Teen who wants to wear anti-gay T-shirt takes battle to court


sanctus
#1
BY LISA FEDOROWICZ
A Neuqua Valley High senior has gone to federal court seeking the right to wear an anti-gay T-shirt to school next month on the day after a national event in support of gays is scheduled in schools.
Heidi Zamecnik, 17, is asking the court to order her school and Indian Prairie District 204 to allow her to express her anti-gay beliefs on April 19, the day after the 11th annual "Day of Silence'' is scheduled to protest harassment of gays in schools.
According to the Web site www.dayofsilence.org (external - login to view),students and teachers across the country plan to observe the day in silence "to echo'' the silence that gay students face all the time.
The lawsuit filed Wednesday on behalf of Heidi and an NVHS freshman did not state what written message they planned to wear on T-shirts.

'Day of Silence'
Heidi's father, Carl Zamecnik, declined to comment Wednesday night on behalf of his family, and he referred calls to an attorney. Because of her family's "sincerely held religious beliefs" against homosexuality, "they wish to share their conviction that true happiness cannot be found through homosexual behavior," the suit says.
During her first two years of high school, the Naperville resident did not outwardly object to the "Day of Silence," in which students wear pro-gay messages on T-shirts. But in her junior year, Heidi wore a T-shirt the day after a "Day of Silence." It read in part, "BE HAPPY, NOT GAY."
That day, April 26, 2006, Dean of Students Bryan Wells told Heidi to remove the shirt or leave because her message offended others, according to the suit. When she refused, her mother was called.

'Be Happy. Be Straight'
Linda Zamecnik and Wells agreed Wells could alter the shirt's message to read "Be Happy. Be Straight." But the suit says the agreement was broken when a school counselor crossed out "NOT GAY" in black marker but nothing replaced it.
The suit says Linda Zamecnik discussed the issue with the principal and superintendent and was told that staff had done nothing wrong.
The suit says Heidi suffered unlawful discrimination, humiliation and punishment by school personnel merely because they didn't agree with her viewpoint.
Sun-Times News Group
 
tamarin
#2
I'm tired of gay issues. Why don't they all just take a break for a year? I'm surprised this Day of Silence is allowed in for observation. Schools are being co-opted by special interests.
 
Graeme
#3
Quote: Originally Posted by tamarinView Post

I'm tired of gay issues. Why don't they all just take a break for a year? I'm surprised this Day of Silence is allowed in for observation. Schools are being co-opted by special interests.


You're right, to allow the school sponsored show of support is just as discriminating as the T-Shirt. The fact is there are people who take great offence to homosexuality and would feel uncomfertable during the day described.
 
AmberEyes
#4
If you can't allow all demonstrations, you shouldn't allow any.
 
hermanntrude
#5
this wouldnt even be an issue if it was an anti-black t-shirt or a sexist shirt, it would never even have gone on sale or been made or whatever
 
Graeme
#6
Quote: Originally Posted by AmberEyesView Post

If you can't allow all demonstrations, you shouldn't allow any.


Now there is my true belief, FREEDOM OF SPEECH.

Something we don't have in this policed state of Canada
 
hermanntrude
#7
Quote: Originally Posted by GraemeView Post

Now there is my true belief, FREEDOM OF SPEECH.

Something we don't have in this policed state of Canada

I'd say canada is the free-est of the four english speaking countries I have visited. If you think this is a police state i'd suggest you've probably never been anywhere else.
 
tamarin
#8
Canada has been called a police state from many quarters and is an acknowledged cheerleader in the spread of political correctness. A movement that most consider a spent force. Shame on the country for standing common sense on its head!
 
Zzarchov
#9
Where the hell do people get this concept that Canada is about freedom of speech?

Its about good governance. Too much Yankee TV makes people think their laws are our laws, I've seen judges do it..mind boggling.
 
snfu73
#10
Quote: Originally Posted by tamarinView Post

I'm tired of gay issues. Why don't they all just take a break for a year? I'm surprised this Day of Silence is allowed in for observation. Schools are being co-opted by special interests.

Human rights and dignity is a special interest?
 
Zzarchov
#11
Part of human rights would seem to be the right to speak without fear of reprisal.

Or would you say it would be right to force gays not to speak about being gay. They could hold their own lifestyle..but if they let their views that being Gay is ok known..they should be silenced?

You don't have to like what others say, but that doesn't mean they shouldn't be allowed to say it.
 
snfu73
#12
Quote: Originally Posted by ZzarchovView Post

Part of human rights would seem to be the right to speak without fear of reprisal.

Or would you say it would be right to force gays not to speak about being gay. They could hold their own lifestyle..but if they let their views that being Gay is ok known..they should be silenced?

You don't have to like what others say, but that doesn't mean they shouldn't be allowed to say it.

I think it's one thing to say "Hi, I'm gay" and another one to wear something that bashes someone else. I mean, if the same student showed up at school with a "Catholics suck" shirt, or a "Muslims are Terrorists" shirt, or "Blacks are bad" shirt....what would happen? And what SHOULD happen? It's pretty provocative...it's mean spirited...and it's disruptive in a school atmosphere.

But, you raise good points...freedom of speech. It's hard. It's good to preserve freedom of speech...but at what cost? Could what this person had on her shirt be considered hate speech? If it is, which it does stray towards, I would argue that it may have gone too far, and should be subject to the laws of the land. But, indeed, it is complicated. Where does free speech end...and protection for others begin?
 
tamarin
#13
I prefer 'Keep gay-think out of our schools.' I'll wear one!
 
s243a
#14
Quote: Originally Posted by ZzarchovView Post

Part of human rights would seem to be the right to speak without fear of reprisal.

Since when is that a human right? If someone started running down the street saying pedophiles should have the right to be child care workers donít you think there would be reprisal. Wouldnít you expect it? There is a saying. It is, "with freedom comes responsibility".
 
s243a
#15
Quote: Originally Posted by tamarinView Post

I prefer 'Keep gay-think out of our schools.' I'll wear one!

You're not a fan of Peter Pan?
 
snfu73
#16
Quote: Originally Posted by tamarinView Post

I prefer 'Keep gay-think out of our schools.' I'll wear one!

Gay think? What the heck is that?

I prefer my **** HOMOPHOBIA shirt. I will wear it today in your honour.
 
westmanguy
#17
snfu:

I know your have strong beliefs on this subject, but you need to back away from the issue at hand

This is an issue of a school allowing all demonstrations or no demonstrations at all.

This Silence Day and the girl who want to wear the anti-gay t-shirt are both demonstrations.

The school is a public funded organization and has to be objective and unbiased:

So, in my opinion, they let both the gay group do Silence Day and the girl wear her t-shirt, or they allow neither.

This is the only correct way to go in my opinion.

I disagree with the girl, you can be happy and gay, and she is being mean spirited, I do however believe any sex out of marriage is sinful, and I believe its not up for Christians and Catholics to judge sins.

I'll say it: she is not an exaple of a good Christian. Christians don't judge sins, they leave that to God.

Thats the problem with religion, if all us Christians and Catholics could put our urge to judge away and all realize as Christians/Catholics its not our place to judge.. it would be alot better world for us and others.

I am still hoping we can agree on something snfu!

I hope my opinion on the school allows both or neither and what the girl is doing is not Christian can be agreed upon by you!
 
hermanntrude
#18
I think i'll wear one saying "immigrants go home"
 
hermanntrude
#19
Quote: Originally Posted by westmanguyView Post

snfu:

I know your have strong beliefs on this subject, but you need to back away from the issue at hand

This is an issue of a school allowing all demonstrations or no demonstrations at all.

This Silence Day and the girl who want to wear the anti-gay t-shirt are both demonstrations.

The school is a public funded organization and has to be objective and unbiased:

So, in my opinion, they let both the gay group do Silence Day and the girl wear her t-shirt, or they allow neither.

This is the only correct way to go in my opinion.

I disagree with the girl, you can be happy and gay, and she is being mean spirited, I do however believe any sex out of marriage is sinful, and I believe its not up for Christians and Catholics to judge sins.

I'll say it: she is not an exaple of a good Christian. Christians don't judge sins, they leave that to God.

Thats the problem with religion, if all us Christians and Catholics could put our urge to judge away and all realize as Christians/Catholics its not our place to judge.. it would be alot better world for us and others.

I am still hoping we can agree on something snfu!

I hope my opinion on the school allows both or neither and what the girl is doing is not Christian can be agreed upon by you!

You have a point actually. Maybe the silence day should have been an outside-of-school thing as well.
 
westmanguy
#20
In schools you can't stop a gay individual from being themselves.

But unless the school condones ALL demonstrations and political protests through whatever means (in this example lack of speach and clothing) gays shouldn't be screaming in the hallway "Gay Rights! Gay Rights" unless others can protest their views too, because then a publically funded organizations is favoring one view over another.

And your right hermann this should all be done out of school...
 
snfu73
#21
Quote: Originally Posted by westmanguyView Post

snfu:

I know your have strong beliefs on this subject, but you need to back away from the issue at hand

This is an issue of a school allowing all demonstrations or no demonstrations at all.

This Silence Day and the girl who want to wear the anti-gay t-shirt are both demonstrations.

The school is a public funded organization and has to be objective and unbiased:

So, in my opinion, they let both the gay group do Silence Day and the girl wear her t-shirt, or they allow neither.

This is the only correct way to go in my opinion.

I disagree with the girl, you can be happy and gay, and she is being mean spirited, I do however believe any sex out of marriage is sinful, and I believe its not up for Christians and Catholics to judge sins.

I'll say it: she is not an exaple of a good Christian. Christians don't judge sins, they leave that to God.

Thats the problem with religion, if all us Christians and Catholics could put our urge to judge away and all realize as Christians/Catholics its not our place to judge.. it would be alot better world for us and others.

I am still hoping we can agree on something snfu!

I hope my opinion on the school allows both or neither and what the girl is doing is not Christian can be agreed upon by you!

Well, I can't say you haven't brought of a good point. However, my issue is how to combat bullying and mistreatment of gay and lesbian students in schools. I think it is a real problem...a real issue...and I think this case presents that to us. But, indeed, you have raised a point. The only way to completely avoid a confrontation of this sort is to leave the whole thing out of the school system. But then, how do young people get the message that bullying and name calling and violence and whatever other nasty stuff towards students who are having trouble with their sexual identity can be very destructive?
Last edited by snfu73; Mar 24th, 2007 at 12:25 PM..Reason: small error
 
tamarin
#22
Schools shouldn't be turf for gender politics. Gays have made it a point to be activists in our lives. I don't appreciate it. Sniffer, how about "Homophobic and proud" ? I'm tired of their agenda and if I can irritate, that's where I'll gravitate.
 
snfu73
#23
But, as well, how much room should we leave for hate speech...period. If someone is out and out using hateful speech....how much should society tolerate that?
 
snfu73
#24
Quote: Originally Posted by tamarinView Post

Schools shouldn't be turf for gender politics. Gays have made it a point to be activists in our lives. I don't appreciate it. Sniffer, how about "Homophobic and proud" ? I'm tired of their agenda and if I can irritate, that's where I'll gravitate.

You don't get out much do you? Many gays stay clear of politics. Those who don't are generally fighting for equal rights, equal dignity and respect....I don't think that can be argued against. I don't think there are any gays out there attempting to convert anyone, if that is what you are implying. So, basically, you are saying that you will gay bash...that is what you are on this planet, seemingly to do?
 
hermanntrude
#25
Quote: Originally Posted by tamarinView Post

Schools shouldn't be turf for gender politics.

So you agree a kid shouldn't be wearing an anti-gay t-shirt then?
 
westmanguy
#26
It would be so much simpler if the school got rid of all protests from their system.

And bullying, if reported, is punished.

I've been in High School, and the motivational speaches don't stop bullying... its a joke really, to make the school look as if they are doing something.

If the victim wants help he reports it and after being suspended a few times the bully will stop.
 
s243a
#27
I think the ďanti gayĒ shirt could be divisive. Some schools donít allow children to where their gang colors because they are divisive. What is different about an anti gay shirt? Weather or not people agree with the school having the moment of silence I donít think that a school is a place for such demonstrations. If people want to lobby for the removal of the moment of silence how about doing so in front of the school board instead of in the classroom.
 
s243a
#28
Quote: Originally Posted by westmanguyView Post

It would be so much simpler if the school got rid of all protests from their system.

And bullying, if reported, is punished.

I've been in High School, and the motivational speaches don't stop bullying... its a joke really, to make the school look as if they are doing something.

If the victim wants help he reports it and after being suspended a few times the bully will stop.

You might be right. But the consequences of extreme bullying can be another columbine. Sometimes it might be just better for people to keep their opinions to themselves.
 
hermanntrude
#29
I'm not gay but I suffered from randomised bullying. I was foolish and emotional and gave them exactly what they wanted, ie entertainment. Used to throw chairs, smash windows, scream shout and cry. I got sent to a special school for intelligent boys with behavioural difficulties, where the bullying was much worse. I learned very slowly but got it in the end. You can report bullies all you like and tell tales and try to fight back but in the end the only foolproof thing to do is stay quiet and ignore them, and know that you're a bigger man for doing it.
 
snfu73
#30
Quote: Originally Posted by westmanguyView Post

It would be so much simpler if the school got rid of all protests from their system.

And bullying, if reported, is punished.

I've been in High School, and the motivational speaches don't stop bullying... its a joke really, to make the school look as if they are doing something.

If the victim wants help he reports it and after being suspended a few times the bully will stop.

There is the issue, however, of being intimidated from not reporting...and then the abuse continues. Sure, not all bullies are going to listen to a lecture. But, a day of silence? Maybe. I dunno. It's impossible to stop all bullying.
 

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