Letters to the Editor

SLO High teacher’s anti-gay letter was unacceptable

The students of San Luis Obispo High School put out a May edition of the student paper, Expressions, focusing on LGBTQ issues.
The students of San Luis Obispo High School put out a May edition of the student paper, Expressions, focusing on LGBTQ issues. jjohnston@thetribunenews.com

There have been several articles (here and here) published in The Tribune regarding a San Luis Obispo High School teacher who sent a letter to the school newspaper stating, in part, that it was his religious conviction that “homosexuals and others who disobey God deserve to die.”

Subsequently Bradley Liggett, a San Luis Obispo attorney, wrote a very comprehensive Viewpoint discussing the First Amendment and specifically stating that the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment demands that public schools refuse to publish speech that endorses one religion over another or otherwise shows preference for religion over no religion at all.

On that basis alone, the teacher’s writings were unacceptable and inappropriate. To the extent that students feel unsafe or threatened, the school’s mission statement for the students to feel empowered is compromised.

Additionally, if letters to the school paper are in violation of the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment, then adding a disclaimer statement does not make it right.

I agree with Mr. Liggett that schools should avoid promoting speech that is hateful, discriminatory or religiously evangelizing.

Schools promote learning and self-actualization when all students feel safe and secure, regardless of their orientation or backgrounds.

Dan Rich, Atascadero

  Comments