Monday, May 23, 2005


Bakersfield, California, has been the butt of LA jokes for all my life. I used to drive through Bakersfield all the time, commuting from UC, Berkeley, to the U of A in Tucson. This is where I heard Janis Joplin popped herself off. A desolate truck stop restroom where the radio was blaring, no less. Bakersfield was a place kids escaped. But it seems things have certainly changed over the years!
Student journalists sued their Bakersfield high school district Thursday in an effort to keep the school's principal from censoring student newspaper articles on homosexuality.

The suit, filed by the American Civil Liberties Union, requests an emergency order to allow the paper to publish the stories in The Kernal's year-end May 27 issue.
I sued my highschool. I love it when students take the bull by the horns. This takes real honest bravery. Bravo.
East Bakersfield High School Principal John Gibson said he blocked publication because he is worried about violence on campus.

"It's not about gay and lesbians. It's about student safety," he said.

Paramo, however, said the principal's decision "regrettably sends the unmistakable message that school officials would rather students keep closeted about their sexual orientation."
Paramo is correct. I remember high school. At no point in time did anyone protect gay students. Au contrair. The administration often led the attacks.
The articles include photos and interviews with gay students discussing their sexual orientation. The reporters obtained written permission from those they interviewed and from the parents of those who were minors.

"No incident in the past led us to believe that those students, who are already open about their sexual orientation, had anything to worry about," Paramo, 18, told reporters Thursday at the ACLU's Los Angeles office.

The plaintiffs include 18-year-old senior Janet Rangle, who was interviewed along with her mother for the paper. She said when she came out as a lesbian, students were either supportive or didn't care.

Gibson's decision "made me feel like I was back where I was -- in the closet again, hiding," Rangle said.
This isn't a newspaper attacking gay students nor is it like the Christian leaders threatening gay students, it isn't Dobson trying to legislate against gay rights. It isn't...we all know what it isn't! Moreover, the students know the principal isn't protecting the gay students. If he were so concerned about gay students being attacked, he should go to the potential attackers and tell them in no uncertain terms they better watch their step or else...bang. Into jail they go!

We have seen this all our lives. The potential victims being told to wear a burkha and hide at home because angry, scared males want to attack us. No way. No way is this going to happen in America.

Oh, and if Newsweek or CBS or any news media wants real reporters and real editors who really know when to stand up and speak out and can talk back at officious jerks, there are several graduates coming out of Bakersfield high who are ready to rock and roll.

Bring 'em on!

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