Brokeback High: Expelled West Linn Student Re-instated

Brandon flyteIt seems that a high school senior at West Linn, Brandon Flyte, produced a film for a class project that caused the school administration to expel him. The film contained no nudity and nothing inappropriate, but was about two gay students. School officials had requested that Brandon edit out a scene of two shirtless boys in a bed.

Earlier today, after massive protests on the net, he was allowed back in school.

First, the original story - in his own words - from BrandonFlyte.com

I aired Brokeback High (the video project I was required to make in Ms. Houck’s English 12) to my Marine Biology class on a Friday. The following Monday morning, I was called into a conference with the three vice-principals of West Linn High School. Now before I showed Brokeback High to my English class, I was required by the administration to edit out a scene of the two lead male characters snuggling together shirtless in bed. When I showed my Marine Biology class the film, the snuggle scene --which I might add was very tastefully done-- was left in. Apparently the administration thought that this was a big enough violation to warrant an expulsion. Only, it’s not being called an expulsion. It’s basically a ‘mandatory transfer’ to the local community college. I have no choice in it.

One has to wonder if any of this would've happened had the two characters snuggling in my film been male and female. We're led to believe that diversity is encouraged in schools, but when a 17 year-old straight kid makes a serious gay love story and is expelled for it, it just begs the question of exactly what kind of policy was the administration following?

Earlier today, this:

The school has agreed to allow me back in and graduate with my classmates this Spring, provided that I have the credits I need and that my attendance is solid. I appreciate all the support I've recieved from everyone. If we can continue showing this kind of support and unity, equality will win it in the end.

The original story was posted at Towleroad. You can view a clip of the film - and read more - over at GayRightsWatch.com. You can sign the petition to support Brandon at BrandonFlyte.com or visit the support site Free Flyte on MySpace.

Discuss.

Comments

  • Anonymous (unverified)
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    just for clarification: the original story was posted here: Gayer Mechanic Wales and towleroad linked to it

    thanks

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    Fun stuff Brandon. Hope that you can take a minute to consider Blue Oregon as another communication node...........

    People that throw a well timed spanner in the gears are always interesting to a lot of us......

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    I just thought it was funny that on the one place that had the story on this there were right-wingers calling it porn.

    At no point is there any sex. There is some snuggling and you see bare male chests, but porn? I don't think so.

    We saw more in Romeo & Juliet when we watched it in school-- and we never had to have a permission form filled out.

  • Gizmoeehaw (unverified)
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    I think it's wrong for them to reinstate the student. It's not porn, it's just clearly inappropriate for school. He was asked to remove the scenes but failed to comply. I think they had ample grounds for expulsion.

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    Kids do much worse than not comply on a school assignment, and they don't get expelled.

    Kids can get in fights and only get suspended for a few days.

    It's absolutely ridiculous to say that he should be removed from school for the rest of the year for that.

    Typically when a student doesn't comply on changes on a school assignment they get an F, not kicked out for the rest of the year.

    Besides, I don't see how two male students snuggling without shirts on is "inappropriate" for seniors-- they're 17 and 18 years old. Like I said, we saw worse in the Romeo & Juliet movie. This would clearly be PG-13, which is definitely allowed in senior classrooms.

  • Tom Civiletti (unverified)
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    Gizmoeehaw clearly states the attitude civil libertarians and public health advocates face. Many folks feel this is "inappropriate for school." No further explanation is needed, as this is an emotional reaction, not a reasoned stance. The religious right is happy to capitalize on the discomfort with homosexuality in the open, or actually, any sexuality in the open. FCC Goes After CBS For Indecency discusses the fining of CBS affiliates for airing an episode of "Without a Trace" in December 2004. Though no nudity or sex acts were shown, the episode dealt with a teen orgy.

    To the religious right, any portrayal of sexual behavior among young people is inappropriate. As I remember, the teen years are the time of sexual awakening and irresistable sexuality. To deny and hide this invites all sorts of personal pain and societal problems. But, hey, Fundamentalists don't give a whit for reality anyway.

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    This story was debunked in the March 16 Oregonian.

    Excerpts:

    WEST LINN -- West Linn High School student Brandon Flyte told the world on his Web site that he was expelled for leaving a homosexual "snuggle scene" in a class film project.

    It wasn't true, and now the teen is in real trouble with school officials because of the resulting turmoil surrounding his claim.

    But the teen was not expelled as he reported on his Web site. In fact, he was not punished at all, Woehl said. Administrators, instead, offered him a chance to make up lost classes at a community college.

    Flyte said Wednesday that he was not expelled or suspended and his being called to the office was "not a homophobic thing."

    Flyte said the administrators were forcing him to attend the community college as punishment. Woehl said it was not mandatory.

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    Good point Jennifer, and in the same article, he admits to chronic absenteeism as well.

    School officials have enough real problems to deal with as it is..........

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