Yearbook creates concern

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Yearbook creates concern

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Yearbook creates concern

Students defend inclusion of gay couples in Clovis High annual

Thursday, May 22 2008, 10:14 pmBy Sharna Johnson: CNJ staff writer 

Staff members of the 2008 Clovis High School yearbook say the inclusion of photos and interviews with gay couples in the annual is a reflection of the community.

A local Christian group and others strongly disagree. One detractor has threatened to stop donating to school projects while others said they plan to go in front of the school board to protest.

Student editor in chief Maggie Chavez and staff member Jessie Hardison said Thursday the decision to feature gay couples was a conscious one made with much consideration and discussion by the staff.

The staff wanted to be as diverse and inclusive as possible and wanted to make a product for all students to enjoy, they said. Though they themselves are not gay, the two said they felt strongly about including gays in the yearbook.

“We just wanted to show that there is a diversity, there (are) gay and lesbian couples in the school and they have a right to be in the yearbook just as much as anybody else does,” Chavez said.

Photos of two lesbian couples along with narratives describing their relationships were included in a couples feature section titled “Do you want to go out?” Also pictured on the two-page spread were nine heterosexual couples.

While school staff check for obscenity, libel and other matters of legal concern, yearbook supervisor Carol Singletary said it is a student-produced publication. The content featuring gay students was not stopped by administrators, because, “It didn’t violate privacy, it wasn’t obscene, it wasn’t libelous ... it didn’t violate any of the district policies,” Singletary said.

Former Lt. Gov. Walter Bradley, who described himself as a parent and concerned Christian member of the community, said he is upset about the photos and accompanying write-ups.

“I think it’s highly inappropriate to place that in that venue. That is no place for that type of negligent exploitation of our kids,” he said. “I do not in any way believe this reflects the attitudes and values of this community.”

Chavez and Hardison said they too hold strong Christian values but the issue is a matter of discrimination.

“I believe God’s OK with it. I don’t think he cares what you wear, what color your skin is or who you’re with. I think he loves you for who you are,” Hardison said.

“This is in the community. (Students) are going to have to deal with it in their lifetime,” Chavez said, explaining openly gay couples are a common sight at school, often seen walking hand-in-hand.

Relationship spreads have been in the yearbook for several years and have featured friends and couples, Hardison said, but never gay couples. Male gay couples invited to participate declined, she said, because they feared repercussions and possible violence.

Care was taken to ensure none of the photos depicted excessive public displays of affection, which would violate school policy, and all of those photographed gave permission and had ample opportunity to withdraw their consent prior to publication, Chavez and Hardison said.

Pointing to the yearbook, Hardison said, “I’m not a lesbian but I don’t think this should be white, black, Hispanic, males and females. It should be everybody as a whole. The yearbook is for our student body, to represent them. I’m proud of it. People shouldn’t be black, people shouldn’t be white, straight, gay. People should be people.”

Reactions have been mixed. “I’ve had couples come to me crying saying ‘thank you’,” Hardison said, and she’s also received anonymous threatening letters and been approached by students, parents and even teachers expressing anger. But she doesn’t regret the decision.

“It’s time for Clovis to come into the 21st century and be OK with people ... I love this town most of the time (but because of the reactions), it makes me feel sorry to be a human. ... Something little like this goes a long way and if we keep doing things like this, it might change things,” the 18-year-old said.

Bradley isn’t interested in seeing the kind of change Hardison is talking about in the community.

He said he serves on a strategy team for the schools and as a businessman has sponsored and endorsed school programs. But, he said, “If this is indeed the direction that this school system is going to take and continue to promote, then don’t look to me for anymore donations.”

Will Cockrell is a member of the Christian Citizenship Team, a group at Central Baptist Church that “monitors political actions and social actions that come to bear on society that are counter to Christian doctrine.”

Cockrell said Christians throughout the community are mobilizing to attend next week’s school board meeting and speak out.

“We don’t think that it reflects anywhere close to the attitudes and the morals of the community,” he said. “I don’t have a child in school but I’m appalled. If I were the parents of those kids, I’d own that school. Those are minors.”

It was intended, “not so much (to be) in your face, so much as ‘hey, this is happening, you should take notice of it,’” Chavez said.

As to whether future classes should follow suit, Hardison said each yearbook staff has a responsibility to represent the student body and will have to make their own decisions.

“If they do it, then I think it would be good. We can’t just turn our heads for the rest of our lives. It’s part of our society and it has to come out eventually,” she said.

Clovis Municipal Schools Superintendent Rhonda Seidenwurm said she has received numerous calls from community members on both sides and termed it a sensitive issue.

Essentially the matter is a three-pronged issue, Seidenwurm said, involving First Amendment rights, privacy issues and community standards, all of which are equally important and must be considered.

But the bottom line is no school policies were violated and there are no legal concerns about what was published, she said.

It is a student publication and ultimately belongs to the students, who followed the rules, she said.

“We’re trying to look at it from all sides and address the issue. What we have to do is be very careful in whatever we do not to violate any First Amendment rights and be sure all of our board policies have been followed, but we do recognize that there is a segment of our community that is upset with those two pages of our annual,” Seidenwurm said. “I have had almost as many calls encouraging us to make sure we don’t violate the rights of any children.”

Seidenwurm said the issue has not been placed on the school board’s meeting agenda.

 

http://www.cnjonline.com/news/staff_28187___article.html/school_gay.html?orderby=TimeStampAscending&oncommentsPage=2&showRecommendedOnly=0#slComments

 

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MattShizzle
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Another group of fucktarded

Another group of fucktarded Christians....


Hambydammit
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Christianity's Motto: 

Christianity's Motto:  Freedom for Everyone Who Agrees With Us.

 

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Where is this? At least the

Where is this? At least the school officials seem reasonable, though not all the teachers.


Brian37
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Our school system has become

Our school system has become a social experiment instead of a learning environment. Schools should not be promoting any side of any issue for or against, religious or not. Schools should be teaching math, reading, science and history. Anything above and beyond that should be neutral. If it promotes one group over another then it should be privately funded and off campus. And that cuts both ways.

I am tired of hearing about classrooms spending more time on promoting ANYTHING(FOR OR AGAINST), because all that time could be spent actually teaching kids.

I am all for diversity and getting along. But PARENTS and society need to leave their differences at the door so that the kids (ALL SIDES OF THE ISSUE) are not distracted by their differences and could focus on something they should all want, AN EDUCATION.

This is an issue, that parents put into their kids heads and then the kids take it to school with them. Instead, what they should be doing is telling there kids, when you go to school, your first job is to learn. Any differences you have with others can be discussed with us at home. At school everyone should be SHOULD BE treated the same by other students and teachers.

If that were the case, this would never be an issue.

Mind you, I am NOT aiming this at gays. I am aiming it at the Christians who send their kids to school with the "You own it, and don't have to share it" attitude.

 

 

 

 

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Hambydammit
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Quote:Our school system has

Quote:
Our school system has become a social experiment instead of a learning environment.

Interesting observation.  I don't know enough to speak authoritatively on the history of education in the U.S, but I suspect that there have always been subtle (or not so subtle) attempts to mold "responsible citizens."  However, it might be that our emphasis is less on actual education than it has been in the past.  When I recall that the 70s were a long damn time ago, I realize that I have no idea what grade schools are like anymore.  Not being a parent, I don't go out of my way to keep abreast of the local school's track records.

Quote:
Instead, what they should be doing is telling there kids, when you go to school, your first job is to learn. Any differences you have with others can be discussed with us at home.

Isn't it interesting that the same people who are always yelling about personal responsibility and family values are the same ones yelling about how the schools are responsible for teaching values?

 

Atheism isn't a lot like religion at all. Unless by "religion" you mean "not religion". --Ciarin

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HisWillness
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 The best thing about the

 The best thing about the story is the school officials who check for libel, etc. say there's nothing wrong ... because there isn't. You're essentially saying "these kids kiss each other sometimes." How scandalous. I guess the straight kids fucking each other is okay.

You'll also notice that they needed to start with lesbian couples. Going right to gay guys would have been too much of a shock.

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geirj
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Part of the hilarity of

Part of the hilarity of Christianity is their insistance on ingoring things that do exist and paying a great deal of attention to things that don't exist.

Nobody I know was brainwashed into being an atheist.

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HisWillness
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geirj wrote:Part of the

geirj wrote:

Part of the hilarity of Christianity is their insistance on ingoring things that do exist and paying a great deal of attention to things that don't exist.

Good call.

Saint Will: no gyration without funkstification.
fabulae! nil satis firmi video quam ob rem accipere hunc mi expediat metum. - Terence