The Haralson County school board terminated teacher Dave Dixon last night after Dixon showed a short clip from the film “The Reckoning” during a lesson on bullying. Dixon, who taught drama at Haralson County High School, said recent LGBT-youth suicides provided an opportunity for a “teachable moment.”
Haralson County High School is located on Ga. Highway 120 in Tallapoosa, Ga.
“The Reckoning,” a short film starring Bruce Hart, centers on Tom Shepard, a character who is gay-bashed after his public display of pride. Hart is a personal friend of Dixon who Dixon described as “the sweetest man you’ll ever meet.”
“The Reckoning” is loosely based on the story of Matthew Shepard, according to the website IMDB.
When Gabriel Haggray was a ninth grader at Salem High School in Conyers, Ga., he said he was bullied incessantly and would often go home after school and sit in his bedroom sobbing alone, feeling worthless.
“It was horrible. In gym class they would take my gym shorts or when I was in my gym clothes they would steal my street clothes,” he remembered. “One guy would always take my lunch, call me a fag and ask why I was still around.”
At first, Haggray said he “just took it” — he just put up with the bullying. Eventually he got tired of it and sought someone to listen to him as he dealt with the insecurity of being gay as well as finding a way to stop being bullied.
Fortunately, Haggray was able to find an empathetic counselor who presided over peer mediation with two of the boys who were bullying him, he said.
The Democratic race for State School Superintendent is the only primary race where all candidates responded to the Georgia Voice survey.
The state school superintendent’s office could gain increased attention from LGBT Georgians as the state works to implement a new anti-bullying law passed by the General Assembly this year.
Beth Farokhi, Joe Martin and Brian Westlake all said they support gay-straight alliance student clubs, the right for same-sex couples to attend high-school proms and anti-bullying programs that specifically address anti-gay slurs.
Farokhi and Westlake said they support comprehensive sex education. “Sex education should emphasize abstinence, but should also include factual information about ways to prevent pregnancies and socially transmitted diseases. However, schools should not be used to distribute condoms or birth-control devices,” Martin said.