Saturday, November 26, 2011

Talking Points #11: Fricke verses Lynch 1980 court case

Fricke verses Lynch (1980, Rhode Island)

Paul Guilbert was a high school junior who lived in Rhode Island and attended Cumberland High School. He was homosexual and he requested permission from the principal to attend the school dance and bring a male date. The principal, Richard Lynch denied his request. His reasoning for refusing Guilbert to bring a male date was that he feared it would cause "disruption at the dance and possibly lead to physical harm to Guilbert." Because Paul Guilbert couldn't bring a male date, he just didn't attend the dance. However, the next year Aaron Fricke who was also a homosexual student at the same school and at friend of Guilbert, asked the principal for permission to bring a same-sex date to the school dance. And once again the request was denied out of fear of physical harm to Fricke and his date. Then Fricke immediately filed suit in the United States District Court for the District of Rhode Island, that way he would be allowed to attend the dance. The judge ruled in a manner that if the reason why the principal denied the request was because he was fearful of the students safety that he could have provided appropiate security to help monitor and therefore avoid such conflicts.
This is the letter the principal wrote to Aaron Fricke:
"Dear Aaron:
This is to confirm our conversation of Friday, April 11, 1980, during which I denied your request to attend the Senior Reception on May 30, 1980 at the Pleasant Valley Country Club in Sutton, Massachusetts, accompanied by a male escort.
I am denying your request for the following reasons:
1. The real and present threat of physical harm to you, your male escort and to others;
2. The adverse effect among your classmates, other students, the School and the Town of Cumberland, which is certain to follow approval of such a request for overt homosexual interaction (male or female) at a class function;
3. Since the dance is being held out of state and this is a function of the students of Cumberland High School, the School Department is powerless to insure protection in Sutton, Massachusetts. That protection would be required of property as well as persons and would expose all concerned to liability for harm which might occur;
4. It is long standing school policy that no unescorted student, male or female, is permitted to attend. To enforce this rule, a student must identify his or her escort before the committee will sell the ticket.
I suspect that other objections will be raised by your fellow students, the Cumberland School Department, Parents and other citizens, which will heighten the potential for harm.
Should you wish to appeal my decision, you may appeal to the Superintendent of Schools, Mr. Robert G. Condon. You will be entitled to a hearing before him or his designee. If you are not satisfied with his decision, you may appeal to the Cumberland School Committee. You are entitled to be represented by counsel, to examine and cross examine witnesses and to present witnesses on your own behalf. Further procedural details may be obtained from the Superintendent's office.
If you have any further questions, please feel free to contact me. I am sending a copy of this letter to your parents in the event they wish to be heard.
Sincerely, Richard B. Lynch Principal"

Wikipedia states, "The Court found the free speech claim to be dispositive, and therefore ruled that it was 'unnecessary' to deal at length with Fricke's free association and equal-protection arguments. But in a footnote, the judge left the door open to equal-protection arguments by noting that 'the school had afforded disparate treatment to a certain class of students' by setting up different policies for those who wished to bring same-sex partners to the dance. Such a policy, the Court said, could be 'profitably analyzed under the  Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment."

Fourteenth Amendment Summary:

"State and federal citizenship for all persons regardless of race both born or naturalized in the United States was reaffirmed. No state would be allowed to abridge the "privileges and immunities" of citizens. No person was allowed to be deprived of life, liberty,or property without 'due process of law. No person could be denied 'equal protection of the laws.' Over time, numerous lawsuits have arisen that have referenced the 14th amendment. The fact that the amendment uses the word state in the Privileges and Immunities clause along with interpretation of the Due Process Clause has meant that state as well as federal power is subject to the Bill of Rights. Further, the courts have interpretated the word 'person' to include corporations. Therefore, they too are protected by 'due process' along with being granted 'equal protection.'"

The case was one of the first successful cases that went to court that involved LGBT issues in young people. And it is visited frequently when more cases that involve similiar issues are brought to the court room. And after this case more schools in the United States are more frequently allowing same-sex couples to attend dances and proms, but acceptance is still a major issue, but luckily some of these young people have the courage to fight for the justice they deserve.

Here is an example of another case similar to the one of Fricke verses Lynch. You can read about it here.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Talking Points #10: Wagle, "Abstinence-Only" QUOTES.

"Imagine a driver's education course in which teachers show students grisly photos of traffic accidents but never tell them to stop at red lights or buckle their seat belts, and you've got a pretty good idea of what abstinence-only sex education is like."

"Abstinence-only programs try to scare and shame teens, teaching only the negative consequences of sexuality without telling young people what they can do to stay safe and healthy."

"Californians mandate HIV/AIDS education in our schools and require that all sexuality education is comprehensive and medically accurate . . . Our teen pregnancy rate has fallen by 40% over the last ten years-the largest decrease in any state except Alaska."

"Proponents of abstinence-only sex education believe that knowledge can be dangerous. Ignorance, however, can be fatal."

The first quote and the second quote are relevant to the text because in most sexual education classes they inform students about all of these STDs and how everybody's going to get pregnant, but it's rare to find a sexual education class where they explain that sex obviously does lead to pregnancy but there are so many ways to protect yourself. Just like there are way too many sexually transmitted diseases but there are ways to protect yourself from that too. Informing kids about the methods of protection while they are still kids is the only way to prevent it. They have to reach the children about methods of protection BEFORE they are sexually active, that way they have the knowledge and the power to protect themselves.

I've heard of some people who have ended up getting pregnant while they were teenagers just because they were too embarrassed to buy condoms. Just like I've heard of some people who have went without prenatal care for a few months just because they didn't want to have to admit that they were actually carrying a baby. There are ways to prevent these things without just focusing on the negative.

The third quote is so important because in the state of California they have been teaching the children HIV/AIDS education and they have been giving them beneficial information about human sexuality that way they aren't just telling them all of the bad things such as teen pregnancy or sexually transmitted diseases, instead, they are embracing the fact that having knowledge about each person's individual body and sexuality, they are able to protect themselves. If the state of California can reduce their teen pregnancy rate by 40% within ten years then it is definitely possible, but there needs to be more programs more readily available for other children in other states.

The last quote really meant a lot because the sexual education programs within schools withhold useful knowledge of diseases and pregnancy to try to "protect" the kids, but in all reality, all they are doing is making it worse because they are not giving the kids the proper tools to protect themselves in a sexual world that is not always safe.
The fact that some sexual education programs tell information that is based on lies baffles me! It is stated in the essay that some programs have been telling kids that exposure to sweat and/or tears is exposing yourself to HIV/AIDS, or touching the genitals of the opposite sex can result in pregnancy, or that the majority of women who have abortions end up becoming sterile, or that condoms fail to protect against HIV. All of those are false, and that needs to be brought to the young people of today's attention, because there are ways to prevent diseases and protect yourself, and obviously that way works because California is seeing significant improvements.

This essay reminds me a lot of Bristol Palin. She preaches abstinence but yet she had her own son when she was a teenager. This proves that abstinence is not a useful tool against sex. Teaching kids to be abstinent is extremely unrealistic. And on top of that, it's not the only way to prevent having a baby as a teenager.

Here is the public service announcement advocating for abstinence... (Her own son is in the commericial.)

Even though Bristol Palin keeps "flip-flopping" between being for abstinence or for being realistic and wanting teenagers to be educated, the point is that abstinence isn't very effective because many teenagers who are raised to be abstinent, such as Bristol Palin, are sexually active before marriage but they lie about it to their parents. However, if the children are raised to have the knowledge to prevent STDs and teen pregnancy they will have the power to stay protected. Abstinence is ignorance, and it kind of reminds me of "The Master's Tools will never Dismantle the Master's house" because you can't fight oppression (sometimes teenagers who are parents are more likely to be uneducated, more likely to be on some type of assistance) by using the Master's Tools (which is just ignorance: teaching the children tools that are just untrue, such as that you can get pregnant by having somebody touch your genitals.) Building a foundation on sexual education that is based on lies will keep people oppressed if the real information, the truth, is not available to them.