San Diego Students Suspended After 'Gay Test' Involving Watching Porn Videos On Cell Phones
Nine seventh grade students at a San Diego-based middle school were suspended last month after watching pornographic videos as part of a so-called "gay test," according to reports.
According to U-T San Diego News, students in all-boys English class at Bell Middle School in Paradise Hills allegedly wore gym shorts as they watched videos on their cell phones. Whoever became sexually aroused while watching the videos was labeled gay, and several adolescents masturbated openly during the class.
In addition, peers complained of inaction by teacher Ed Johnson, who is now reportedly under fire because he did not respond to students who told him about the behavior while it was allegedly happening, according to NBC San Diego.
Among those to condemn the news was Patiti Boman of Parents, Families and Friends of Lesbians and Gays, who called the incident "terrible," even though Bell Middle School officials have yet to confirm many details.
Last month, U-T San Diego News reported that school officials and area lawmakers have called the matter a personnel issue and declined additional comment, citing student privacy laws.
said in an email as quoted by NBC San Diego. "With respect to Mr. Johnson, all we can tell you is that he is employed by the District and remains assigned to Bell Middle School as of [May 25]. His schedule has not changed."
Still, Dick Thornburgh, a former U.S. attorney general and author of a 2002 study on how to protect youth from Internet pornography, told the Associated Press that he believes the case illustrates a growing problem.
"The images are perishable, so if a teacher is concerned about someone using a cell phone to look at pornographic images, all you've got to do is press a button and it's gone," he said. "So it poses all kind of challenges."
At my school students are supposed to either turn in their cell phones in the morning or leave them in their car. We should not have to worry about this problem, though students hide their cell phones and sneak them around school regardless of the rules and consequences of being caught. Besides, even if my students watched porn on their phones in school, I know they do so at home, they would never openly masturbate in class. They may often be inappropriate, crass, and rude, but at least they do know some boundaries. The other major difference in my students and these is that my students who watch porn are 10th-12th grade, but my seventh graders would never admit to watching porn. One of the great things about teaching in a rural school is that the kids keep their innocence longer.