A Tennessee community college professor ordered her students to wear ribbons supporting gay rights and said those who believed in the traditional definition of marriage are just “uneducated bigots” who “attack homosexuals with hate,” according to a legal firm representing several of the students in the class.
Students in a general psychology class at Columbia State Community College were directed by their professor to wear “Rainbow Coalition” ribbons for an entire day and express their support for the homosexual community, said Travis Barham, an attorney with the Alliance Defending Freedom.
Barham is calling for the college to punish Dr. Linda Brunton and order her to apologize to the students whose constitutional rights he believes were violated, according to a letter he sent to the community college president.
“Dr. Brunton essentially turned her General Psychology class into a semester-long clinic on the demands of the homosexual movement,” Barham said.
A Columbia State spokesperson released a statement to Fox News acknowledging they are aware of the allegations.
“When the allegations were brought to the attention of college officials, Columbia State Community College began an investigation, which is currently ongoing and congruent with Board policy and applicable laws,” the statement read.
According to her faculty page, Brunton is a member of the Gay, Lesbian & Straight Educators Network and lists diversity issues among her professional interests.
Alliance Defending Freedom said the professor told students to write a paper about how they were allegedly “discriminated against” because of their support for homosexual conduct.
Several students objected to the assignment because their religious convictions prohibit them from supporting conduct their faith teaches them is immoral and unnatural.
Barham said the professor made it clear they had to follow the rules of the assignment to receive credit and allegedly told the students their own beliefs and viewpoints were irrelevant – even when they wrote their papers.
The students were also barred from defending or explaining any other views regarding homosexual conduct, dismissing such arguments as “throwing Bible verses” at her,” the attorney said.
“When students objected to how she was pushing her personal views on the class, she explained that it is her job ‘to educate the ignorant and uneducated elements of society,’ that oppose this movement’s demands and to correct their ‘hateful and close-minded’ views” Barham said.
Barham said the assignment violated the constitutional rights of students by forcing them to advance a particular political agenda.
“The Constitution does not allow any government official to force another person to adopt or advocate a particular moral or political view. But this professor did just that with this assignment and thus clearly violated freedoms protected by the First Amendment.”
State Sen. Joey Hensley is an alumni of the college and is chairman of the senate higher education committee. He told Fox News such lessons are inappropriate in Tennessee universities and colleges.
“It’s highly inappropriate for a professor to require students to advocate for something they do not believe is morally right,” he said.
Hensley said he’s planning on discussing the matter with the college’s president.
“If the teacher really did this – she needs to be reprimanded at the minimum and terminated the maximum,” he said.