September 23, 2011
Student Punished for Christian Beliefs About Homosexuality Pushes Back
Fort Worth, TX — On Tuesday, high school freshman Dakota Ary was given in-school suspension for stating in class that he believes homosexuality is wrong because of his Christian faith. Liberty Counsel is representing Dakota in this case, demanding full vindication and a full retraction of the suspension. If the school board does not comply, a lawsuit will be filed for violation of Dakota’s First Amendment rights.
Dakota was in a German language class at Western Hills High School on Tuesday when the topic of homosexuality arose. “I'm a Christian and, to me, being homosexual is wrong,” Dakota said to one of his classmates. His teacher overheard the comment, wrote Dakota an infraction, and sent him to the principal’s office. During the discussion, one student asked what Germans thought about homosexuality in relation to religion. These questions provoked the conversation about Christianity and Dakota’s expression of his opinion to one classmate.
The discipline referral form says the comment was out of context, even though the lesson for the day was on religious beliefs. The teacher charged Dakota with “possible bullying” and indicated, “It is wrong to make such a statement in public school.” Last week, the teacher displayed a picture of two men kissing on a “World Wall” and told the students that homosexuality is becoming more prevalent in the world and that they should just accept it. Many of the students were offended by the teacher’s actions and his continually bringing up the topic of homosexuality in a German language class.
Matthew Krause, Litigation Counsel for Liberty Counsel, along with Dakota’s mom, Holly Pope, met with school administrators Wednesday morning. Krause states: “Just because you walk through the schoolhouse doors doesn't mean you shed your First Amendment rights. Dakota wasn't disrupting class. He wasn't bullying or harassing anybody. He was just stating his personal opinion on a topic somebody else brought up and in a civil and respectful manner.”
Liberty Counsel recently defended Florida Teacher of the Year Jerry Buell, after he was suspended for a comment he made outside of class on his personal Facebook page, expressing his disapproval of legalized homosexual marriage in New York. After a week-long “investigation,” the Lake County School Board fully exonerated and reinstated Buell.
Harry Mihet, Senior Litigation Counsel for Liberty Counsel, commented: “The double standard advocated by homosexual activists is mind boggling. Jerry Buell was suspended for opposing same-sex “marriage” outside of class. This teacher in Texas is actually bullying his students into accepting the homosexual lifestyle inside the class, and yet it is his student, not him, that gets suspended. We will vigorously defend and restore Dakota’s constitutional rights.”
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