Jerry Buell was reinstated today after getting legal support from Liberty Counsel, a Christian legal firm.

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Comment by Jimmy Boy on August 30, 2011 at 2:37am

However, the opinions expressed are homophobic, and, to restate the issue that has arisen already, does this affect his professional relationship with his students?  I think it would.

Kris: yes - I think that is my biggest concern.  His statement that they are not judged and are welcome in his class rings a little hollow.  Certainly no scared gay child is likely to see him as someone to confide in - where sympathetic teachers have often played that role.  But then he isn't employed to do it either.  How his class actually feels to any gay child is a matter we can speculate about, but without being in it, it's hard to say I think.  Still - it's reasonable to think that it is unlikely to be a good place for a gay child now.


Rober: there is nothing you have said I can disagree with.  But I remain uncomfortable because the consequence here is that a guy, who may well have had a long and good career, is going to have it all end in a blaze of confrontation, potential disgrace, loss of earnings etc.


To be clear: I have a reasonable understanding of what the impact of his views continues to be in the US in particular (never mind elsewhere in places like Eastern Europe where being gay is close to being a capital offence).


But this is a great media story.  A good solution here would be for him to have to spend some time with gay people, realise the error of his ways, apologise and then get back to teaching - a job there is every reason to believe his is quite good at.  Or at least, from what I've seen, we could charitably make that assumption in the absence of other information.


The way these things work though, is that confrontation will be stirred by preachers, journalists and politicans who have everything to gain by pushing an anti-gay agenda; a teacher, who perhaps like so many teachers, is not that savvy about the media, gets to take full consequence for expression of (horrible) views - but views which he shares with large numbers of others.


For the guy himself, this is an absolute tragedy.  For the improvement of gay rights, having him sacked might not be the best answer either as it creates another martyr for them to croon over.


But I can accept that until he recants somewhat publicly, it seems unlikely that he should be in a classroom.  It would be great if there were a way to see his bigotry for what it is, and to help him recant.


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