January 19, 2012
Student’s Opinion Column Censored for Promoting Natural Adoption
Shawano, WI – School officials at Shawano High School needlessly censored and apologized for a 15-year-old’s op-ed article supporting natural mother-father adoption. It was a part of an editorial page which presented both viewpoints, each articulated by students. After the school newspaper was published in the local town paper, a homosexual in the community complained to the school. School officials took immediate action and censored the article supporting natural adoption.
In its statement, the school “sincerely apologized” -- not for allowing the topic to begin with, but rather, for the Biblical viewpoint presented by one student. The school claimed that the censored article created a “negative environment.” Liberty Counsel believes that school officials have violated the First Amendment protections of both free expression and religious freedom. It is acceptable for school officials to render entire topics off limits, but once they allow a topic to be addressed, they may not dictate which opinions are allowed and which are not. For the school to apologize for and censor just one side of the argument sends a clear and biased message in favor of the other side. The school has thus sacrificed constitutional freedoms on the altar of political correctness.
In the censored article, the student used Biblical references indicating God’s disapproval of the practice of homosexuality. The student wrote: “If one is a practicing Christian, Jesus states in the Bible that homosexuality is (a) detestable act and sin which makes adopting wrong for homosexuals because you would be raising the child in a sin-filled environment.”
Steve Crampton, Vice President of Legal Affairs and General Counsel for Liberty Counsel, commented: “When you censor one side of the debate and allow the other side to fully present their case, you have hopelessly skewed the argument and effectively endorsed one side. Shawano’s actions were not only unconstitutional, but were also the highest form of educational hypocrisy. This is not education, it is indoctrination. The school should apologize – not for the student’s viewpoint, but for its shameful censorship.”
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