Remember the Fullerton superintendent who pulled the plug on Troy High School's production of The Laramie Project, an oral history of the event surrounding the murder of gay University of Wyoming Student Matthew Shepard? Dr. George Giokarsis?
Well, Fullerton Joint Union High School District (FJUHSD) Gay-Straight Alliances aren't just upset with him for that–they're also upset with him over his handling of a district contract to sell Chik-fil-A chicken sandwiches on high school campuses through an independent contractor. For those of you who don't remember, Chik-fil-A President and COO Dan Cathy has gone on record against same-sex marriage, and Chik-fil-A and its charitable foundation has donated money to anti-LGBT organizations.
"The essential questions we're asking is, 'To what degree, if any, should the exercise of a person's First Amendment freedom of speech rights have an impact on a district business decision?'" Giokarsis told students at The Oracle, Troy High School's very good student newspaper. His comment was published in their March issue. "We're making a business decision, a healthy decision, hopefully, on what to provide students. We don't make a profit off of this. Everything is cost neutral."
Let's leave aside Giokarsis' laughable assertion that Chik-fil-A is a healthy meal. Last I checked, the First Amendment protected people's right to say something–but it doesn't protect them from ridicule or the social and business consequences of their opinions. And that's exactly what Troy Warriors are doing.
Giokarsis' statement was a response to many student's reactions to the idea of selling chicken sandwiches that might fund hate groups on school campuses. After receiving an email on Jan. 23 about the impending sale, students began to voice their concerns, and Giokarsis halted the shipment of the sandwiches. They were meant to go on sale Jan. 29. By early March, a petition was posted online to stop permanently the sale of the sandwiches.
"Many FJUHSD students feel it would be hurtful to have the school administration and district board of trustees and superintendent supporting an organization whose president is so vehemently against LGBTQ students," reads the petition. "While it may seem innocuous to merely have Chick-Fil-A on campus, giving the opportunity for the organization to make money on our campuses is still a form of support for an organization that has made comments that are offensive to many of our students." It has since garnered over 300 signatures. Good job, students! And stay vigilant…