Video: Rainbow Warriors

msnbc.com
updated 2/6/2006 1:59:08 PM ET 2006-02-06T18:59:08
TRANSCRIPT

The new sign teachers at a California high school are being forced to post in their classrooms a sign that says, “This is a safe place to be who you are.  Lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender,” whether they agree with that sign or not. 

Christine Lim, a superintendent of the San Leandro Unified School District, joined Tucker Carlson on ‘Situation’ to explain why the signs will be posted.

To read an excerpt from their conversation, continue to the text below. To watch the video, click on the "Launch" button to the right.

TUCKER CARLSON, HOST, ‘SITUATION’:  Why are you putting up a sign with a political message in classrooms?  It seems to me that‘s wrong. 

CHRISTINE LIM, SUPERINTENDENT, SAN LEANDRO UNIFIED SCHOOL DISTRICT:  It is actually not a political message.  It‘s actually a message to the students in our district, that as individuals and educators in our district, are obligated to provide a safe place for our students, regardless of their belief systems or their sexual orientation. 

CARLSON:  Is that right?  It‘s not a safe place for students whose belief systems specify that homosexuality is wrong.  If I‘m an observant Muslim or a Mormon or an evangelical Christian and I think homosexuality is a sin, your classrooms aren‘t a safe place for me to express my beliefs, are they?

LIM:  This is not about sex.  This is not about religion.  This is about having a safe place for all of our students, and that‘s the message, through the poster. 

CARLSON:  So what about those students?  What about students who believe homosexuality is wrong?  Are they allowed to say that?  Is it a safe place for them to be, in your classrooms?

LIM:  Yes, we‘re not talking about that.  Conversation needs to change to having a safe place for all of our students. 

CARLSON:  OK.  You‘ve said  if I‘m a student who believes that homosexuality is wrong, and a lot of people believe do believe that.  I‘m not anti-gay myself.  A lot of people believe it‘s a sin.  Are they allowed to say that in class or are they going to get slapped down for harassment? 

Can a student get up and say, “You know what?  I think homosexuality is a sin.  God frowns upon it.  And I think it‘s totally wrong and ought to be banned in this country?”  What‘s going to happen to that student?  Is the classroom safe for him?

LIM:  The classroom is safe for all of our students, and there needs to be meaningful discussions around what that means to be safe. 

CARLSON:  OK.  Then why not have signs up that say, “This is a safe place no matter what your beliefs are.  We welcome all beliefs?”

LIM:  That‘s exactly right.  And we are actually looking at expanding our posters to include all of our students.  And as an antidiscrimination, harassment policy that we‘re upholding. 

CARLSON:  OK.  But why wait now?  I mean, if your point is that all students are protected, then why limit it to lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender?  I mean, you‘re putting the signs up because you‘ve received pressure from a political interest group, the gay and lesbian, transgender and bisexual lobby.  I mean, why not take those words out and say anybody is free to express him or herself?

LIM:  We have.  We have posters that say that there‘s no harassment in our schools.  However, we do have a sexual minority that is not allowed to express their opinions.  We know that the teenage suicide is the highest among gay and lesbian students, and so we, under AB 537, including sexual orientation and gender equity in our fight for antidiscrimination. 

CARLSON:  I just want to ask you because I want to make sure I have this absolutely right, so it‘s on the record for when this actually happens, and I suspect it will happen.  An evangelical Christian student gets up in a classroom in your school district and says directly to a gay teacher or a gay student, “I think what you do is wrong.  I think God opposes your lifestyle.”  That student will not get in trouble, because he‘s safe to express himself, right?

LIM:  Exactly.  All opinions are allowed.  Yes.

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