Students and Teachers Respond to "Don't Say Gay"

8 years 1 month 3 days ago Tuesday, May 01 2012 May 1, 2012 Tuesday, May 01, 2012 5:51:00 PM CDT May 01, 2012 in News
By: Josh Lander
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COLUMBIA -  Missouri House Bill 2051 has been dubbed the "Don't Say Gay" bill.

If the bill passes, all discussion concerning sexual orientation of any kind would be disallowed in all public schools.  The only exceptions would be human reproduction and students speaking with a counselor.

Adia German is an MU student and an ally.  She is heterosexual but she empathizes with the LGBT community. She says she has gay friends and the thought of keeping them from being honest about who they are is completely unfair.

"In silencing them, it's discriminatory for one thing, but being gay isn't something we should be silencing.  The more educated we get people, the better it's going to be for everyone."

As for the facutly facing the threat of silence, MU theater professor Suzanne Burgoyne says it's not only wrong, it's unconstitutional.

"It says you can't exercise your right to free speech.  You can't talk about something you might want to talk about," Burgoyne said.

As a member of a play group dedicated to fostering discussion around social justice issues, Burgoyne says free speech is just as important to education as any other class subjects.

"We feel that to be able to talk about important issues of the day including issues of diversity is as important to your education as anything that you could learn in a class in terms of subject matter," she said.

A Rockbridge High Shool faculty member asking not to be mentioned by name, expressed bewilderment at the fact this topic is occupying time in the senate.

"I just think there are way more important things we could be dealing with in politics than oppressing people from expressing themselves. Especially people who are at an age where they are trying to find themselves."

The bill has been referred to a committee for review, but no schedule for another meeting has been set.

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