Texas teen's suspension reduced after anti-gay remark
Dakota Ary, a 14-year-old high school freshman and honor student from Fort Worth, Texas, found himself in the national spotlight this week after he was given a three-day suspension from school for making an anti-homosexual comment in his German class.
With the help of a lawyer from Liberty Counsel, Ary's suspension was reduced to just one day of in-school suspension, and the school district has said no mark will be made on his permanent record, Reuters reports.
(Of course media attention ensures that the whole event will be on Ary's permanent Google record, but we digress.)
Ary's lawyer, Matthew Krause, said the suspension was unjustified and that Ary is entitled to express his opinion on homosexuality in school.
"Just because you walk through the schoolhouse doors does not mean you shed your 1st Amendment rights," Krause said in a statement. "Dakota wasn't disrupting class. He wasn't bullying or harassing anybody. He was just stating his personal opinion on a topic somebody brought up and in a civil and respectful manner."
"He was stating an opinion and he has a right to do that and they punished him for that," said Holly Pope, Ary's mother, in a television interview.
It all began in Ary's German class, where the teacher was leading the students in a discussion about religion in Germany.
According to a statement from Liberty Counsel, a conservative nonprofit group that provides pro-bono legal assistance, one student asked what Germans thought about homosexuality in relation to religion. Another student asked to hear the German translation of "lesbian."
That's when Ary turned to a friend and said, "I'm a Christian and, to me, being homosexual is wrong," the teenager said in a television interview on Fox News earlier this week.
"It wasn't directed to anyone except my friend who was sitting behind me," he said. "I guess [the teacher] heard me and started to yell about it."
After a meeting Wednesday with Krause and Pope, the school district agreed to shorten Ary's suspension and allow him to play in a football game that week.
"They’ve righted all the wrongs," Krause told Fox News. "This should have no lasting effect on his academic or personal record going forward."