The Unfortunate Lesbians of Blanche Ely High School

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Last week, the principal of Blanche Ely High School, Mr. Karlton Johnson, hauled an interracial lesbian couple into his office and threatened to suspend them for holding hands in the hallway. He'd warned them about this hand-holding business before, he said -- he was just upholding the school's rules, and he insists there was nothing homophobic or insensitive about his actions. (Even though when the school inadvertently outed one of the girls' as a lesbian when they called her parents to discuss the incident. So far, the district has failed to apologize.)

When the news got out there was the expected outrage. Elgin Jones wrote about it at The Florida Times; Steve Rothaus wrote it up at the Herald. Even Perez Hilton got in on the opprobium, calling Mr. Johnson "just wrong."

Well, maybe he is and maybe he isn't. The girls have claimed that Blanche Ely's heterosexual couples are never, ever disciplined for hand-holding, but that might not be as telling as it seems. Maybe Mr. Kalrton is so accepting of gayfolk that it never even occurred to him that making an example of an interracial lesbian couple might be impolitic. Who knows what's in another man's heart?

But Mr. Karlton's definitely guilty of something.
Though the girls' identities have not been made public, we do know that the hand-holders are upperclassmen in Mr. Johnson's school. They both apparently earn good grades, and one of them is an honor student. Yet somehow, one of these girls composed this email to the school district:

There has been a situation in my upcoming school, Blanche Ely High, dealing with discrimination against the lesbian/gay community. Our principal here has tried to suspend me and my friend for holding hands. And I would like to know if such actions are necessary for something so fragile.

...to which a reasonable person can only say: Yea gods! Who cares if Karlton Johnson's a homophobe? If that's how his honor students write, wanton public lesbianism is the least of his problems.

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Dan K Alexander
Dan K Alexander

Here is a test that Mr. Karlton Johnson will not pass...

When I was a teacher at Blanche Ely High School a young gay student came to me and asked if I would sponsor a Lambda United (type) club at Ely.  There are many LGBT students at Ely with little to no resources/support.  

Lets just say that the Blanche Ely community frowns upon homosexuality (and that is putting it lightly).

This student asked me just as I was expecting to be surplus'd (i.e. laid off), so I told the student that "IF" I came back to Ely that I would be his sponsor.  

The very next August I did in fact return to Ely.  When I finally noticed the student walking through the halls (he did not have my class this semester), I asked him if he still needed a teacher-sponsor for the club.  He replied (paraphrasing), "Oh, I don't need your help anymore.  Mr. Johnson said that I couldn't start the club here."  I immediately asked, "Why not?"  The student replied, "He (Johnson) said that the club would be the target of violence and therefore he wouldn't allow the club to be formed."

This is political.  The Ely community has a deep-seated fear/hatred of homosexuals.  

How many students have been written up and/or suspended for holding hands in the hallway this year?  How about since Johnson has been principal?  When I was teaching at Ely there were a few instances of students who were kissing in the hallways being reprimanded, but I never once heard of anyone being reprimanded for merely holding hands.

I believe that Johnson has something on the School Board.  Maybe the construction of the new stadium at Ely has something to do with it?  I say this because Karlton Johnson's tenure at Broward County Schools is littered with atrocious behavior.

When Mr. Johnson was an Assistant Principal at Blanche Ely he initiated a physical altercation by striking a teacher.

Just last year (2010) Mr. Johnson initiated a bogus investigation upon two teachers (who just so happened to both be the BCS Teacher's Union Reps for BEHS) for allegedly "throwing holy water upon an atheist teacher."  The teacher who (supposedly) made the allegations told me at the end of the (2010) year that she "(I) never claimed to have had holy water thrown upon me.  No one ever threw water.  There was no water.  I never said that."  Mr. Johnson claimed (in his report) that the teacher made the allegation to him and that he was required then to begin an investigation.  This was a ruse.  Mr. Johnson wanted to get rid of the BCS Teacher's Union Reps and the only way to do so is/was to have them placed under an investigation (teachers/employees who are being investigated are not allowed to work while being investigated; instead these people go to a warehouse in Broward County and take inventory of books all day).  Mr. Johnson had two teachers (who he knew were innocent) escorted off of campus by Broward Sheriffs in the middle of class.  The students were pretty upset.  These teachers were replaced with substitutes for (most of) the remainder of the year.  The teachers in question were cleared after nearly 3 months and were permitted to return to the classroom.

And now we have Mr. Johnson discriminating on student's based upon their sexuality?

Broward County Schools knows the truth about Mr. Karlton Johnson yet they still do not do anything about his actions.  Why?  I am not saying that his actions are criminal, but it is easy to see that Mr. Johnson's behavior and lack of professional ethics should disqualify him from being the principal of any school (especially a public school).

The "test" is that someone should try and have a gay/lesbian support club started on the BEHS campus.  Lord knows that there are (at least) dozens of LGBT students at Ely who could really use a support group.  If Johnson is not homophobic then he shouldn't oppose the formation of such a club.  I would also believe that "IF" he did in fact oppose such a club being formed that he (Johnson) would be violating Federal law.  But, I haven't gone to law school (yet), so I cannot say (for certain).

I firmly believe that all of you "journalists" who are writing about this story are sitting on one hell of a bigger story should any of you have the gusto to pry the lid off of it.  Because I am an ex-employee, I am unable to be seen as objective and am therefore unable to do it myself.  Cest le vie!  When thinking about whether or not you should do anything, don't think about me.  Do not think about your pessimistic editor asking you "Who cares about Ely?"  Think about the students at Blanche Ely High School.  I am certain that they care.

Mz Zaint
Mz Zaint

shouldn't post picture somebody out them know by the way they aren't lesbians

Tonj
Tonj

There is always going to be controversy whenever someone is disciplined. Everyone wants the right to do something. There are far more things in school that the youth need to be concerned with. Studying, grades, getting a proper education....I think youth have too many rights. When they become responsible adults, they can do what they want. But as a child, under 18, act as a child and respect your adult peers. Lastly, have some respect for authority. We are responsible for these children and their behavior. 

burninshore
burninshore

I wish you would quit writing about school matters. Your cluelessness and lack of follow up or research is astounding.

JenjenGotlieb
JenjenGotlieb

The girls were working a documentary project for school on the subject of Lesbianism in High School.  This was part of their project to cause a controversy and then film everyones reaction.  Unfortunately, in turned into a porn film and the girls are now under contract to star in 3 other films.Debbie does Dallas CheerleadersDeep throat in 10th gradeLicking the Girls Basketball Coach 

Rev Cuntini
Rev Cuntini

The girl lesbians need to find Jesus.  For a small fee I will do a homo-exorcism on them.  If they both cum I mean come at the same time I will give them a 10%discount.

KennyPowersSays
KennyPowersSays

Isn't this the same school with the previous incident involving 2 teachers harassing another over some religious hooey? FCAT honor students means very little.

Tonj
Tonj

what is your point? so some things happened in the school....aren't you the same Kenny Powers with skeletons in your closet??? 

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