Sunday, November 08, 2015

Kansas Teacher Won’t Resign After Showing Anti-Gay Bullying Film

Conway Springs Middle School - things are rotten in Kansas
In a recent post I noted how a new study has documented that children raised in religious homes are less kind and less generous than those raised in secular homes, thus disproving the myth that religion is a positive force for better social behavior.  Events in Kansas show where these children get their nastiness from: their parents and churches. After seeing disturbing anti-gay behavior in his classes, Tom Leahy, a teacher at Conway Springs Middle School, showed the movie Love Is All You Need? in which same-sex relationships are conventional and a young girl is picked on for being heterosexual. The film culminates in the fictional heterosexual protagonist killing herself as a result of the bullying.   As one might expect, the "godly folk" went ape shit and demanded Leahy's resignation.   Leahy has decided that he will not cooperate and will force the school system to face the situation head on and hopefully in the process show the ugliness of the "godly Christian" crowd and the hate and bigotry that define them.  Here are highlights from The Raw Story:
Kansas schoolteacher says he has changed his mind about resigning after showing a graphic anti-bullying short film to his history class, which led to vociferous complaints from parents.
The Wichita Eagle reported that Tom Leahy, a teacher at Conway Springs Middle School, was expected to hand in his resignation after showing Love Is All You Need? to three eighth-grade history classes (which would normally contain children aged 13 to 14). The 19-minute satirical film depicts a society in which same-sex relationships are conventional and a young girl is picked on for being heterosexual. The film, directed by Kim Rocco Shields and produced in 2011, culminates in the fictional protagonist killing herself.

Leahy has been on leave since 21 October and was expected to resign at a Conway Springs school board meeting on 9 November. Yesterday, he cancelled a joint press conference with the school superintendent and said he did not plan to resign . He told the Eagle: “There’s a lot of people who don’t want me to give up on this. People I don’t even know … I’d like to have the chance to tell [the school board] my side of things.”

Leahy said he decided to show the film after some of his students demonstrated disturbing anti-lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender behavior during a history class exercise in which different groups were asked to draw up a bill of rights for their fictional “colony”. He said: “I was expecting fairly positive kinds of colonies … But it just kind of got twisted around … Then the issue of gay v straight came up, and a lot of them were not allowing gays into their colony and stuff like that … There were some hard feelings. Kids were getting upset.”

According to Leahy, parents’ complaints were made to the school principal and superintendent, focusing on the graphic nature of the film’s ending and a scene emphasising the Catholic church’s inflexibility.

On being contacted by the Eagle, superintendent Clay Murphy said he couldn’t comment directly because it was a personnel matter.
The hypocrisy of these parents, of course, is that their little darlings see all kinds of graphic violence all the time on television and in movies.  The real issue is that this movie challenges the religious faith fantasy world these folks live in and shows that their self-proclaimed piety is a lie and that they are actually modern day Pharisees. If you want to find someone truly decent and moral, more often than not, you will not find them in the church pews, especially in right wing and "conservative" denominations.

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