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    Student article on gay adoption causes stir

    Date: 08.13.12 | by Judge Tom.

    Brandon Wegner is a 15 year-old student at Shawano Community High School in Wisconsin. The school’s journalism classes produce The Hawks Post, a student newspaper. It is written and published by the students with limited prior review policies. The policy states that “differences in opinion are a continuing and important part of life in a democratic society.”

    Two students wrote opposing opinion articles on the subject of gay adoption. Brandon’s article explained why gay adoption should not be allowed. He cited various authorities including verses from the Bible. Brandon called homosexuality a sin.

    Rainbow Drawing

    Photo by Sharon Pruitt

    Fellow student, Maddie Marquardt, wrote her article favoring gay adoption. She argued that children need two parents and cited the shortage of foster homes. A gay parent read the articles and complained to the school. Nick Uttecht considered Brandon’s anti-gay message to constitute bullying. Brandon was called to the principal’s office, questioned and threatened with suspension. He refused to apologize for his opinion and the school announced a review of it’s policy.

    Hopefully it won’t result in a tightening of censorship of student speech. A statement from the school’s 1999 written policy should be heeded: “It is, therefore, a responsiblity of the school to help young people develop the skills of rational thought that are needed for an objective approach to a study of issues on which people differ.”

    Judge Tom

    This post was written by Judge Tom. Judge Tom is the founder and moderator of AsktheJudge.info. He is a retired juvenile judge and spent 23 years on the bench. He has written several books for lawyers and judges as well as teens and parents including the recently published 'Teen Cyberbullying Investigated' (Free Spirit Publishing). When he's not answering teens' questions, Judge Tom can be found hiking, traveling and reading.

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