Friday, 22 July 2011

Is there a case to answer?

I've come across a story in a couple of different places in recent days (although, sadly, not where I thought I'd seen it, so I can't add a link at the moment), about a school district in Minnesota which has had a spate of teenage suicides in recent times (seven in the past two years was the figure quoted), most, if not all, linked to homophobic bullying. The problem appears to have escalated since the adoption of a policy by the local school board in 2009 requiring teachers to be 'neutral' in their attitude towards sexual orientation, which has had the effect of not allowing action to be taken against bullies, lest it should be seen to be favouring LGBT students. It seems that the school board is heavily influenced, if not actually dominated, by fundamentalist Christian groups, so what might have appeared to be an unintended consequence of an 'equality' ruling may in fact be no such thing, and have been planned to institutionalise discrimination. I'm not sufficiently versed in US law to know whether such a mechanism exists there, but if an organisation in the UK had taken decisions, which in either omission or commission could be proven to have led to the death of an individual, that organisation, as I understand it, could be charged with 'corporate manslaughter'. I have to admit that I would find the prospect of the self-righteous having to defend their actions, or inaction, in a court of law an appetising prospect.

Best wishes

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