John Swinimer took what might be described as a belligerent attitude during media interviews today as he pulled his son, William, out of Forest Heights Community School. See story here.
Offered an olive branch by the South Shore School Board, his actions, tone and words are very un-Christian and indicate that this dispute is unlikely to be resolved. I certainly hope I’m wrong about that, however.
Mr. Swinimer claims that his children are bullied in the school because they are Christians. If that’s the case, it should stop. But as the story by Bev Ware of the Chronicle-Herald indicates, there are also some valid concerns about William Swinimer’s behaviour at the school. If the actions described by the other students are true, that behaviour should also stop. Bev is a former colleague of mine and is an excellent reporter; kudos to her for getting more details and providing some vital insight to this story.
An honest and candid exchange of ideas that are not offensive to others lies at the very heart of freedom of expression. Shame on anyone who wouldn’t want to participate in that.
Well said. I too thought the shirt crossed the line (only because it justified his belief while implying that others were wrong) and was inappropriate in that setting. But it was reported last week that this wasn’t the whole issue. Other kids said in TV interviews and in the newspaper that this boy had been preaching to them in the halls and telling them that they’d all burn in hell and had been disrupting classes during teaching time to try and “spread the word”. Everyone seems surprised now that there is “another side to the story that the media didn’t tell them”. That’s not true…it’s just everyone was so caught up in trying to protect this boy’s right to wear the shirt that it’s all anyone saw. I don’t know the story or what really happened but this boy’s actions, his proselytizing in an inappropriate setting, his belligerance to authority when asked to stop, his pastor (appearing on camera with his car bearing religious placards strategically placed in the background) egging him on and his father’s intolerance and obviously staged “statement” with pastor in tow makes me believe that what the school administration and other students were saying about his behaviour is closer to the truth.
Thank you for the comment. It was interesting to see the two viewpoints in The Chronicle-Herald today; one from Marilla Stephenson and the other from Paul Schneidereit.
It seems to me as if the latter opinion was formulated before considering all of the facts — or at least despite the facts.
That is what I thought too when I read them both. Differing opinions are great but I felt like one of the journalists had spent the last week under a rock.