While the media have been keen on pushing anti-bullying campaigns, there is a flip side to the coin: students can become the victims of over-sensitive school administrators who confuse legitimate free speech with bullying.
A prime example comes to our attention out of Fort Worth, Texas, as Dakota Ary recently served a suspension from school for telling a classmate in a classroom discussion that he believes homosexuality is sinful.
FORT WORTH (CBSDFW.COM) – A Fort Worth high school student says he was suspended from school for expressing his Christian beliefs in class. His teacher, however, saw it differently, labeling the student’s comments about homosexuality as bullying.
“It really took me by surprise because Dakota doesn’t get in trouble,” said the student’s mother, Holly Pope.
The disciplinary referral given to Dakota Ary called his comments a “possible instance of bullying.” It wasn’t anything the freshman honor student physically did in his second period class, but what he said.
The comment came during a German class, where conversation turned to vocabulary for Christianity and the Bible. Dakota said one student asked about translations for homosexual terms.
“I said, ‘I’m a Christian, and I don’t think being gay is right,’” he said. “If the same situation comes up, just different scenario, I think I’d do the same thing.”
His decision to speak out earned him a full day of in-school suspension, and he was banned from campus for two more days. His mother was floored, she said.
“I kind of rethought our conversation and realized, no, he shouldn’t be punished at all,” Pope said.
Dakota was back at school Wednesday, after his mother got a constitutional attorney involved.
To her credit Texas native Tamron Hall made the controversy the MSNBC "NewsNation" program's "Gut Check" question this afternoon, but it remains to be seen if other national media outlets pick up on the story.