Principal Who Assaulted Kid for Supporting Gays Explains Teen Apathy

gay straight allianceI've always kind of wondered why teens have that "oh, they're so apathetic" reputation. But when a high school senior gets chest-bumped by his own principal because he bothers to stand up for his principles (see what I did there?), I totally get it. Who wants to buck the system and try to do the right thing when the man's always trying to get in your face?

The ACLU is backing a 17-year-old named Chris Sigler who says he has been trying to get a Gay Straight Alliance going at his Tennessee high school only to have their administrator do everything to quash this student solidarity. When the kid wore a shirt to school that said, "GSA: We’ve Got Your Back," Maurice Moser allegedly shoved him, bumped his chest, and used the words: "Who’s the big man now?" Seriously? Who is the high school student here?

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The whole story is so ridiculous, it's hard to know where to begin. School staff are supposed to be promoting unity among their students. They're not supposed to be threatening kids with punishment for daring to petition for a club that will let straight kids who aren't totally terrified of queer kids hang out with them.

Yeah, the fact that this principal is making a big show of putting down a group that's pro-gay teen really gets under my skin. Especially in a year that's been full of reports of gay teens killing themselves because of the horrors they deal with in high school.

But there's something else about this that REALLY gets under my skin. It's that this principal allegedly found out kids were trying to petition for a new program at school, and his immediate response was: "Do it, and I'll punish you." So much for creating the next generation of movers and shakers.

I don't care what kind of program it is. It could be one that's not terribly appropriate for school grounds. You don't tell kids you're going to punish them for working toward a common goal. You sit their butts down, tell them you respect their efforts, and you try to put them in a positive light. You explain why something will or won't work in a school setting. You give them the respect that they, as human beings, deserve.

You give kids something to work toward, instead of pushing them back down every chance you can because you're the "big man" and they're the peons. If we want our kids to be out there making a difference instead of playing XBox and drawing Sharpie penises on desks, we have to let them TRY. That's how we can fix teen apathy.

What would you do if this was your kid?

 

Image via jglsongs/Flickr

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