In late April, Julie over at Schooling Inequality had a post on a principal who was utterly homophobic when a boy decided to wear high heels to class.
One thing that Julie nails is the “weasel word” language that principal Bob Heilmann employs to justify his homophobia. An Arendtian analysis of the prinicpal’s language would not that it sounds like typical “administrator speak,” these are rote utterings that can be invoked without much thought. But if you unpack them, you’ll see that he’s really about reinforcing a dangerously homophobic environment. The “norm” terminology–that is if “Anytime anyone goes out from, quote, ‘the norm’ or anytime anyone wants to make a statement, you have to be willing to take what comes with it,” means you should expect violence for your deviance is classic totalitarian speech. In some places, Catholics violate the Protestant norm. Does that mean Catholic kids should be abused in public schools?
Clearly, Mr. Heilmann doesn’t like queer kids much at all (in general), and really has it in for gender non-conforming kids, in particular. His language, his utter banal invocations of administrative-speak, are clear indications of the danger he presents to “non-normative” kids.