Friday, November 30, 2012

AZ students punished for fighting by holding hands in public

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Two male students hiding their faces while forced to hold hands in the middle of a crowd of schoolchildren
This shouldn’t be embarrassing

This Mesa, Arizona high school principal apparently believes there’s no more effective punishment for fighting students than by making them look, like, totally gay in front of the whole school:

Earlier this week, the two students at Westwood High School in Mesa, Ariz., who have not been named, were faced with the prospect of either suspension from school, or sitting in chairs in the high school’s courtyard and holding hands for 15 minutes during a lunch period. They opted for the latter.

“Kids were laughing at them and calling them names, asking, ‘Are you gay?’” student Brittney Smyers told ABC affiliate KNXV.

Teens at the high school inevitably posted photos of the two, who spent the time shielding their faces with their heads in their hands, to social media sites.

On the Facebook posting, users commented that the public punishment is not appropriate, as it positions the teens as targets for taunting and name-calling. Others suggested the punishment was anti-gay, as it implies two males holding hands is embarrassing.

Helen Hollands, director of communication and marketing for Mesa Public Schools, told that the school’s principal, Tim Richard, who is in his first year at Westwood, had the idea.

“He’s done some great things there,” she said. “He’s focused highly on maintaining a standard where [ideally] no students are failing a class.”

It’s only too bad that his “standard” apparently doesn’t rise to the level of treating his students as diverse human beings and understanding that acts stereotypical of a sexual minority don’t actually imply anything wrong against them. Even worse is that given the cultural climate in the region, particularly amongst youths, he’s most certainly right about it being an effective deterrent.

It just shouldn’t be.

(via Joe. My. God.)