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Thursday, May 17, 2007

Ind. Decisions - Fort Wayne teacher in gay rights tolerance case honored in D.C.

The ILB last wrote on the Amy Sorrell situation on May 3rd. Today the Fort Wayne Journal Gazette reports, in a story by Kelly Soderlund:

As her suspension winds down and she awaits a transfer to a different school, an embattled local teacher jetted to Washington to receive an award for her fight for student rights.

Former Woodlan High School teacher and journalism adviser Amy Sorrell received the Mary Beth Tinker Award from American University’s law school and the Marshall-Brennan Constitutional Literacy Project on Wednesday. * * *

Sorrell detailed her experiences to American University law students and the high school students they mentor at a luncheon Wednesday.

“I challenge all of you here today to take a step toward protecting student rights,” an excerpt from Sorrell’s speech said. “This is something we need to do now – not wait until you are a victim of censorship.

“We need to challenge schools to be advocates for students and to truly make schools a place for learning. Schools need to be places that harbor student rights, that encourage students’ thoughts and ideas even when they are unpopular.”

Sorrell was notified Monday that she was receiving the award and was recommended by law students who read about her case on the Internet.

Stephen Wermiel, associate director of the Marshall-Brennan Constitutional Literacy Project, feels Sorrell made the right decision by publishing the student’s column and standing up for herself and her class. “Amy’s position that this didn’t seem like something controversial … it seemed like a very logical position, and for her to have to pay this kind of consequence for engaging in a not particularly outer-limits example of freedom of the press seems unfortunate,” he said.

Posted by Marcia Oddi on May 17, 2007 10:01 AM
Posted to Ind. (7th Cir.) Decisions