Monday, April 30, 2007

Smile for the Camera and Kiss Your Girlfriend Goodbye!

A while back I mused that coming out in high school these days must be a heady experience that flings the doors of life's possibilities wide open at a conveniently early age, giving kids a jumpstart on figuring out who they are and how they fit into the world. It was pretty easy for me to focus on the generally more open, accepting atmosphere of now compared to the more closeted era I grew up in, and not think in much detail about the inevitable bad reactions gay kids still face.

Nice myopia, Boltgirl! Welcome to Gig Harbor (Washington) High School!
Restrictions on the use of school security videotape have been tightened after images of two [female] high school students kissing were shown to the parents of one of the girls, officials say.

Keith Nelson, dean of students at Gig Harbor High School, said he saw the [girl]s kissing and holding hands in the school's busy commons, checked a surveillance camera and showed the parents the tape because they had asked him a few weeks earlier to alert them to any conduct by their daughter that was out of the ordinary.

They then transferred their daughter to a school outside the Peninsula School District, which lies northwest of Tacoma.

Unreal. Maybe we should be relieved that they only transferred to a different school instead of packing her off to ex-gay camp or disowning her. Maybe we should be relieved that the principal stepped in belatedly to say that this was a grossly inappropriate use of the school security cameras, and that it wouldn't happen again.
Kissing and other public displays of affection were at the time and remain violations of school rules, but violators will first be given warnings and will be disciplined only for a second offense, Schellenberg said. In addition, school employees are barred from sharing surveillance video in response to an open-ended parental request.

The fact remains that the dean responsible for reporting the same-sex peck in the first place still thinks he did the right thing.
Nelson said he respected the change in policy but added that he believes his first obligation is to parents. "They're paying good money for us to make their kids good citizens," he said. "Whatever that means to the parents, I'll do it."

Nelson said students could not have any expectation of privacy in a crowded place and maintained that he would have taken the same action had the students kissing been a boy and a girl.

Uh-huh. Sure he would have. Certainly there must be a long record of boy-girl kisses captured on video that the dean has been reporting to parents, so that they can relocate their kids to schools far away from their unapproved beaus. Right? And if there isn't any record of the sort, it must be because those hetero Gig Harbor kids don't engage in any public displays of affection while at school, right? Because otherwise Dean Nelson sounds rather like a hypocrite and rather unlike a model "good citizen."

Bil Browning's take is over at Bilerico, where I first read about this.

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