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1 fantasmaguero  Fri, Aug 2, 2013 5:08:52am

One of the most influential teachers in my life, who taught year-one global studies at the local Catholic high school, was fired when (not officially, but clearly the cause) it became known to administrators that she was a lesbian. This was a woman who saw her purpose as something far beyond the minimum task of preparing her students for New York State’s cumulative global studies Regents exam. She was personally responsible for bringing Amnesty International to the school, and had been influential in establishing links with a parish in rural Peru, to which local high school students would travel on a yearly mission to participate in development projects. My teacher demanded quality in how we studied, showing us how to use an outlining format as we read for homework and then checking our notes before class the following day to ensure we were developing effective study skills. She was equally brilliant in honing our skills at planning and writing essays. The fact that I am six weeks from finishing my MA in International Relations here in the UK, and extremely comfortable with academic writing in this discipline, are due in no small part to the skills she taught me and a love of foreign affairs that sprouted largely during my time as her student. Incidentally, I left the Catholic high school the following year to attend the city’s public school for the remainder of my studies. I still feel a small sense of justice having done so, and was fortunate to meet some brilliant teachers there as well.

During my time in her class, my teacher had a quote posted on the front wall of her classroom which - I’m paraphrasing - said, “If a million people believe in an idea you know to be wrong…that idea is no less wrong.” My heart goes out to Mr. Bencomo and the untold number of other teachers who have been fired - or worse - across the world and across time, as the result of truly wrong and truly grotesque ideas about sexuality, love, and humanity.

2 aagcobb  Fri, Aug 2, 2013 6:03:46am

I absolutely agree that the Church’s teachings on homosexuality are wrong. However, people don’t just send their kids to religious schools to learn academics, but also to learn the teachings and values of their religion. So if you require religious schools to hire teachers who openly flaunt those beliefs, I think that is a violation of the parents’ and adminstrators’ 1st Amendment rights.

3 Eclectic Cyborg  Fri, Aug 2, 2013 6:27:33am

Ok so they knew he was gay for TEN YEARS but somehow that didn’t go against Church doctrine. He decides to get married and it does??

Talk about cherry picking.

4 kerFuFFler  Fri, Aug 2, 2013 7:39:17am

Do they fire all teachers who get divorced? Just sayin’.

5 mr.JA  Fri, Aug 2, 2013 8:55:17am

re: #2 aagcobb

I absolutely agree that the Church’s teachings on homosexuality are wrong. However, people don’t just send their kids to religious schools to learn academics, but also to learn the teachings and values of their religion. So if you require religious schools to hire teachers who openly flaunt those beliefs, I think that is a violation of the parents’ and adminstrators’ 1st Amendment rights.

Well, he clearly didn’t ‘flaunt’ with his homosexuality, he (probably without even knowing it) ended up in a newspaper. He didn’t say anything to the children in his school.
As for a private school, I guess they can make up the curriculum as they want, so they can pretty much curb what teachers say during classes. However, to fire them based on a picture in a newspaper goes very, very far.

6 aagcobb  Fri, Aug 2, 2013 11:34:09am

re: #3 Eclectic Cyborg

Ok so they knew he was gay for TEN YEARS but somehow that didn’t go against Church doctrine. He decides to get married and it does??

Talk about cherry picking.

Well, if you think about the Pope’s comments recently, its not a sin to be homosexual, but they don’t want you to act on it. To us, that’s unreasonable, but its what they believe.

7 HappyWarrior  Fri, Aug 2, 2013 1:52:54pm

re: #6 aagcobb

Well, if you think about the Pope’s comments recently, its not a sin to be homosexual, but they don’t want you to act on it. To us, that’s unreasonable, but its what they believe.

It’s as stupid as Michelle Bachmann’s claim that gays are allowed to marry because they can just marry someone of the opposite sex. Anyhow. This kind of shit is why I donated ten bucks to the HRC’s fight to make it a law to prohibit firing someone because they’re gay. My heart goes out to this man. I’m sure some school will hire him but I imagine he really enjoyed teaching at this school if he had been there so long. This kind of crap is exactly why I am not religious.


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