By Guest Blogger Frank Carl, Chapter President
Americans United’s Central Savannah River Chapter recently helped a gay high school student resolve an issue at his school. Here’s how it happened.
In April 2014, the student, who wishes to remain anonymous, approached our chapter with a request for help with a problem that he had earlier in the school year. The student had been a member of his school’s chapter of the Fellowship of Christian Athletes (FCA) and was approached in the new school year to reaffirm his membership.
The student decided to read the charter for the FCA. As he did so, he learned that the FCA denies membership to gays. The student, who is himself gay, decided to resign his membership. When he told the FCA’s faculty advisers why he was resigning, they responded that being gay is sinful and insisted that he could choose to be straight.
Word of this reached our chapter. We attempted to contact the teachers to counsel them on the need to separate their religious views from their teaching duties. Unfortunately, attempts to email the teachers to make appointments to discuss the situation were ignored. (The student had told the teachers that he was going to appeal to us; it seems they didn’t want to dialogue.)
We decided to call the school directly and actually managed to reach one of the teachers. While she was not combative or disrespectful, she did unleash a volley of words that lasted about two minutes. Then she hung up.
We felt we had done all we could locally, so we reached out to AU’s national office and asked for help. Armed with what I told them and a statement from the student, AU National decided to write a letter to the principal and the school system superintendent. It took some time, but the response from the school system was positive in that they recognized that the actions of the teachers were inappropriate. Officials have counseled the teachers and reminded them not to preach to students.
We continue to monitor the system to make sure this problem does not happen again.