Halls of Shame comes to Fort Wayne

Just when I thought America’s school administrators were turning a new leaf, along came Edwin Yoder, principal of Woodlan Junior-Senior High School.
After 10th grader Megan Chase wrote a column calling on people not to look down on gays, Yoder came down on her.
According to Kelly Soderlund’s account in The Journal Gazette of Fort Wayne, Ind., Yoder read the piece and immediately issued an order to journalism teacher Amy Sorrell that he sign off on every future edition. Obviously, columns advocating tolerance have no place in HIS school’s paper.
The staff of the Tomahawk, showing just the kind of gumption we love to see among high school journalists, sought out legal help to fight this jerk.
So Yoder issued a written warning against the teacher for “insubordination and not carrying out her responsibilities.”
He accused her of exposing his students “to inappropriate material” and warned her to comply or she could be fired, according to the newspaper’s account.
It must have been something heinous for Yoder to take such an extreme stand, right?
Well…. Here is the opinion column that put a teacher’s job in jeopardy:

We live in a world where we grow up being taught that it is only acceptable for a boy and a girl to be together. So how do you think you would feel if as you grew older and more mature you started noticing people of the same sex as you, rather than the opposite? I can only imagine how hard it would be to come out as homosexual in today’s society. I think it is so wrong to look down on those people, or to make fun of them, just because they have a different sexuality than you. There is nothing wrong with them or their brain; they’re just different than you. I’ve heard some people say that they think there is a cure to being homosexual. I can’t believe anyone would think that. It’s not a disease, or something that you catch from someone else; it’s something that they don’t have control over. In saying that, I also believe that homosexuality is not a choice. Almost everyone that I talk to says that a person chooses to be gay or straight. That, again, is something that I believe to be very wrong. If people made the choice to be homosexual, there wouldn’t be anyone who committed suicide because they were too afraid of what people would think of them, and kids wouldn’t be afraid of being disowned if they came out to their parents.There is also the religious aspect to the argument, where people say that if someone is homosexual, they are automatically sent to hell. To me, that seems extremely unfair. So what are homosexual Christians supposed to do? The answer that I constantly get to that question is, ”Just don’t acknowledge that they’re homosexual and live a ‘normal’ life.” Excuse me? So they’re just supposed to never find a partner, or marry someone of the opposite sex, have kids, and pretend they’re ”normal?” I don’t think that’s right, or fair. I wouldn’t want to believe in something that would condemn me over something that I didn’t even choose.It is fact that as many as 7.2 million Americans under the age of 20 are homosexual, and of those that have already come out, 28% of them felt compelled to drop out of school due to the constant verbal assault that they experienced after people found out. Now, if you think that is terrible, this is even worse: According to, every day 13 Americans from the ages of 15-24 commit suicide, and homosexual youths make up 30% of the completed suicides. I don’t understand why we would put so much pressure on those people, that they would feel that they have to end their lives because of their sexuality. Would it be so hard to just accept them as human beings who have feelings just like everyone else? Being homosexual doesn’t make a person inhuman, it makes them just a little bit different than the rest of the world. And for living in a society that tells you to always be yourself, it’s a hard price to pay.

Sorell told the Fort Wayne paper she ”didn’t think anybody would be upset about it” at all, because, of course, there was no reason anyone should be upset.
This has all become an amazing example of how out-of-control principals can clamp down on freedom.
Sorell and the paper deserve the support of every freedom-loving American.
And Yoder, well, he just earned a place in our hallowed Halls of Shame. Congratulations!

Our official policy: We hate blogs.
Copyright 2007 by The Tattoo. All rights reserved.

Leave a Comment

1 Comment

  • I am reading the Amy Sorrell story from New Jersey, as someone who is about to publish a similar story, but in fiction—and my outcome was the same.

    A teacher-newspaper advisor targeted by unhappy parents, including school board members, for allowing students to run a controversial story, is reassigned from high school to middle school. I reassigned the teacher in my story, on the suggestion of a former superintendent of schools, because it appeared to be a credible outcome. My teacher allowed students to run a sex test in the school paper without consulting her principal, during a time when sex education was being debated statewide.

    The major difference is that my story, called The Sex Ed Chronicles, takes place in 1980, not today.

    When I started on my story, I spoke with teachers in my hometown in New Jersey who had taught me 30 years ago. They made the same arguments as Ms. Sorrell: that a high school paper was a student forum and students were entitled to freedom of expression—as long as the writer made no comments that were disrespectful to classmates, teachers and school administrators or disruptive to school activities. My former speech and debate coach told me that it had been only recently that her principal had asked for final approval on student work in the school paper and literary magazine. Recently–as in the 21st century—even though this had not been required of an advisor during the late 1970’s.

    I read Megan Chase’s column. She wrote nothing that would have offended anyone, even some one who is, for whatever reason, opposed to homosexuality. She presented an argument and backed it with facts, as a responsible journalist is supposed to do. I read no challenges to her column from parents or classmates; no one proved her wrong in any forum of public opinion, in least in the various articles I read online. I read only one objection from a parent who was not connected to the school district and it was not about the content of the story, but that her teacher did not follow the rules—to get approval from the principal before the story ran.

    In Ms. Sorrell’s story, and mine, the principal wants the power of being publisher–but not the full responsibility.

    I bet that Ms. Sorrell would have been fortunate to work with a principal/publisher who would have defended Megan Chase, if any one, parent or classmate had attacked her or her column. In that role, he would have followed through on Ms. Chase’s message of tolerance. He would have done the same as a publisher in the professional media would have done.

    I can only guess that he was not willing or ready to do it.