OPINION: Education must overcome discrimination

By Kaci Watt

Second lady Karen Pence is openly supporting sexual discrimination by accepting a position at a school known for homophobic beliefs and practices. This is inexcusable, especially for someone of such high status.

Pence accepted a position as an art teacher at Immanuel Christian School in Springfield, Virginia, according to a Jan. 15 White House press release. The school bans gay and transgender students and forces employees to state on their applications that marriage should only be between a man and a woman.

When applying for a job, abilities and experience should be number one, not views on sexual orientation. No one should be forced to check a box stating that their sexual activities align with the employer’s morals when filling out a job application.

Immanuel lists its core mission as partnering with families to inspire students to lead purposeful lives of learning, godliness and service. Students aged 5–14 must denounce homosexuality. The school even reserves the right to expel a student if they engage in “immoral activities,” according to a Jan. 18 Washington Post article. 

Sexuality should have no influence in the education system, whether for students or employees. The top priority should be education, not enforcing discrimination.

It is unsettling and disturbing that an elementary-age child should have to succumb to a life of heteronormativity because of the influence of their education. It is not a school’s place to be involved in personal matters of sexuality. There is a line crossed here, one that promotes an extremely toxic environment for children.

As the second lady, Pence should not condone open discrimination, and we should be very troubled by her choice to do so. 

Since the news of Pence’s position broke, the second family has received widespread backlash. Vice President Mike Pence stated he was “deeply offended” people were attacking Christian education.

This is not an attack on Christian education; it is rightful outrage at sexual discrimination being forced on American children. Mike Pence claiming to be offended is outrageous considering he is openly intolerant of the LGBTQ community.

Policies allowing religion to intersect with education should be eradicated because a child should never be prematurely shoved into a checkbox.

It is ironic to see the holier-than-thou Pence family backing someone as immoral as President Donald Trump. Human sexuality is not a crime and not in the same realm as Trump’s alleged sexual misconduct, racism, misogyny, corruption and dishonesty. But in the Pences’ eyes, Trump’s offenses are minute while simply being LGBTQ reigns as evil.

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