Gay Teacher Vindicated, May Pursue Legal Action Against Accuser
The latest outrageous outrage being pushed by the religious right has it all: public school indoctrination, teachers unions, and, of course, gays oppressing Christians. According to the Christian Examiner:
Teacher placed on administrative leave for punishing student
Student had been suspended for opposing homosexuality!!!
Christian Examiner staff report
FORT WORTH — The teacher that imposed a suspension on a 14-year-old high school student for opposing homosexuality has been placed on administrative leave with pay.
Western Hills 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.
‘We are pleased with the school’s response thus far. The teacher clearly crossed the line and should apologize publicly to Dakota,’ said Mathew D. Staver, founder of Liberty Counsel.
‘It is intolerable for the teacher to ridicule the religious beliefs of students in front of class. This teacher should not force his views about homosexuality upon students. Teachers cannot use their position to bully students and humiliate them in front of their peers,’ Staver continued.
Dakota was in a German language class at Western Hills High School on Sept. 20 when the topic of homosexuality arose. ‘I’m a Christian and, to me, being homosexual is wrong,’ Dakota said to one of his classmates.
Franks overheard the comment, wrote Dakota an infraction, and sent him to the principal’s office.
The class topic was religious beliefs in Germany. During the discussion, one student asked what Germans thought about homosexuality in relation to religion. Another student then asked to hear some translated terms such as ‘lesbian.’ These questions provoked the conversation about Christianity and Dakota’s expression of his opinion to one classmate.
The discipline referral form said that 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.’
According to the Liberty Counsel, the teacher had displayed a picture last week 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 in the class were offended by the teacher’s actions and the continually bringing up the topic of homosexuality in a German language class, according to Liberty Counsel.
What an overreaction! Too bad none of it’s true, at least not according to this report from the Dallas Voice:
Investigation clears gay Fort Worth teacher
FORT WORTH — Gay Western Hills High School teacher Kristopher Franks, put on paid administrative leave on Monday, Sept. 26, following allegations of improper behavior, has been cleared of all allegations and was set to return to work today (Friday, Sept. 30).
Franks is the teacher who became the target of ire from the religious right after he sent a student in his German 1 class to the principal’s office for saying in class that as a Christian he believed ‘homosexuality is wrong.’ The school’s assistance principal then suspended the student, setting off a controversy that made headlines around the country.
‘I haven’t made up my mind yet what I’m going to do,’ Franks told Dallas Voice by phone Thursday afternoon. ‘I’m going to go back to work tomorrow, and I will talk to my boss [the district’s world languages supervisor], and see what she says and decide what’s the best thing to do from there.’
‘I think they did the right thing,’ Franks said. ‘I can go back to work, which is great. But now I just have to figure out how to fix the damage this whole thing has done to my personal life.’
Franks said since the investigation is closed, he is no longer being represented by a union attorney. He has, instead, retained the services of attorney Stephen Gordon to ‘represent me on any aspects of this whole thing going forward.’
He also indicated that he and Gordon would be discussing what possible actions he might take against ‘those people who have lied and made false allegations against me.’
While Franks had previously declined to speak to the media, Daokta Ary, his mother and Krause as their attorney went immediately to the press, telling their side of the story in several TV interviews and saying Franks and the school had violated the student’s right to freedom of speech. The case quickly became a rallying point for the religious right.
Ary said in media interviews that he made the comment quietly to a classmate sitting next to him in response to a discussion going on in the class at the time.
But Franks told friends shortly after the incident that there was no discussion involving homosexuality at the time, and that Ary made the comment loudly while looking directly at Franks.
Franks also told friends that the comment was only the latest in an ongoing series of incidents in which Ary and a group of three of his friends have made anti-gay comments to and about him.
Franks told friends that the harassment by Ary and his friends began several weeks ago after Franks, who also teaches sociology, posted on the ‘World Wall’ in his classroom a photo, taken from the German news magazine Stern, of two men kissing. The photo was ripped off the wall and torn in two at some point during Ary’s class, and Franks told friends he believes that Ary or one of his friends tore up the photo.
During a later sociology class students upset that the photo had been torn up replaced it with a hand-drawn picture, and another student then covered that picture with a page bearing a hand-written biblical scripture from Leviticus calling sex between two men an abomination.
Franks told friends that since that incident, Ary and his friends had continued to make derogatory and harassing comments.
Franks’ friends also said that the teacher, a Fulbright scholar, has been the target of anti-gay harassment for at least the last two years, including having hateful messages left in his classroom and, in one case, having his car vandalized.
Vann said Franks denied getting angry and yelling at Ary, as Ary had said, and reiterated that Ary’s comments were not pertinent to any discussion in the class at the time.
Vann said Franks told him that another student had asked him what the German word for ‘Christian’ was, and how, if he moved to Germany, he could find an English translation of the Bible. That’s when, Franks told Vann, Ary looked directly at him and said loudly that as a Christian, he believes homosexuality is wrong.
It was not, Franks told Vann, a simple statement of belief or opinion but rather an intentional effort to insult and harass the teacher that Ary perceived to be gay.
Given the media blitz this brat’s family and lawyers immediately went on, I’d be willing to bet that this whole shameful episode was a set-up against this teacher from the beginning. I hope Mr. Franks sues, and that everyone involved in these accusations ends up paying out their asses.
I take solace in knowing that bigots like this are a shrinking minority soon to be relegated to the wastebasket of history, but I that’s probably cold comfort for Mr. Franks right now.