Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Good news and bad news in the 'That's So Gay' Case

 It's time to fisk the AP.

Some background:

SANTA ROSA, Calif. (AP) - A judge ruled Tuesday that a high school student who sued after being disciplined and then mercilessly teased for using the phrase "That's so gay" is not entitled to monetary damages.

Sonoma County Superior Court Judge Elaine Rushing said she sympathized with 18-year-old Rebekah Rice for the ridicule she experienced at Maria Carrillo High School. But, the judge said, Rice's lawyers failed to prove that school administrators had violated any state laws or singled the girl out for punishment.

I notice two things here. First I see the an example of school administrators overprotection of all things "gay". Second I am kind of appalled that someone would sue because they have been teased. But moving on:

"All of us have probably felt at some time that we were unfairly punished by a callous teacher, or picked on and teased by boorish and uncaring bullies," the judge wrote in a 20-page ruling. "Unfortunately, this is part of what teenagers endure in becoming adults."

The law "is simply too crude and imprecise an instrument to satisfactorily soothe deeply hurt feelings," Rushing said.

Wow. Hurray! A judge in California that I can agree with. The idea that it is against the law protects you from having your feelings hurt is absurd. But I have to wonder if the ruling would have been the same if a gay child had sued. The article goes on to examine the situation at the school more closely:

The case filed by Rice and her parents in 2003 brought widespread attention to a three-word phrase that some teenagers use to mean "stupid" or "uncool," but has come under attack as an insensitive insult to gay people.

The Rices argued that a teacher violated Rebekah Rice's First Amendment rights by sending her to the principal's office and putting a note in her school file. During a trial in February, Rebekah Rice testified she said "That's so gay" as a response to other students asking her rude questions about her Mormon upbringing.

Aha! So she used the term when she was being insulted in an insensitive way about her lifestyle. So the students who were teasing her were punished too, right? I mean since basically they were doing what teenagers do. Wrong! Nothing was done to the other kids. What a great message to send to our youth: It's ok to be rude and nasty as long as it's toward the 'right' people, like Christians or Mormons.

Rushing said the school district was not liable for monetary damages because the law under which the Rices brought the lawsuit specifically excludes schools. In addition, she said that school officials are given wide latitude in deciding how to enforce non-discrimination provisions of the state education code.

The judge added that it didn't make sense to have the referral stricken from the girl's school record, since she graduated last year.

OK I don't know about you, but it sounds to me like the school officials have taken the non-discrimination laws and have used them to discriminate against this girl. Who now has a permanent record as a bigot.

The truth is that "non-discrimination" laws were invented to keep people with strict beliefs on what is right and wrong from sharing their views. Shielded under the human rights banner they are being used to try and outlaw conservatism. Watch for it more and more, conservatives will come under attack, not just for being "wrong", but for breaking the law by expressing conservative views. Now that's not what happened in this case, I agree with the judge that no law was actually broken. But this girl was discriminated against and punished in an unfair way.

Now comes the part of this article that just boils my blood:

The lawsuit also accused the public high school of having a double standard because, it said, administrators never sought to shield Rebekah from teasing based on Mormon stereotypes. It also alleged that the Rices were singled out because of the family's conservative views on sexuality.

Rushing rejected each claim, going so far as to suggest that the Rices had created a miserable situation for Rebekah by advertising their dissatisfaction with the school's handling of the incident during her freshman year.

Neither the Rices nor their lawyer returned telephone calls seeking comment from The Associated Press.

Yes that's right. Shame on you parents for taking a stand for your daughter. How dare you interfere with the raising of your child. In fact you have clearly made your daughter miserable with your meddlesome....well "parenting". You should know that it is the school's job to raise your child, not yours. Now off to the re-education camps with you!

Sheesh. Nevermind about my agreeing with the California judge.

Source: My Way News - Judge Rules in 'That's So Gay' Case