Saturday, March 25, 2006

Student Expelled for His Conservative Views Wins Suit, Returns Determined

Student Expelled for His Conservative Views Wins Suit, Returns Determined
Agape Press ^ | 3/23/06 | Jim Brown

An army veteran and graduate student at Le Moyne College in upstate New York who was expelled from his degree program because of his conservative philosophy of education is back in the classroom and speaking out.

Last year Le Moyne College, a Jesuit school located in Syracuse, dismissed Scott McConnell from its masters of education program for writing a paper in which he advocated the use of corporal punishment and criticized multiculturalism (see earlier story). The head of the school's education department told the "A" student his expulsion was the result of a "mismatch" between his personal beliefs and the school's program goals.

McConnell, an evangelical Christian as well as a conservative, filed a civil rights lawsuit, and his attorney argued that his dismissal was "a gross violation of McConnell's rights to freedom of expression." An appeals court subsequently ordered Le Moyne to reinstate the education student, and both sides in the dispute have since agreed to stop suing each other.

The reinstated graduate student feels he is finally being treated like every other Le Moyne College student, at least by the faculty. "I've been treated fairly by the professors," he says. However, he acknowledges that "some of the students look at me negatively; they give me dirty looks, and they kind of point at me."

On the other hand, McConnell notes, "The administration won't come within ten feet of me, which is fine with me. The more they stay away from me the faster I can get through this program."

The teacher-in-training says he is not concerned about the future. He contends, "I base everything on my faith in the Lord, and because of that, it's like the song He's the Rock of my Salvation. Well, that's my rock. I stand upon it, and I have nothing to worry about."

In fact, after receiving an A-minus on the paper he was expelled for writing, McConnell feels qualified to offer other Christian students a piece of advice. "If you're going to write a personal paper," he says, "make sure you have facts to back it up."

McConnell emphasizes that, without his faith in God, he would never have made it through his ordeal with Le Moyne College. When he finishes earning his master's degree, the graduate student says he would preferably like to teach in a private school because he disagrees with the way U.S. public schools are run.

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