Thursday, May 22, 2008

Principal Resigns Rather Than Allow Gay/Straight Alliance Club

The principal of Irmo High School in South Carolina (a school I'm familiar with -- I used to debate against them back in the day) has resigned after being order to allow a chapter of the gay/straight alliance to form in his school. The principal cited his "religious and professional beliefs" as demanding he oppose the group's formation. He was not threatened, terminated, or otherwise forced out -- it was a voluntary decision after the district ruled that the GSA had to be allowed in his school.

Obviously, I find the principal's argument against the GSA very wrong-headed -- particularly his apparent belief that the GSA is equivalent to a sex club. The inability of many people to separate homosexuality from homosexual sex remains very disconcerting and a major barrier to equalization efforts. However, I will refrain from judging too harshly, because I think the principal made the right move in resigning. In the debates over "conscience exemptions" for pharmacists who don't want to dispense birth controls, one of the arguments I heard (and agree with) is that if your religious convictions prevent you from doing your job, you have to get a new job. I believe in accommodation to some extent (indeed, a larger extent than most people) but at the end of the day you have to be able to do your job.

This principal decided that, because of his religious beliefs, he could not perform his job as a principal. That is his prerogative, and I respect him for it -- far more than if he had tried to stay in his position and corrupted it to harass the GSA and other people/groups that he would like to see marginalized.

Holy Bullies has more -- making roughly the same point.


Julia said...

Well said.

I thought it was interesting that in the linked post, they mentioned that his resignation will be effective at the end of the 2008-2009 school year. My first thought: That's pretty nice, because that way the school district isn't scrambling to find a replacement in a super short amount of time. My second thought: Would that make for an awkward school year between the principal and those students? Judging from how well people are acting already, I think it won't be too bad of a year.

PG said...

What, no principal with principles pun?