When Kevin Fitzgerald, a 5th grader at Clarcona Elementary in Apopka, Florida, got into a spat in the cafeteria with another student, she called him "gay." He shot back and called her a "lesbian." He was reprimanded, and his mother has launched a protest.
She says she would be fine with him being punished for inappropriate behavior, but she isn't okay with "lesbian" being deemed a "bad word." To show her outrage over the incident, she painted her minivan with the words "Lesbians Rock."
She shared with WKMB an incident report that was sent home. For type of incident, the teacher circled "inappropriate language" rather than "harassment/teasing/bully," then wrote:
While in the lunchroom Kevin and another student got into a verbal altercation. During that time, Kevin called the student an inappropriate name. When told by the cafeteria adult supervisors to not speak to each other for the rest of the time, Kevin continued to speak to the other student.
Kevin's mother said after the incident, the teacher asked Kevin if he called the girl "a bad word that started with the letter 'l.'"
I get the mother's point. Lesbian should not be considered a bad word. It should be allowed to be said as much as the word heterosexual is allowed, and I doubt anyone would be asked if they called someone a bad word starting with the letter "h." So to that point, I say good for her for speaking out. The report may just be semantics, but they're important semantics, and no teacher in a public school should be teaching that anyone's sexual orientation is bad.
The bigger issue here, however, seems to be that her own son used the word "lesbian" as a slur in response to another student's slur. The school won't comment as to if the girl was reprimanded as well, but from the sounds of it, they weren't complimenting each other on their sexual status. So I hope the mother is also doing a little more educating on the issue at home as well as berating the educators. Riding to school in the newly painted minivan with all the attention it brings, however, probably serves as a pretty strong lesson to him as well.
What do you think of this mom's outrage over "lesbian" being considered a bad word?
Image via Vinni123/Flickr