Jerry Buell, the teacher who wrote on Facebook that same sex marriage almost made him throw up is back in class after being suspended by the Lake County School Florida school board. Schools Superintendent Susan Moxley has decided Buell did not violate the code of conduct. Buell’s comments garnered nationwide attention in what many are calling a First Amendment case.
“Moxley said she has issued Buell a list of directives, which will become public record in 10 days, to follow,” adds local Florida news station WKMG. “Buell said he will no longer use his Facebook account because his wife asked him not to,” the station also notes.
“I’m watching the news, eating dinner, when the story about New York okaying same sex unions came on and I almost threw up,” Buell wrote on his Facebook wall last month. “If they want to call it a union, go ahead. But don’t insult a man and woman’s marriage by throwing it in the same cesspool as same-sex whatever! God will not be mocked. When did this sin become acceptable???”
Buell was represented by the anti-gay Liberty Counsel, and the ACLU issued a statement supporting Buell’s right to make the remarks, though cautioned they did not agree with them.
The Liberty Counsel ludicrously added, “Buell has encountered nationwide scrutiny and has missed the first three vital days of getting to know his students and preparing them for the year. The amount of damage that has already been done and the effect this will have on his students is irreversible and should not go unnoticed.”
“Harry Mihet, Senior Litigation Counsel for Liberty Counsel, commented: ‘This is a great day for the Constitution. By fully exonerating Mr. Buell, the Lake County School Board has reaffirmed what the rest of Americans already knew. The First Amendment protects the right of public servants to express their personal opinion without any fear or intimidation. It is a shame that Mr. Buell had to miss three days of teaching for his employer to learn this lesson’.”
“On August 25, 2011 Liberty Counsel will host Florida Awake! at the First Baptist Church of Leesburg. Buell is scheduled to attend the event and share his experience, along with others who have received similar persecution for their Christian beliefs. This event will gather support from individuals in Florida to take a stand for their constitutional rights. The rally seeks to motivate, educate, and equip the public to restore our nation’s values, as our Founders originally intended.”
Would the Liberty Counsel also be quick to defend the First Amendment rights of a teacher who posted anti-Christian language on their Facebook wall?
Buell, awarded “teacher of the year” last year, told CNN today that all the students he teaches know that he respects them as “children of God.” Which may or may not be something that children want to be viewed as, and that certainly is a potential violation of the First Amendment.
Of course, lost on all is the simple fact that an LGBTQ student most likely will not feel safe in Buell’s classroom, and should not have to be behind closed doors with someone in a position of leadership, power, and authority, who thinks who you are might make them throw up.
It’s important to remember, teachers are in schools for the kids. Not the other way around. Something that the Right is constantly preaching when it comes to unions and money but not when it comes to gays and safety.
By the way, Buell is the faculty advisor for the Fellowship of Christian Athletes at his school.
Jim Burroway at Box Turtle Bulletin wrote last week, “Say you’re a gay kid, your ‘sin’ makes your teacher puke and he’s tight with the jocks and some sort of God. How confident would you be walking into his classroom?,” and added, “Just to get a flavor of Buell’s influence among the high school jocks, this cached web page says he had to move his morning meetings of the Fellowship of Christian Athletes from his classroom because it couldn’t accommodate everyone. ‘We have had to move to the cafeteria because our numbers are growing like crazy!’ Feel any better?”
I wonder now how many LGBTQ-perceived kids will be paying for the firestorm surrounding Buell’s comments this year?
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