According to the ACLU, and reported yesterday in The New York Times, among other sources, a seven-year-old boy in Louisiana was disciplined by his elementary school last month and was referred to the school’s behavior clinic a week later for “using foul language and behaving inappropriately.” The assistant principal who described the young boy’s actions as such to the child’s mother went on to state that he didn’t feel comfortable repeating the specific word used over the phone.
So what was this horrific thing perpetrated by the apparent reprobate, Marcus McLaurin? The Times notes, “The incident occurred when the class was lined up for recess and a classmate asked Marcus about his mother and father. Marcus responded that he had two mothers, not a mother and father. When the other child asked why, Marcus told him that it was because his mother was gay. The other child then asked what that meant, and Marcus explained, ‘Gay is when a girl likes another girl.'”
The ACLU reports that Marcus then was publicly scolded by his teacher, told that “gay” is a bad word that should not be used in school, and sent to the principal’s office. He was barred from recess that day and a week later was sent to a “behavior clinic” (that phrase just gives me the willies) where he was required repeatedly to write the sentence “I will never say the word ‘gay’ in school again.”
That policy sure is gonna make it difficult for the kids to sing “Deck the Hall” at this year’s holiday party.
As to the other side of the story, school officials deny that Marcus was disciplined for using the word “gay,” but rather for “behavior problems.” However, the ACLU has published a copy of a behavior report signed by Marcus’s teacher, which reads “‘Marcus decided to explain to another child in his group that his mom is gay. He told the other child that gay is when a girl likes a girl. This kind of discussion is not appropriate in my room. I feel that parents should explain things of this nature to their own children in their own way.'” Copies of the two forms from the school may be found on the ACLU web site (see the “behavior contract” filled out by Marcus and signed by his teacher and the behavior report completed by the teacher, noting that the child was reprimanded and showing the requirement for attending behavior clinic the following week).