Irmo GSA controversy - who is at fault
I just came back from an interesting school board meeting in Irmo.
For the benefit of those who don’t know, Irmo High School Principal Eddie Walker is resigning after the coming school year because the formation of a gay/straight alliance. He says the alliance goes against his professional and religious values.
However, in his letter explaining his resignation, Walker mischaracterized the organization as a sex club.
He has received a lot of national criticism (much deserved) and some local praise.
A gay rights group in South Carolina, South Carolina Equality Coalition, is leading the charge calling for his immediate firing.
Walker has much support from the area community. Both sides of the issue held rallies and prayer vigils before the school board meeting.
One guess whose side I was on.
The school board, who from what I understand was still meeting when I left, received comments from people on both sides of the issue.
Needless to say the meeting was a bit raucous at times. We heard from people who support Mr. Walker, calling him the best principal the high school ever had. We heard from parents opposing the GSA.
We heard from former Irmo students who detailed how they were picked on for being gay and how a GSA could have helped them.
And we heard from students who support the GSA.
The district is now considering guide lines for curriculum-based and noncurriculum-based clubs and organizations.
It won’t stop the GSA but it will make things a little difficult for it.
I have faith that the GSA will survive. The hardest part of establishing it is over. And as long as the Equal Access Act is in place, the GSA will stand.
But there is something on my mind that I have to say.
This entire situation took place because of a dereliction of duty on Mr. Walker’s part.
In this school board meeting, I heard a lot of good things said about Mr. Walker. He is a popular principal and very likely will be allowed to stay until his contract is over.
He has been called a man who stands up for his principles.
And one of those principles was stalling for a number of years to keep the GSA from forming.
Mr. Walker cares for all students
But doesn’t care enough to realize or investigate the reason as to why some students want to form a GSA.
He is a Christian man
Who in a public letter unfairly characterized the GSA as a sex club.
Do you see where I am going with this?
Every comment I heard that praised Mr. Walker only elucidates his failure to show true leadership in this matter.
Every assurance that he supports all students only serves to highlight the fact that in this case, he failed some of the most vulnerable students.
Every bit of praise heaped upon Mr. Walker illuminates how he did not keep the situation under control
As a matter of fact, he is the very reason why the situation got out of control. No one can blame those who support him nor can anyone call out those who want his immediate dismissal.
The fault lies at the feet of Mr. Walker.
In the backdrop of all his good works, this egregious error stands out like a scarlet letter, a sword of Damocles.
In the middle of all of his black marks is now a mark as crimson as the spot that Lady MacBeth imagined she had on her hand.
Unlike his fictional counterpart, he can take steps to remove the mark.
I hope that in his last year as a principal, Mr. Walker will attempt to do just that.
For the sake of all students.