School: Student can't oppose gay adoption

Baptist Press
|
Posted: Jan 26, 2012 5:52 PM
School: Student can't oppose gay adoption
NEW YORK (BP) -- A 15-year-old Wisconsin boy who wrote an op-ed opposing gay adoptions was censored, threatened with suspension and called ignorant by the superintendent of the Shawano School District, according to an attorney representing the child.

Mathew Staver, the founder of the legal group Liberty Counsel, sent a letter to Superintendent Todd Carlson demanding an apology for "its unconstitutional and irrational censorship and humiliation" of Brandon Wegner.

Wegner, a student at Shawano High School, was asked to write an op-ed for the school newspaper about whether gays should be allowed to adopt. Wegner, who is a Christian, wrote in opposition. Another student wrote in favor of allowing gays to adopt.

Wegner used Bible passages to defend his argument, including Scripture that called homosexuality a sin.

"God made man and woman with many necessarily different traits and characteristics, and a child needs both a mother and a father not two moms or two dads," he wrote.

After the op-ed was published, a gay couple whose child attends the high school complained. The school immediately issued an apology -- stating Wegner's opinion was a "form of bullying and disrespect."

"Offensive articles cultivating a negative environment of disrespect are not appropriate or condoned by the Shawano School District," the statement read. "We sincerely apologize to anyone we may have offended and are taking steps to prevent items of this nature from happening in the future."

Staver said what the school system did next was outrageous. He said the 15-year-old was ordered to the superintendent's office where he was subjected to hours of meetings and was accused of violating the school's bullying policy.

"The superintendent called him ignorant and said he had the power to suspend him," Staver said. "He's using his position to bully this student. This is absolutely the epitome of intolerance."

The boy's parents were never notified, Staver said.

At one point, the superintendent gave the boy a chance to say he regretted writing the column, Staver said.

"When Mr. Wegner stated that he did not regret writing it, and that he stood behind his beliefs, Superintendent Carlson told him that he 'had got to be one of the most ignorant kids to try to argue with him about this topic,'" Staver said.

At that point, Staver said the superintendent told the boy that "we have the power to suspend you if we want to."

The superintendent allegedly told Wegner that he was personally offended by Wegner's column.

FOX News & Commentary offered Carlson a chance to address the allegations. He refused to submit to questions, but did say he would send a statement. That statement never arrived.

Staver said Wegner was not trying to cause problems or pick a fight.

"He was asked to write an article in the newspaper overseen by a faculty adviser," Staver said.

"The superintendent wants everyone to accept homosexuality as normative and homosexual adoption as something that should be standard practices," Staver said. "In doing so, he's belittling the views and the biblical views of many people across this country. He is playing a zero-sum game. He's not interested in dialogue. He wants to cram his view down the throat of everyone else and will not tolerate an opposing viewpoint."

Staver said an apology from the superintendent may not suffice -- and they may consider taking legal action.

"It was a very intimidating situation for this 15-year-old boy," he said. "It was uncalled for. He crossed the line. It's absolutely outrageous and he needs to apologize for his actions."

Todd Starnes is host of Fox News & Commentary, heard daily on Fox News Radio stations around the nation. He is the author of "They Popped My Hood and Found Gravy on the Dipstick" and "Dispatches From Bitter America." This article first appeared at www.toddstarnes.com. Used by permission.

Copyright (c) 2012 Southern Baptist Convention, Baptist Press www.BPNews.net