Find out what I'm doing, Follow Me :)

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

An Open Letter to Dr. Mark A. Baker, Superintendent of the Northeast School Corporation

Dr. Baker, 

I'm disappointed to have read that you are not considering any disciplinary action against Ms. Diana Medley in regard to her statements on television. While every citizen of the United States of America is entitled to first amendment rights of free speech, that right is not absolute. Especially when it clearly violates the Staff Ethics portion of the professional staff bylaws as clearly delineated by the Northeast School Corporation. 

An effective educational program requires the services of men and women of integrity, high ideals, and human understanding. To maintain and promote these essentials, the School Board expects all professional staff members to maintain high standards in their working relationships.
Professional staff members in the performance of their professional duties will:
A.recognize basic dignities of all individuals with whom they interact in the performance of duties;
B.represent accurately their qualifications;
C.exercise due care to protect the mental and physical safety of students, colleagues, and subordinates; and apply the knowledge and skills appropriate to assigned responsibilities;
E.keep in confidence all student related information unless such information needs to be shared in the discharge of their professional responsibilities;
F.ensure that their actions or those of another on their behalf are not made with specific intent of advancing private economic interests;
G.avoid accepting anything of value offered by another for the purpose of influencing judgment.
By stating that homosexuals have no clear purpose in life and that their lifestyle is offensive to her blatantly violates the above highlighted areas. All individuals includes homosexual students that she may encounter on a daily basis. Also, homosexual students are more likely than straight students to commit suicide. Do you honestly believe that hearing from a person of authority that you have no purpose in life is not damaging to the emotional well being of her students? I can guarantee that they have far more purpose in this life than Ms. Medley does as she has made it be known that her only purpose is to spread hate and judgment on people whose lives are no concern of hers. 

I also believe she's to be in violation of the Freedom of Speech clause in the NESC bylaws which I've listed below. 

The School Board acknowledges the right of its professional staff members, as citizens in a democratic society, to speak out on issues of public concern. When those issues are related to the Corporation, however, the professional staff member's expression must be balanced against the interests of this Corporation.
The following guidelines are adopted by the Board to help clarify and, therefore, avoid situations in which the professional staff member's expression could conflict with the Corporation's interests. In situations in which the professional staff member is not engaged in the performance of professional duties s/he should:
A.state clearly that his/her expression represents personal views and not necessarily those of the School Corporation;
B.refrain from expressions that would disrupt harmony among co-workers or interfere with the maintenance of discipline by school officials;
C.refrain from making public expressions which s/he knows to be false or are made without regard for truth or accuracy;
D.not make threats against co-workers, supervisors, or Corporation officials.
Violations of these guidelines may result in disciplinary action up to and including termination.

Ms. Medley never once stated that her views were hers only. I hope that they are, without a doubt, hers only and that the school district does not agree with her. Her statements that homosexuals serve no purpose in life is absolutely baseless. There is no regard to truth or accuracy there. They serve great purpose. Unless, of course, you believe that Socrates, Whitman, Michelangelo, J. Edgar Hoover, Melville, or Aristotle have not provided the world with anything of significance. And though you do not know him, my life would not be as amazing at it is today without my big brother. His purpose in life is great. Her statement is absolutely atrocious. I hope that you will reconsider your decision and take appropriate action of releasing Ms. Medley from her contract.

Thank you for your time,

Ashley N. Holt

@HoltAshleyN - Twitter

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Social Conservatism and Intolerance

I've decided to break out my oft-neglected blog to put down my thoughts regarding the recent so-called J. Crew controversy. Jenna Lyons, president and creative director of the clothing company, posted a photo in their most-recent catalog of her Saturday afternoon activities with her son. In the picture, her little boy has pink nail polish adorning his toes. Social conservatives are, essentially, throwing a hissy fit. J.Crew is attempting to push a "transgendered liberal agenda," they say. My thoughts? That is complete bullshit. Nobody is trying to push anything.

Men at work, women in the kitchen - boys are blue, girls are pink - boys are tough, ladies are dainty. These are all antiquated gender roles. Every person in this world is capable of being who he or she wants to be. If that little boy wants to wear pink nail polish, so what? It does not make him any less special or any less normal than anyone else in this world. And when he is older, it will not make him any less of a man. Social conservatives are comparing Ms. Lyons to some sort of villain whose abnormal child will need years of psychotherapy to recover from his tormented and unjust youth. Her little boy is probably thinking, "Hey, this is fun!"

We need to learn to accept each other for who we are, no matter what. I find it absolutely hypocritical that most of these social conservatives pushing their hate agenda are also so-called devout Christians. As an atheist I'm seen as lacking a moral center when, in fact, I am far more morally grounded than any person who condones intolerance and hate. Yes, hate. They may not think of it as hate, but it is. No ifs, ands, or buts about it. This is political bullying and it needs to stop. Newsflash. Jesus wouldn't want you to spread words of hate and to pass such judgment on a little boy. He hasn't done anything wrong. He is just being who he wants to be. And, that's okay.

As more and more judgment is passed on young Lyons and all those others who are labeled as "abnormal", he'll feel forced to hide himself and become someone who is nothing but a ghost of his true self. Every time a kid is laughed at or told he can't do that because it doesn't make him/her a true boy/girl, it exacerbates the problem we have in America. So, today I am challenging every person who reads this. Open your minds and open your hearts. If you consider yourself open minded already, try to open it further. Accept everyone for who they are. Help our country become united, rather than divided. Make this place be about love and acceptance. Banish the hate, the labels, the feeling of being a second-rate citizen. We are all worthy of being ourselves without being looked down on. Now is the time to make the change. Be like the Kool-Aid Man and break down the wall of inequality and social injustice.

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

The Iron Queen Contest - Julie Kagawa

I follow several book bloggers on Twitter and many of them retweeted a contest hosted by author Julie Kagawa of the Iron Fey book series (rules and information here).  Go enter! The grand prize is signed copies of The Iron King, The Iron Daughter, and The Iron Queen, which is set to release in a month.  I have an eleven-year-old niece (well, cousin, but when you're a whole person who can drive older than she, you tend to think of her as a niece), who loves reading and would love this series.  So, in my attempts to win for her, here is my  creation.  And, yes, I realize my Photoshop skills are severely lacking!  Also, many thanks to Gail over at Ticket To Anywhere for her input! I decided to go with a tribute to the covers of the series (see below), so, I give you...

The Iron King, The Iron Daughter, The Iron Queen, and... The Iron Cat!