Opinion: Anti-Gay Policies Detract From Educational Process

On November 17th, the Myrtle Grove Christian School, an elementary school in Wilmington, NC, drafted a new policy maintaining that “the School reserves the right, within its sole discretion, to refuse admission of an applicant or discontinue enrollment of a student if the atmosphere or conduct within a particular home or the activities of a student are counter to or are in opposition to the Biblical lifestyle the school teaches.” While this proposition is more than legal, many believe it to be entirely discriminatory. This proposition has met extreme opposition, particularly within the LGBT community.

While most private, religiously affiliated schools promote an all-inclusive admissions process, these kinds of policies are popular within some of these institutions at the high school and college-levels; however, this kind of selectivity is rarely applied to elementary schools. In a report published in January of this past year, the Southern Education Foundation, a nonprofit educational group, found that a Georgia scholarship group had funded up to 115 schools known for their “explicit, severe anti-gay policies.”

Administrators at these religiously affiliated institutions are treating homosexuality as if it’s some kind of sinful choice. According to these schools, being gay is like stealing, or mocking, or hitting. It’s a choice that can be dealt with via disciplinary action. In a Rolling Stones article entitled “The Hidden War Against Gay Teens,” Alex Morris writes, “The assumption at such schools is that these provisions are equivalent to rules against cheating or stealing or premarital sex: behavior that, while wrong, is a choice that can be made or not made. But since homosexuality is an identity rather than an action, it cuts deeper and is believed to have a greater power to corrupt. Such a ‘choice’ must be rooted out and eradicated.”

Dialogues discussing whether or not a student is gay, or raised by homosexual parents, should not be part of any elementary curriculum. While elementary students should be aware of homosexuality and its role within our modern world, the student’s sexual orientation, or that of their parent’s, should never hinder their admittance into the school of their choice. Elementary education is defined by one unmoving, established thesis: to form a fundamental base from which further understanding can be achieved. Questions of sexuality have nothing to do with this kind of introductory learning process.

As a student attending a Catholic Jesuit college, I can say that Boston College provides its students with a progressive framework for matters such as homosexuality, and allows students to form his or her own opinions. BC does not force any kind of prejudiced opinion onto its students. Now if an elite private, Catholic university is able to exemplify this kind of academic balance, why are private, religiously affiliated elementary schools trying to reinvent the wheel? Elementary students need to be given the proper foundation in order to create proper understandings of the modern world.

Institutions that promote anti-gay, or any kind of prejudiced policies are doing nothing but delaying intellectual progress. Administrators of our elementary school systems, private, religiously affiliated or otherwise, should not be concerned with relaying their own bigoted, archaic opinions, but they should instead be concerned with building a stable foundation for future academic development.