Yesterday, Mr. Delong, a 10th and 12th grade Honors English teacher in Piasa, IL was suspended for assigning an article about homosexuality in the animal kingdom to his students. Should teachers ask their students to read about controversial topics? Should we allow parents veto power over the curriculum?
The local paper reporting this story quoted the teacher saying, "I have been suspended, but not without pay," Delong, of Carlinville, said Wednesday. "But I would rather not comment further until I speak with my union representative."
Mr. Delong is reportedly a married, heterosexual teacher who identifies as an ally of the GLBTQ community and clearly has the respect and admiration of his students. This is just one of many examples of how teachers are taught to be conservative and non-controversial and why GLBTQ youth don't feel safe in schools. If a school district considers teaching with a scientific article written by a professor at Stanford University and published in a popular science magazine as controversial and worthy of suspension - then how can we convince other educators to stand up and teach critically? In order to help students learn to become critical thinkers and active citizens in a participatory democracy, it is essential to have teachers encourage students to question normative thinking and learn to critically evaluate information for themselves -- particulary with respect to sex, gender, and sexuality.
Now, WHY with particularity toward sex, gender, and sexuality? Why are THESE the issues about which a student should question "normative thinking" and about which one should critically evaluate? These issues especially! Is this the greatest issue of our day about which we must learn to question normative thinking? I would say "evolution" is the issue. However, if we have begun to think normative thinking means "gay is good," then, yes, we had better critically evaluate info for ourselves.
NOW, WHAT IF THE TEACHER, AFTER THE ASSIGNMENT, ASKED THE STUDENTS THIS, for the sake of objective discussion and critical evaluation: If a behavior is found among the animals, does that make it healthy or good when humans do it???
The dog humping your leg is natural, and good people teach their dogs not to do that. Just as it may be "natural" to "get off" any way you can, doesn't mean it is GOOD or RIGHT to do so, now, does it? Finding homosexual behavior in nature doesn't mean homosexuality is good or immutable or inevitable.
Not everything animals do is good for humans. Some eat their young or their mates; many are polygamous or abandon their mates to raise the offspring alone --and some eat their own excrement and regurgitation. And many are dangerous and violent. And yes, some of these behaviors are found in humans, but we still have the good sense not to encourage them to our kids nor hold pride parades for them.
We assume that a teacher assigning such a paper hopes the students will CONCLUDE that homosexuality is good, natural, inevitable and immutable --just because homosexual behavior can be found in nature. Especially considering his membership in the GLBTQ organization. He is propagandizing with his assignment. And I'd be right down there in the principal's office wanting my kid to have a teacher who did not propagandize for homosexuality. Or I would at the very least equip my child to contradict the teacher's pro-gay agenda, if that, indeed, is what the teacher intended. Just as we equipped ours to combat the evolutionists' and gay dogma when THEY were students. And I'd make sure the teacher knew he could not say that all or any peculiar animalistic behavior is legitimate behavior for humans --just because it is "found in nature."
"God is not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance and have eternal life."--the Bible