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April 5, 2012 Print

Dialogue for All–Or Silence for Some?

by Candi Cushman

Here’s how a newspaper story on a current controversy brewing in Brunswick, Main started:

When Brunswick High School teacher McKell Barnes hung a T-shirt on her classroom wall that read “gay? fine by me,” she suspected it might elicit some reactions.

What Barnes didn’t expect when students arrived last Monday morning was for dozens of them to say they wanted a T-shirt like that of their own. So Barnes ordered 160 more, which she plans to sell at the school and on Facebook with profits to benefit Brunswick High School’s Gay-Straight Alliance.

The story also quoted the local ACLU (American Civil Liberties Union) executive director, who “said there is nothing wrong with promoting conversations about alternative lifestyles in public places.”

“The first amendment of the constitution protects the right of students and teachers to wear this T-shirt,” said the ACLU director.

We’re hoping the goal of “promoting conversations”  and the right to wear T-shirts will be given equal support and respect when it comes to the thousands of students participating in the Day of Dialogue on April 19.

These students will exercise their right to lovingly and respectfully initiate conversations and express a faith-based view on topics like sexuality and bullying. And they’ll also be wearing Day of Dialogue T-shirts. (Read about how to register for Day of Dialogue in today’s CitizenLink story.)

As mentioned in today’s lead story, the reality is, with increasing frequency, students in public school nationwide are encountering situations just like the one above — with their classroom teachers launching discussions about homosexuality.

For instance, an event called the Day of Silence will be happening in thousands of public schools across the nation on April 20. During this event — which is sponsored by one of the largest homosexual activist groups in the nation — teachers are encouraged to display and discuss homosexual and transgendered themed materials in their classroom. To learn more about what actually happens on that day, read “What’s the Day of Silence Really All About?”