Thursday, September 29, 2011

Teacher in the middle of 'suspended for being anti-gay' scandal exonerated, may seek further legal action

Editor's note - What is the deal about this week? First the controversy about James Forrester, then NOM's phony new victim, and now this:

According to The Dallas Voice, Kristopher Franks, the German language teacher in the middle of the controversy involving a student who was suspended for allegedly "merely stating that homosexuality is a sin" has been exonerated after an investigation and is set to go back to work on Monday:

Franks is the teacher who was became the target of ire from the religious right after he sent a student in his German 1 class to the principal’s office for saying in class that as a Christian he believed “homosexuality is wrong.” The school’s assistance principal then suspended Ary, setting off a controversy that made headlines around the country.

That student, freshman Dakota Ary, and his mother enlisted the assistance of Liberty Counsel attorney Matt Krause in fighting the suspension on the grounds that Franks and the school had violated Ary’s right to freedom of speech.

District officials quickly reversed their decision, lifting the suspension.

But Steven Poole, deputy executive director for the United Educators Association of Texas, a teachers union, said Tuesday, Sept. 27, that the allegations leading to Franks being put on leave were unrelated to the incident with Ary.

Franks, who had not spoken to the press previously on the advice of his union representative, said Thursday afternoon that he had just met with Fort Worth Independent School District administrators, who told him the nearly weeklong investigation had determined that the allegations against him were unfounded. He did not elaborate on the substance of those allegations.

Franks also said administrators had given him the option of returning to teach at Western Hills High or transferring to another school in the district.

When the controversy began, Ary's family and Krause started a media blitz, going on multiple news programs to claim that Ary's First Amendment rights were violated.
Today, Krause said that they are still seeking some sort of vindication:

Krause  . . .  told Dallas Voice that he and his clients are satisfied with school officials’ decision to rescind the unexcused absences the suspension left on Ary’s record, but “we would still like for them [school officials] to completely vindicate him and say that he did nothing wrong. He should never have been written up for an infraction. He should never have been sent to the office, and he should never have been suspended.”

The Dallas Voice article did not say whether or not Ary's family would be seeking further legal action.

Franks, on the other hand, indicated to The Dallas Voice he may seek legal action:

Franks said since the investigation is closed, he is no longer being represented by a union attorney. He has, instead, retained the services of attorney Stephen Gordon to “represent me on any aspects of this whole thing going forward.”

He also indicated that he and Gordon would be discussing what possible actions he might take against “those people who have lied and made false allegations against me.”

You see, Franks contends that the entire incident was slanted to make him look like the bad guy, when in fact he was the one who was wronged and harassed:

Franks told friends shortly after the incident that there was no discussion involving homosexuality at the time, and that Ary made the comment loudly while looking directly at Franks.

Franks also told friends that the comment was only the latest in an ongoing series of incidents in which Ary and a group of three of his friends have made anti-gay comments to and about him.

Franks told friends that the harassment by Ary and his friends began several weeks ago after Franks, who also teaches sociology, posted on the “World Wall” in his classroom a photo, taken from the German news magazine Stern, of two men kissing. The photo was ripped off the wall and torn in two at some point during Ary’s class, and Franks told friends he believes that Ary or one of his friends tore up the photo.

During a later sociology class students upset that the photo had been torn up replaced it with a hand-drawn picture, and another student then covered that picture with a page bearing a hand-written biblical scripture from Leviticus calling sex between two men an abomination.

Franks told friends that since that incident, Ary and his friends had continued to make derogatory and harassing comments.

Franks’ friends also said that the teacher, a Fulbright scholar, has been the target of anti-gay harassment for at least the last two years, including having hateful messages left in his classroom and, in one case, having his car vandalized.

To say that this case may be over and buried would be a complete understatement.

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Jay said...

I am not surprised that the kid and his mother had fabricated the whole incident as part of their attempted persecution of a gay teacher. Whenever these anti-gay legal organizations get involved, you know that there is going to be a lot of deception.

David Cary Hart said...

I am of the opinion that this was a set-up from the very beginning. The little brat and his parents were coached on how to create just such an incident to create a cause to overturn the school district's policies.

Anonymous said...

"The little brat and his parents were coached on how to create just such an incident to create a cause to overturn the school district's policies. "

Google for Advocates For Faith & Freedom. Their website seems to be changed and has serious techical probs ... i knew i should've made screenshots two years ago when i found them ... but they were bragging about prepreparing cases and then searching for families who are willing to create an incident they can take to court.

TkReacher said...

If the bigot and his family claim it is "free speech" and he should be allowed to spout his religious nonsense, then it should also be "free speech" for other students to monologue, "Yes, the Bible seems to say that homosexuality is an abomination. Shellfish too, for that matter. It also says that slavery is just fine as long as you don't hurt your slaves teeth or eyes. It also paints it's deity as a totalitarian, genocidal monster who orders pregnant women's bellies cut open and their unborn children dashed upon the ground.

Even putting aside the staggering ignorance involved in your indoctrinated belief in this delusion... putting aside your failure at critical thought, reason, logic and basic human morality... putting aside all of the epistemology issues - It is this nasty and bigoted stance on homosexuality and other such horrors that make it all the more shocking that you adhere to that loosely cobbled together collection of writings created by disparate anonymous authors and sheep herders over the corse of hundreds of years.

All the more pitiable that you subscribe to this bronze age superstition and make a fool of yourself in front of your peers."

Free speech.