A week after students at St. Charles North High School in Illinois caused an uproar by wearing “Straight Pride” tees (adorned with kill-the-gays Biblical messages) to class, a new bout of homophobia: the school was tagged with spray-painted graffiti that said not terribly nice things about the gays.
Easily cleaned off, the vandalism is not yet being tied to the t-shirt fracas, says the school’s spokesman Jim Blaney. But might there be a glimmer of hope at St. Charles North?
Coincidentally, the school board’s Policy Committee on Thursday night discussed an amendment to its bullying policy that would forbid district employees and students from harassing or intimidating students based on their “gender-related identity or expression.” The proposed changes also prohibit harassment based on a student’s “association with a person or group with one or more of the aforementioned actual or perceived characteristics or any other distinguishing characteristics.”
Blaney said the changes would have been discussed regardless of the recent activities at North because the board is trying to more closely align its policies with the Illinois Association of School Boards. The committee took no action on the changes because they wanted clarification on the definition of “gender-related identity” since harassment based on a student’s “gender identity” already is included in the policy, Blaney said.
The “Straight Pride” shirts were not included in the discussion, board President Scott Nowling said. He noted, however, that the committee struggled with what a student’s “association” could mean. He said he gave the example of straight students being bullied for their participation in the Gay-Straight Alliance.