Student wants apology for suspension over anti-gay remark

Reuters News
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Posted: Sep 23, 2011 4:39 PM
Student wants apology for suspension over anti-gay remark

By Marice Richter

FORT WORTH, Texas (Reuters) - A Fort Worth high school freshman who was reprimanded for saying in class that he believes homosexuality is wrong will not have a mark on his permanent record, officials said on Friday.

But his attorney and his mother are not done with their fight yet, asking for an apology from the school and demanding that the student be allowed to return to the class while school officials investigate the incident further.

"They should have removed the teacher and not my son," Holly Pope told Reuters on Friday.

Dakota Ary, a freshman at Western Hills High School, was suspended this week because he was overheard telling a classmate in German class that as a Christian he believes that homosexuality is wrong, according to his attorney, Matt Krause with Liberty Counsel.

The German teacher was leading a class discussion about religious beliefs in Germany that branched off to a conversation about the German view of homosexuality, Krause said.

"Dakota's comment was made to another student and overheard by the teacher, who sent him to the principal's office," he said.

The boy was placed on multiple-day suspension but served only four-and-half hours on Tuesday, he said.

Fort Worth school district officials issued a statement saying an investigation was continuing.

"We can assure you no student is suffering any consequences for expressing an opinion nor is there anything on any student's permanent record as a consequence of expressing an opinion," the statement said.

Pope said Krause presented a letter to school officials on Friday asking for written acknowledgment that the incident will be expunged from the boy's record and seeking an official apology.

"We are not trying to bash the school district or cause trouble," Pope said. "But clearly, my son's right to express his opinion has been violated."

The boy, an honors student and football player, had the suspension revoked after a meeting between school officials, Pope and Krause on Wednesday, Krause said.

(Edited by Karen Brooks and Greg McCune)