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April 08, 2005

Sounds Like the School Handled This Just Right


I wonder if the kids wore their shirts to class, and how the school dealt with that if they did.

What began as an anti-gay rally at a Rohnert Park high school today soon turned into an exercise in free speech when a group of students with a different viewpoint came out to challenge protesters.

April 13th is set aside by some to honor the gay and lesbian community nationwide, but a number of students Rancho Cotate High School in Rohnert Park don't think that's right.

In a protest organized by the group Gay Marriage No and the school's Conservative Club and its student president and founder, Tim Beuler, about a dozen students from the school wore anti-gay sweat shirts and waved anti-gay signs as trucks drove around town emblazoned anti-gay slogans.

The gathering took place across the street from the school as protestors gave up their lunch hour to send their message to other students and people driving by. Other students from the school who support the April 13th “Day of Silence” observance weren’t quiet about letting the anti-gay protestors know they didn’t support their views.

Though things got a little tense as both sides loudly voiced their beliefs, district superintendent Michael Watenpaugh recognized the need to protect freedom of speech for all students. “It's a delicate situation.We need to preserve the rights of the students and we need to make sure that learning continues in the classroom."
Because the protest was not on school grounds, the school did not organize or try to break up the event. However, administrators did contact the Rohnert Park Department of Public Safety, which had officers on hand to make sure the protest did not turn violent.

For what it is worth, I don't necessarily support the actions of these kids. It sounds to me, though, like these kids were condemning homosexuals as well as homosexuality. Ihave to say that I disagree with that point of view.

I don't believe that homosexual orientation is sinful, though I believe homosexual sexual activity is (a very distinct difference). And while I oppose same sex marriage, I do not support Don't Ask, Don't Tell. And while I support making sure that schools are a safe place for students regardless of sexual preference, I oppose presenting homosexuality as just one more option to be celebrated while suppressing other points of view as anti-social.





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