Stop Public Hate Speech of Teachers
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Hate speech is defined as speech that attacks, threatens, or insults a person or group on the basis of national origin, ethnicity, color, religion, gender, gender identity, sexual orientation, or disability (http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/hate+speech). Those of us in the Immaculata High School extended family are appalled by the hate speech that teachers are allowed to profess to the public on social media. We were told that Immaculata would prepare us to be good hearted citizens of the world which is why we chose to go there in the first place. Instead we are now encountering hate that is masked by a religious veil. We are demanding that hate speech is eradicated from our Immaculata Family.
Mrs Jannuzzi's facebook is a religious curtain covering a hateful messages. https://www.facebook.com/patricia.jannuzzi.9?fref=ts (taken down March 11, 2015) The homophobic and short-sighted posts are disturbing and degrading. Imagine if those posts were anti-Semitic or racist. What if she posted an article about a doctor who said he could "cure people from looking Asian"? Hate speech isn't just about ethnicity or color, it encompasses gender identity and sexual orientation. It's right there in the definition!
Imagine if you are a 15 year old questioning your faith in God. I know when I was 15 and at IHS, I had serious questions and doubts about my faith (which I was told was alright and a normal part of my spiritual journey). You go on facebook (as many Millennials do) and find one of your teachers posting articles about how people who believe in God are horrible and they need to be stopped. Articles about how there should be laws preventing us from believing in God. Posts about how disgusted your teacher is that someone who believed in God was allowed to change in a locker room with other people. That would be horrible for a person of faith! Your spirituality would be clouded, your faith would be more confused, and you would feel scared to go to school and face that teacher. Now substitute "faith in God" for "sexuality". In high school, many students are discovering their sexuality and how their lives are going to be formed, similarly to how they discover their faith on their own instead of through what their parents have taught them. Do you think a student who is confused or ashamed about sexuality would feel comfortable going to school after reading a homophobic post from a teacher on facebook? Do you think a student struggling with gender identity would feel comfortable facing a teacher who posted about being disgusted with what happened at Planet Fitness and the transgendered woman? This is unacceptable and reprehensible.
This kind of behavior needs to be stopped. There is a line between believing in God and professing anti-homosexual sentiment to the public. We should be preaching the good word of the Lord, not creating a hostile and combative environment. Even those of us who don't identify as Christian can still live moral, compassionate, and loving lives like Jesus asks us to do.
We are asking for action to be taken and hate speech to stop at Immaculata. A school-wide Stop Hate Speech awareness day and sensativity training for students and teachers would go a long way. Knowledge is power and providing students with knowledge about how to act in society is just as important as learning geometry, writing, or a foreign language.
-Tom Robinson (IHS class 2001)
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