difficult for any school to bury its head in the sand. That is, I am afraid, all that happened in Saline.

Jim Nazium

Wed, Oct 13, 2010 : 6:22 a.m.

Don, I am a graduate of Saline High and had you as a teacher. I just want to say that I am sorry that some people disrespected you over the years in regards to your sexual orientation. I never had a problem with you and thought you were a Great Teacher and a Fantastic Tennis Coach and Leader. I can tell you as a fact that one student who later turned out to be gay ( not that there's anything wrong with that - Seinfeld ) actually did some damage to your car more than once. I don't know if it was a self-hate thing or what, but he did what he did. I hope the Anti-Bullying Rule is strong enough to protect kids and deter bored bullies with nothing better to do than to pick on an easy target. It's just the way it is with kids, they are mean as hell sometimes and all the changes they go through and how they learn to treat others and if and how they make their decisions aren't going to please everyone and be perfect. It all starts at home and parents of bullies should probably be publicly shamed so they can Make Sure Little Billy rights the ship and doesn't grow up to be a Disrespectful Sack of You-know-what.


Wed, Oct 13, 2010 : 6:05 a.m.

Don't whine, organize!


Wed, Oct 13, 2010 : 6:02 a.m.

I can't believe, with the rash of suicides reported in the news recently of gay teenagers that the Saline School Board would choose to ignore this, and the overwhelming support by the community last night, and vote to not change the policy discrimination statement. Way to be foreward thinking! So dissapointing. I love the speaker last night who said that the board should be teaching the students leadership, not being taught it by them! When are those school board elections?

Urban Sombrero

Wed, Oct 13, 2010 : 5:59 a.m.

Oops, always 50 years behind. Looks like my editing didn't work, there.


Wed, Oct 13, 2010 : 5:57 a.m.

Not much of a SalineFan today. VERY disappointed. Thank you David, David & Lisa for listening.

Urban Sombrero

Wed, Oct 13, 2010 : 5:57 a.m.

Disgusting, but I'm not surprised. This is Saline we're talking about. They're always 50 about 50 years behind society, as far as progression goes. Racism and homophobia ran rampant there, 20 some years ago when I was a student. It's sad to see nothing's changed.


Wed, Oct 13, 2010 : 5:56 a.m.

Saline students, teachers and staff can make a difference by organizing in the school and community. Sign petitions, have lunch time rallies, march through downtown and the school. MAKE the BOE vote again, and vote for gay rights.

Dr. I. Emsayin

Wed, Oct 13, 2010 : 5:51 a.m.

As the young people sometimes say: Some people have been drinking too much Hateraide in Saline!

Rachel Dewees

Wed, Oct 13, 2010 : 5:47 a.m.

Needing to leave the meeting before the vote, I felt certain that the board would have no choice but to listen to input from what was clearly a majority of those present. As a very new member of the community who moved here largely for strengths of the Saline school district, I am in disbelief and thoroughly disgusted. What an awful, awful message to send to students gay and straight.


Wed, Oct 13, 2010 : 5:35 a.m.

Although I am extremely proud of all the young adults who spoke, and shared their stories of discrimination and harassment, I am very disappointed in our school board. The comments from community members supporting the proposal were overwhelmingly in favor of protecting those most vulnerable. Instead, the board chose to ignore their stakeholders and take the easy way out. Meanwhile, our students return to school feeling unsafe and unsupported by their leadership.