Principal censors article on homosexuality, calling it ‘too mature’

FLORIDA — A high school principal stopped the distribution of published copies of a student newspaper last month that contained an opinion column about homosexuality written by a student.

According to The Florida Times-Union, Ridgeview High School Principal Toni McCabe said senior Katie Thompson’s article, titled “Homosexuality is not a choice,” was “too mature” for a high school audience.

The Times-Union reported last week that in an Oct. 10 e-mail from school system spokesperson Darlene Mahla to school board members, McCabe was able to “intercept” the newspaper before it was distributed.

McCabe did not return messages and Mahla refused to comment, saying that was the official school district policy.

The article, reprinted in the Times-Union, said that homosexuality is a “biological stimulation in the brain,” and Christian counseling cannot change an individual’s sexual preference.

“Homosexuality is not a choice, and it cannot be changed in any gay or lesbian individual,” Thompson wrote.

This is the second time this fall the Student Press Law Center has covered issues pertaining to homosexuality in Clay County.

In September, Kelli Davis reached a settlement with the district changing the school yearbook portrait policy and adding sexual orientation to the district’s anti-discrimination policy and training. Administrators removed Davis’ picture from Fleming Island High School’s yearbook after she wore a tuxedo instead of the traditional drape female students are required to wear.

Karen Doering, an attorney at the National Center for Lesbian Rights, said Thompson’s case highlights how important the sexual orientation anti-discrimination training is for Clay County.

“Those at the very highest levels of the Clay County School District fundamentally do not get this issue,” said Doering, who represented Kelli Davis in her fight against the school board. “I think it’s absurd to say this is an issue not age appropriate for high school students.”

Neither Thompson nor her mother, Jo Thompson, could be reached for comment.

by Clay Gaynor, SPLC staff writer

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