In another instance of repeated antigay bullying, the ACLU of Florida announced yesterday a settlement with the Flagler County School District in a case of a student who had been bullied and harassed by other students and by a teacher. From the ACLU press release:
Herbert, a 15-year-old freshman, had been bullied and threatened by fellow students at school and on Facebook and was physically attacked at school by another student who regularly taunted him with anti-gay slurs. Although Herbert reported several instances of bullying and harassment to school officials, the bullying and harassment got worse.
“I reported the bullying to the administration but it never seemed to change anything. I felt alone and it made me stop wanting to go to school,” said Herbert. “My breaking point came when one of my teachers started telling anti-gay jokes and mocking me in front of the entire class.”
A story on Advocate.com reports that the teacher had told the student that he could not put his soda in the same refrigerator as the other students or they would turn gay and also mockingly imitated him.
Among the actions that the school district agreed to take in the settlement of this case was to have the teacher who bullied this student make a public apology. The question is whether that is punishment enough for a teacher’s abuse of his position of power over his young and impressionable students. I think not.