105 Peavey Rd, Ste 116
Chaska, MN 55318

Letter Threatens Objecting Students

September 20, 2002

Dear Students:

Yesterday in class, an in-class essay was assigned to you. For different reasons, some of you chose not to complete the assignment as given. Some of you expressed the feeling that this is not an appropriate topic to study in school, and I feel the need to reiterate the purpose of this unit.

One of the goals for Freshman Seminar is to discuss tolerance. Gay and lesbian people are often the targets of intolerant behavior, from teasing and threats, to severe hate crime, which we witnessed in the Matthew Sheppard video. As teenagers, many of you have not had to deal with these issues before. I want to assure you that this unit is not designed to change your opinions of what is right and wrong. Instead, by addressing this topic, we can learn to be empathetic-to see how gay and lesbian people are the targets of intolerance, and how that feels for them. It is not anyone's place to hurt or kill another, regardless of the situation. That is the purpose of tolerance.

I am also aware that some of you may have chosen to address your distaste simply because you did not want to write this essay. I know who you are, and I want you to know that this will not be accepted. [Emphasis added.] For those of you who have genuine concerns, please address them to me, not the substitute teacher. It is not her place to defend my curriculum, and I am very disappointed by the way many of you have chosen to express your opinions.

I hope that in the future, you will keep in mind that I will not stand for disrespectful behavior, especially toward a substitute teacher. If you ever have objections to assignments, topics, etc., the only way to get your point across will be to see me personally, after class. I will not respond to immature behavior, even if there is a valid opinion behind it.

Those of you to whom this letter does not pertain, I thank you for your continued cooperation in class. Your maturity and respect does not go unnoticed.

Thank you,
[Your Teacher]


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