1. #1
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    Default Md. H.S. Kiss Prompts Talk on Tolerance

    CLARKSVILLE, Md. (AP) -- Inspired by a high school assignment, Stephanie Haaser leaped onto a cafeteria table, shouted "End homophobia now!" and kissed classmate Katherine Pecore.

    Haaser said she was making a statement on behalf of gay and lesbian students because she was bothered by the verbal and physical harassment they face.

    Their principal said he respected what the heterosexual students were trying to do, but they needed to learn more appropriate ways to make a point. Haaser and Pecore were suspended for two days.

    "It's highly inappropriate to stand on a table in the cafeteria and make out, whether the kiss was heterosexual or homosexual," said River Hill High School principal Scott Pfeifer. "I don't think there's a school in the country where parents would consider that appropriate behavior."

    Haaser, a junior, said she chose to make the statement as part of an English class assignment, which required that she engage in a nonconformist act in the tradition of Henry David Thoreau and Ralph Waldo Emerson.

    "You hear derogatory comments in virtually every class," Haaser said. "It's not always spiteful - someone might say, 'Oh that's so gay,' where 'gay' means stupid or dumb. But those comments can be really hurtful."

    Haaser said teachers who hear such remarks rarely intervene.

    River Hill administrators said they pride themselves on the school's respect for diversity. Pfeifer said the school has a Gay-Straight Alliance club and a diversity committee of students, teachers and parents. The school recently celebrated National Coming Out Day.

    "I wouldn't put up River Hill as a national model," Pfeifer said, "but I would say we are as sensitive about these issues as anyone."

    The incident has sparked debate about tolerance at the school.

    A few days after the kiss, juniors Mia Freyer and Anna Boyland staged a brief protest outside the school on behalf of the suspended students. They carried signs that read "Down with Homophobia" and "Don't: Hate and discriminate."

    Joshua Lamont, a spokesman for the national Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education Network, said there are just under 2,000 gay-straight alliance clubs at high schools and the number of clubs grew by 50 percent in the past year.

    But there has been a growth of intolerance, as well, Lamont said. An annual survey of high school students found that more than 90 percent reported hearing homophobic remarks last year and more than 82 percent reported teachers heard the remarks but did nothing about them, Lamont said.

    A third of the students who identified themselves as gay in the survey reported skipping school for fear of verbal or physical harassment.

    "I fear harassment is the rule rather than the exception," Lamont said.

    Eileen Woodbury, a special assistant to Howard County school superintendent John O'Rourke, said county school officials plan to strengthen staff development on diversity issues.

    "I don't doubt that it happens in our schools as well and we're deeply concerned about the professional response," she said.

    Haaser said the kiss has raised awareness of the problem.

    "It's been wonderful to see and hear the discussion that have taken place at my school since the kiss. People are a lot more aware of the issue," she said. "And I like to think the hurtful, derogatory comments about gays have subsided, at least for a little while."

    Copyright 2003 Associated Press. All rights reserved.
    Link to Story - WITH PICTURE

    Hmm - wonder if she wants to date a man twice her age as her next "nonconformist act" ??

    O.K. before I get branded a pedophile or even a dirty old man - I'M JOKING!! (Now if she were a college junior . . . )
    Take Care - Stay Safe - God Bless
    Stephen
    FF/Paramedic
    Instructor

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    Haaser, a junior, said she chose to make the statement as part of an English class assignment, which required that she engage in a nonconformist act in the tradition of Henry David Thoreau and Ralph Waldo Emerson.

    "You hear derogatory comments in virtually every class," Haaser said. "It's not always spiteful - someone might say, 'Oh that's so gay,' where 'gay' means stupid or dumb. But those comments can be really hurtful."


    A little less English lessons on non-conformity, and bit more appreciation for the breadth & depth of the english language, even in it's slang, might be appropriate.

    When "gay" in that context by her own definition means dumb or stupid, why should it be seen as derogatory?

    Words change in their meaning over the years. Gay itself was appropriated by the homosexual community to describe themselves. If it's morphed into "stupid" -- although I'd argue a better definition in that context is "silly" -- that's the way language evolves and people have to have a thick-enough skin to understand that.

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    try that in our station and your bells will be ringing for a week.

    and I am not for or against, just stating the facts.
    Psychiatrists state 1 in 4 people has a mental illness.
    Look at three of your friends, if they are ok, your it.

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    yea sure the teachers will do something about. Just like how they handle kids who get picked on all the time suuurrrrreeeeeeee!

    PS my school doesnt do jack to help out the kids who are always picked on Ex. my little brother gets picked on and called things(not gay but other stupid things) and the kid just gets a warning. I keep telling him beat the crap out of this kid he'll stop!

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    Has anyone notified Madonna?

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    Hey Quigger...I'm not saying u should or should'nt do anything but sometimes the older brother has to intervene

  7. #7
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    Trust me I would but he is in middle school and im in high school so I cant really do anything snice they are 2 diffrent buildings. So i just tell him to fight back.

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