He Sed Bad Wurds!

This sad little story concerns a 7 year old boy named Marcus whose seat of learning is Ernest Gallet Elementary School in Lafayette, Louisiana. He was nabbed telling a classmate, (in response to a question), what “gay” means. “It’s when a girl likes another girl” he offered, basing his answer on his own family circumstances, where his mother lives with her lesbian partner.

Upon hearing this, Marcus’s teacher scolded him in front of his classmates, telling him that “gay” is a bad word and he should never say it at school, then sent him to the principal’s office instead of letting him go to recess.

The following week the school required Marcus to attend a special behavioral clinic at 6:45 in the morning, where he was forced to repeatedly write “I will never use the word ‘gay’ in school again.”

On a student behavior contract form that Marcus had to fill out and give to his mother about the incident, Marcus wrote that the thing he did wrong was that he “sed bad wurds.”

A handwritten note at the top of the form from Marcus’s teacher further explains: “He explained to another child that you are gay and what being gay means.”

On a behavior report form signed by the assistant principal, the teacher wrote, “Marcus decided to explain to another child in his group that his mom is gay. He told the other child that gay is when a girl likes a girl. This kind of discussion is not acceptable in my room. I feel that parents should explain things of this nature to their own children in their own way.”

I wonder where she stands on responsibility for imparting information about wilful ignorance?

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Dave Ricardo
Dave Ricardo
2022 years ago

Can’t say the word gay in class? I suppose this means the class can’t study one of Wordsworth’s most famous poems.

Daffodils

I wandered lonely as a cloud
That floats on high o’er vales and hills,
When all at once I saw a crowd,
A host, of golden daffodils;
Beside the lake, beneath the trees,
Fluttering and dancing in the breeze.

Continuous as the stars that shine
And twinkle on the milky way,
They stretched in never-ending line
Along the margin of a bay:
Ten thousand saw I at a glance,
Tossing their heads in sprightly dance.

The waves beside them danced; but they
Out-did the sparkling waves in glee:
A poet could not but be gay,
In such a jocund company:
I gazed–and gazed–but little thought
What wealth the show to me had brought:

For oft, when on my couch I lie
In vacant or in pensive mood,
They flash upon that inward eye
Which is the bliss of solitude;
And then my heart with pleasure fills,
And dances with the daffodils.

— William Wordsworth

Geoff Honnor
Geoff Honnor
2022 years ago

David Ricardo, report to the Principal’s office immediately. I won’t have crypto-commie, drug-crazed reveries in my class!

Phil
Phil
2022 years ago

That little boy should have said his mum was in a lesbian relationship. I have a gay relationship with Santa does not mean I stick my penis in his arse !!!

Ken Parish
Ken Parish
2022 years ago

Geoff,

Yes, I saw that article too and was equally appalled if unsurprised. There seem to be two almost diametrically opposed Americas, the north-east conurbation, Chicago, parts of Florida and parts of California that are cosmopolitan, tolerant and quite civilised, exciting places; and the rest that’s full of repulsively ignorant, narrow-minded, parochial, religious bigots or rednecks with few redeeming features. I’m sure it’s a gross oversimplification, but it’s certainly the way the joint appears to me from a vast distance.

wen
wen
2022 years ago

I’m sure it’s a gross oversimplification
Gee, I hope so Ken. My sister-in-law’s off on a 12 month school exchange to one of those other parts of the US. But then she’s from one of those parts of Australia that from a distance would appear full of repulsively ignorant, narrow-minded, parochial, bigots or rednecks with few redeeming features, so maybe she’ll feel right at home….(:

Ken Parish
Ken Parish
2022 years ago

Wen,

I knew I’d get a reaction of that sort from someone, and I’m speaking from a position of almost complete ignorance, a transit lounge being the only part of the US I’ve ever experienced first hand. Nevertheless, I DO have the impression that there’s a considerably starker attitudinal/sophistication divide between metropolitan and regional Americans compared with their Australian counterparts.

You only have to mix with holidaying Americans to discover that on average they’re much more narrow and parochial than the average Australian. That isn’t to say that there aren’t lots of Aussies who could play any Yankee redneck off an even break, or lots of sophisticated Americans living in the south and mid-west.

Wen
Wen
2022 years ago

Ken – I knew you knew, but still … I just couldn’t resist.

David
2022 years ago

There’s more than the single divide in the US. It is a truly fascinating mosaic of subcultures and communities. I think to get it you have to understand a bit about the confederacy, the Hispanic influence, the Irish, the Germans and Swedes, the farming plains, the role of class, racism as a defence for deprived white “supremacy”, the rise of cities like Chicago etc etc etc… so its very difficult to talk about them as an entity.
I do, however, have a visceral revulsion against anyone, anywhere, who uses children as a target for their prejudice. And that story seems to be a projection of adult attitudes about sex onto someone totally innocent.

Dave Ricardo
Dave Ricardo
2022 years ago

Hello? This is rural Louisiana we are talking about.

Not even representative of the South, much less the the entire United States.

Geoff Honnor
Geoff Honnor
2022 years ago

It’s kind of difficult to imagine this sort of scenario happening in Oz but…. I’m sure it’s not beyond the realm of possibilities.

I didn’t post it as a commentary on America, per se – I’ve lived in the States and “kaleidoscopic mix of lived realities” (as they say in PoMo circles) doesn’t begin to describe the totally wonderful experience.

But Ken’s depiction of coastal sophistication versus a less sophisticated hinterland is – with major caveats – very broadly correct. Lafayette – where the incident occurred – is a city in western Louisiana between New Orleans (whose reputation for enthusiastic hedonistic excess, of every conceivable – and inconceivable – variety, is well-established) and the Texas border. It’s the centre of Cajun culture – and the Louisiana oil industry – and heavily Catholic in cultural nuance.

But I’d hate to say that it defined the US in any way….

James Hamilton
James Hamilton
2022 years ago

There is interesting but very long article about the view of the US from outside (specifically France) on the Arts & Letters Daily website.

sophie
sophie
2022 years ago

Lafayette is a dump but not as bad as Baton Rouge, truly one of the ugliest places I’ve ever been to. All those James Lee Burke novels are right ’bout the bad aspects of Louisiana but also about the good. It’s an amazing, amazing place, one of the strangest, most foreign places I’ve ever been to–and I’m a Frog, what’s more, born in Java and living in Oz since I was a kid, so I know something about strange!Fabulous and vile landscape, extraordinary, disgusting, exciting history, mad mix of peoples, the best food in the States, as far as I could tell, an inspiring place indeed–and not just N’awlins, neither.

mo
mo
2022 years ago

As an American, I’m fine with America bashing, in light of recent world escapades. And I’m fine with the generalization of the cultural polarity of my country. But as a former resident of the 4 continental corners of the US, I will simplify it into Bible Belt and Other. Traditionally Bible Belt is understood to be The South, but in my mind, the northeast is also blighted with a conservative church-going (independent of faith) bent.
And with regards to little Marcus, yes, unfortunately these stories are going to come up more and more as a result of a common-sense court decision in Massachussetts and our upcoming elections. America wants to know how America is reacting to gay unions, so it’s going to make the news.

Jim
Jim
2022 years ago

Is it just me or does the term “special behaviour clinic” seem pretty sinister?

Geoff Honnor
Geoff Honnor
2022 years ago

“is it just me or does the term “special behaviour clinic” seem pretty sinister?”

It does sound a bit that way, though I’m assuming it’s PC terminology for detention.