ST. CHARLES, Ill. — School officials have decided not to take disciplinary action against three high school students in suburban Chicago who attended classes wearing “straight pride” t-shirts earlier this week during the school’s “ally week” aimed at raising awareness to anti-gay bullying and harassment.
The black t-shirts worn by the 3 students at St. Charles North High School were emblazoned with the phrase “Straight Pride” on the front, and, on the reverse, this Bible verse that references death for homosexuals: “If a man lay with a male as those who lay with a woman, both of them have committed an abomination and shall surely be put to DEATH.” (Leviticus 20:13)
St. Charles Community Unit School District 303 spokesman Jim Blaney said once the building administrators became aware of the shirts, the three students wearing them were called into the deans’ office to discuss the matter. They were sent back to class and later were called back for a second discussion. [St. Charles Republican]
Blaney said the administration wanted to explain to students that they have a right to express their point of view, but they also wanted to make the students aware that their message could be seen as hurtful by other students.
“The quote on the back of the shirts were pretty much a death threat towards all of the gay and lesbian people at St. Charles North,” wrote Michael Fairbanks, president of the St. Charles East Gay-Straight Alliance, in an e-mail to media outlets.
“When people are being emotionally hurt and distracted from having a healthy and safe learning environment, the bullies should be persecuted and punished,” Fairbanks added.
School district officials said they told the students not to wear the shirts again and choose to turn it into a “teachable moment” instead of enacting any disciplinary action such as suspension or expulsion.
A group of students from St. Charles North has launched a Facebook event encouraging who feels “outraged by the school district’s decision” to attend the December 13 school board meeting to protest the decision.