Alini Brito

December 9, 2009 by  

Alini Brito,Decades ago, a pioneering individual posited that adolescent students claiming to be biS3xual, gay, or identifying as tranS3xual should not meet with ridicule or unwarranted mistreatment from either administration, fellow students, or teachers. Recently, the bravely Sean Penn fronted film ‘Milk’ commemorated his image played on the big screen, and an edifice to his life’s work still brings together students from all over the city who feel they desire an environment where they can freely be who they are during school hours without fear of retribution.

All of this goes directly in contrast, however, to the treatment that two Brooklyn teachers, who, in expressing their affections to each other, have become le scandal du jour of the New York City tabloids. Admittedly, Alini Brito and Cindy Mauro were doing something that certainly violated NYC DOE code of ethics and Departmentally approved uses of classroom space. In all likelihood, both teachers – being tenured in the NYC system, – knew for a fact that they probably should not have come to grips disrobed during school hours. But the sensationalist treatment of this particular interaction is a debasement of not only the school system, but amorous encounters in general. All of the writing – whether in the NY Daily News, or any of the blog-style internet only news feeds describes all related events, including the Facebook fan group set up by students to discuss it utilizes language that recalls images of Looney Tunes style wolves, tongues wagging, and saliva steadily dribbling from their jaws.

At issue here is the fact that alternative S3xualities are still seen as so disquieting and unreasonable by popular media that the mere expression of it across a headline boosts sales beyond holiday shopping expectations. None of the students reacting to this, causing the furor over on the Facebook page have likely taken the viewpoint of “that’s hot!” and downgraded immediately from a logic based ethical discussion immediately to over-S3xualizing the now embattled teachers. The powers that be at the top are partly to blame for this: a broad-based gag order was immediately in place on all topics circling back to this event. Not even the janitor who discovered the two is permitted to release any information pending the investigation.

The simple fact of the matter is that infinitely more pressing issues are at hand than a brief tryst that endangered noone (again, albeit entirely unethical) and whose only purpose is fodder for the gossip mongers. Why have we suddenly shifted 10 million pairs of eyes away from overcrowding in the classrooms, Charter School creation as a clandestine attempt at union busting, paying millions of dollars in bonuses to already highly paid administrators instead of hiring more teachers, attacks on tenure and seniority, and the fact that standardized testing is – in reality – widening the achievement gap for minority students? Because, dear readers, the majority of the public has been subconsciously trained to view these types of information the same manner as a pre-adolescent boy tripping over a stash of dirt magazines. Start educating the public, start working towards not just tolerance, but acceptance and celebration, and society’s inherent higher order processing impediments that always result after a story like this gets published will be removed.

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