The daily Nebraskan. ([Lincoln, Neb.) 1901-current, September 10, 1997, Page 4, Image 4

Below is the OCR text representation for this newspapers page. It is also available as plain text as well as XML.

Paula Lavigne
Jessica Kennedy
Erin Gibson
Joshua Gillin
Jeff Randall *
Julie Sobczyk
Ryan Soderlin
Homosexuals seek
solace in private school
After ending separate-but-equal laws
decades ago, a new private school in Dallas
shows that for some students, separation
from discrimination may be the only escape
from persecution.
The school is geared toward high
school-age homosexual students.
Students at Walt Whitman Community
School told newspapers they had been the
target of taunts and jeers from students in
other Dallas high schools, and that the pri
vate school offered welcome relief.
Two veteran educators, now teaching at
Whitman, said the school was “a dream.”
It’s sad that “dream” can trigger so many
nightmares for education and socialization.
What the school produces could be trag
ic. There is a group of students who spend
their teen-age years attending a school
because they know they are not accepted by
students, who call themselves “normal,” at
other area high schools.
There is no need for a separate school
for these students like there is for students
with loss of hearing or sight, or with physi
cal or mental limitations. Homosexuality is
not a disability. These students can, and
should, meet the academic criteria of their
peers in a standard high school.
They’ll be free from the taunts and jeers,
yes, but only when they’re on the school
grounds. However, is it really better for
them in the long run? When they graduate,
there^^thante that they mayhe m for a
shock. Afterheing isolated for four years,
they have to face the same general public
that forced them into their solitude. Either
they confront it, maybe win it, or their fear
gets the best of them, and the discrimination
continues within them.
1 hey also could come out with their own
brand of discrimination against heterosexu
al adults because there hasn’t been teaching
of integrated understanding and harmony
among students of all sexual orientations.
But while the school may only widen the
divide between both sides, it’s also ^ last
resort. For all the possible downfalls of
what it might produce, this school is sadly
the only place for homosexual teens to turn.
Taunting and teasing can create an envi
ronment that pushes the student to despera
tion, and robs him or her of an environment
that nurtures learning and cooperation. It
was their only way out, and that is very sad.
What needs to happen in schools attend
ed by both homosexual and heterosexual
students is for the teachers to take responsi
bility. Learning is not limited to ABCs, sci
ence projects and algebra tests.
When the topic of homosexuality, or any
sexual orientation, can be brought down to
an academic level at an early age, it may be
possible to neutralize the issue and prevent
discrimination that can result from Joey
thinking Bobby is a “freak” because he
doesn’t like girls.
Ultarfal Policy
Unsigned editorials are the opinions of
the Fall 1997 Daily Nebraskan. They do
not necessarily reflect the views of the
University of Nebraska-Lincoln, its
employees, its student body or the
University of Nebraska Board of Regents.
A column is solely the opinion of its author.
The Board of Regents serve as publisher
of the Daily Nebraskan; policy is set by
the Daily Nebraskan Editorial Board. The
UNL Publications Board, established by
the regents, supervises the production
of the paper. According to policy set by
the regents, responsibility for the editorial
content of the newspaper lies solely in
the hands of its student employees.
letter Policy
The Daily Nebraskan welcomes brief
letters to the editor and guest columns,
but does not guarantee their publication.
The Daily Nebraskan retains the right to
edit or reject any material submitted.
Submitted material becomes property of
the Daily Nebraskan and cannot be
returned. Anonymous submissions will
not be published. Those who submit
letters must identify themselves by name,
year in school, major and/or group
affiliation, if any.
Submit material to: Daily Nebraskan, 34
Nebraska Union, 1400 R St. Lincoln,
NE. 68588-0448. E-mail:
' > .V*, g $*., r '
; ?*■ Haney s
Tiny details
Memories of sister resurface with niece’s birth
Those minuscule fingernails will never
look like that again for the rest of her life.
... unaltered by any of the forces of life.”
senior news-editorial
major and a Daily
Nebraskan columnist.
It’s funny how the slightest
details always seem to stick in your
One of the most vivid images of
my childhood is a small detail - my
sister’s fingernails. You see, she is
seven years older than me, and so
- whenever she wanted me to do
something for her, she would con
vince me by taking a death grip on
my head with her 1 Vi-inch-long fin
- gemails.
To this day, I won’t let her live
down the damaging psychological
affects this brutal act obviously had
on my young mind. Now don’t get
me wrong. Despite my sister’s abu
sive behavior back when I was a
child, I have a love and respect for
her today that transcends it all.
But I still remember the finger
Last week when I got on the ele
vator at St. Elizabeth’s Community
Health Center, I wasn’t thinking of
her fingernails at all. And when I
walked into Room 439 and saw my
sister lying in the hospital bed, all I
could think about was how thankful I
was that she was alive. Then my eyes
shifted focus and I realized how
thankful I was that another “she”
was alive. Against the east wall of
the room, in a tiny, elevated bed was
Kianna, my sister’s 6-pound, 10
ounce baby girl, bom only two hours
before I entered the room.
I didn’t know how to react at the
moment. The nurse was whispering
kind words to Kianna as she per
formed what must have been the nor
mal early life procedures. I stood
silent. There was a life, a precious
little baby girl, receiving the first
bath of her brand-new life.
She rolled onto her side and a
discontented growl escaped from her
tiny mouth. I was completely
enthralled with the wonderful cre
ation before me. My niece. My first
niece. I started to think of all that she
has in front of her; the birthday pre
sents I’ll be able to spoil her with
and the joy of hearing her call me
“Uncle Gregg.” There I was, at the
beginning of something that will
change my life forever. Then it hap
I got to hold her.
Her body warmed the white blan
ket in which she was wrapped as I
gently rocked her back and forth in
my arms. She sighed a little and con
tinually smacked her lips together. I
thought of how excited I would be
when she was able to form words
and speak with that same mouth.
Beneath her miniature, pink
stocking cap was a thick mop of
black hair, with her bright red skin -
irritated from the birth - showing
through. I noticed her eyelids, per
fectly smooth except for the tiny eye
lashes poking out from them. Those
eyelids started to blink - once, twice,
then open on the third try, and she
looked at me. My heart melted as I
instantly fell in love with my little
She struggled a little to get
her arms out from the blanket that
surrounded her and as she did,
out popped her two little hands,
her ten little fingers. Exact dupli
cates of adult fingers, just a lot
Amid all the emotions of meet
ing my niece, all the great things I
can recount about her appearance,
and all the things that went through
my mind that day, there is one thing
I’ll never forget.
Her fingernails.
There they were, sticking out
from the ends of each of her tiny fin
gers. Those minuscule fingernails
will never look like that again for the
rest of her life. They were uncut,
unaltered by any of the forces of life.
When I saw them, my amazement
reached its highest level. Everything
about her was and is a miracle. But
her fingernails just struck a chord in
my mind that will reverberate as long
as I live.
I couldn’t help but remember two
verses from Psalm 139: “I will praise
You, for I am fearfully and wonder
fully made; marvelous are Your
works, and that my soul knows very
well. My frame was not hidden from
You, when I was made in secret, and
skillfully wrought in the lowest parts
of the earth.”
Those fingernails were wonder
fully made, that is for sure.
I didn’t realize it at the time, but
what a dramatic piece of irony. The
thing I remember most about my sis
ter was also the thing that I’ll never
forget about my little niece. Funny
how life sometimes works that way,
isn’t it? In the years to come, I’m
going to do all I can to show little ^
Kianna how much I love her. I’m
going to take her to football games
and teach her how to fish. We’re
going to have great times and make
some great memories that will last a
But for me, the most treasured
moment will be that first day of her
life, when I saw her for the very first
time. And I’ll never foiget her fin
PS. Write 3