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Letter: Good education means embracing a range of diverse viewpoints

Minnesota Vikings punter Chris Kluwe was scheduled to speak at River Falls High School to address issues around bullying and harassment, and likely about the proposed Minnesota Constitutional Amendment in Minnesota to define marriage as between a man and a woman.

There are valid issues around discrimination and legal issues around such amendments to gay and straight couples who would opt for domestic partnership.

Kluwe has been a vocal supporter to 'vote no' on the amendment (as I was when Wisconsin had a similar ballot amendment), although this is not the sole issue he was to address.

A number of parents called the high school expressing concerns over potential "inappropriate language" and other concerns, so his appearance was cancelled.

As America is split fairly evenly (especially when taking the younger demographic into consideration), this is not some fringe viewpoint.

To me, education is active, engaged and challenging if we aim to produce critical, independent thinkers. It also, ideally, breeds understanding by exposure to different ideas -- be they moral, philosophical or otherwise.

If one disagrees, it provides the opportunity to test and discuss those beliefs and allows the opportunity for discussion. The value of respectful disagreement is one that is sorely needed in political and social discourse if we are to remain a democracy.

I fail to see how limiting the discussion of views that are not insulting or advocating any harm furthers any of these aims.

Nor does insulating one's ideas about morality or the social repercussions of public policy strengthen them -- It simply leaves them unexamined and closed-off.

Please do not limit the vitality of our democracy by limiting viewpoints expressed respectfully in our schools.

In our divided community, I would, however, understand if parents objected because Kluwe was a Viking...