Two male students holding hands and a pro-gay editorial got a school paper yanked by administrators at a South Carolina school last month. Somehow, the principal is still claiming the school encourages diversity.
Apparently you can be different – just don’t tell anyone.
Students at the Academy for Arts, Science & Technology near Carolina Forest have traditionally printed their paper on their own, using funds from ad sales to cover the cost of printing the quarterly paper. But when administrators, including Principal Ronnie Burgess, saw the picture of two male students holding hands and an editorial advocating for same-sex marriage, they told the kids the paper couldn’t be distributed. They offered $500 in school funds to reprint the paper – without the editorial and picture.
Burgess said he was afraid the original paper would be “disruptive.”
“I had some concerns about the content of the article and how it might
impact students here and what the community concerns might be when the
article was distributed,” he told the Myrtle Beach-based Sun News. I’m not surprised that an administrator is afraid of community backlash (even homophobic, small-minded backlash), but what floors me is the rest of Burgess’ statement to the paper: “At the academy we encourage diversity, we don’t look to silence student voices, we hope to facilitate their expression.”
So you encourage diversity, by telling gay teens they can’t be pictured in the school paper? Sadly, this message hurts not only the gay kids but every student at the academy who is being provided with an example by the authority figures they’re supposed to look up to and follow of “making the gays disappear.” The move tells the kids of the academy that differences of opinion should be responded to by putting up money to make them go away.
The staff of the school paper is fighting adminstration on this one. They’ve cried censorship. Unfortunately, the teenage students are serving as better examples of who their peers should “grow up to be” than school administrators.
Image: Myrtle Beach Online