Some day, one hopes not too far in the future, when U.S. culture has unequivocally abandoned the ancient fear of gay human beings, when understanding, fairness and respect has banished ignorance and hate, when same sex marriages are recognized as manifestations of loyalty, commitment and love rather than perversions of nature, and when no American feels the need to hide his or her sexuality, and thus feels no compulsion to trumpet it either, we will look back on such societal embarrassments as the Flour Bluff Intermediate School District as we do now on past purveyors of child labor, forced sterilization, involuntary human experimentation, mistreatment of women, and racism, and wonder, “What was the matter with those people? How did they get that way?”
Or, come to think of it, we could ask that question right now.
Seventeen-year-old Bianca “Nikki” Peet, a senior at Flour Bluffs High School in Corpus Christi, Texas, high school senior requested the she be permitted to launch a Gay-Straight Alliance in her school. The Equal Access Act, a federal law passed in 1984, requires schools receiving federal funding to offer “fair opportunities for students to form student-led groups, regardless of their religious, political and philosophical leanings.” If the school district was going to allow any extracurricular groups, it had to allow Nikki’s.
So it shut down all extracurricular clubs at the school.
Flour Bluff District Superintendent Julie Carbajal told the media that there is no chance her district will approve the purposed Gay-Straight Alliance. In a quote that would make George Orwell smile knowingly, she actually said, “We need to be fair and equitable to all.”
“We need to be fair and equitable to all.” What could be more “fair and equitable” than penalizing all students by ending their access to the educational, recreational and social benefits of school clubs and groups in order to legally humiliate one young woman, stigmatize students and citizens like her, and ostracize her for attempting to foster tolerance and unity at the school? Now Nikki Peet is being blamed by her fellow students and their parents for the loss of the clubs.
Now various gay rights groups in Texas and around the country, as well as the ACLU, are protesting the decision. They shouldn’t have to, of course. The citizens of Corpus Christi should have emphatically rejected the actions of the School District, and sent its leaders a clear message that they needed acknowledge the 21st Century or find another line of work. They haven’t, however. Most appear to back the decision. They do seem very upset that the Fellowship of Christian Athletes has to meet off-campus, though.
What is the matter with these people? How could they have become this way?