Letters: Gay In Public School And Click

Talk of the Nation listeners wrote to share their thoughts about gay children in school, and how much schools should do to address their needs. Another listener wrote to remind us of a "click" — a quick, deep connection, as laid out in the book, Click — between Ulysses S. Grant and William T. Sherman.

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NEAL CONAN, host:

CONAN: It's Tuesday, and time to read from your emails and Web comments. We talked last week about the experience of being openly gay in public high schools, and many of you wrote to share your stories.

Elaine(ph) emailed from Buffalo to tell us: Our daughter is a lesbian and came out while still in high school. School officials have no business making the students' sexual orientation an issue. These children have enough to deal with without worrying about school officials and their antiquated opinions. These children have every right to attend their proms with or without dates. Our daughter did not attend her prom for fear of the same issue. Schools need to be more supportive.

Another listener agreed that schools should do more, but only to a point. To be clear, it is never OK to bully or abuse or threaten anyone in schools. Having said that, one of your guests commented on needing to positively talk about gay history and culture in the curriculum. There are a lot of people that believe being gay is wrong, and it's against their very beliefs. It's unreasonable to ask these people to go against those beliefs and require them to share your guests' opinions in school. That email from Alisa Riber(ph) in Washington state.

And a week ago, we talked with David Crystal about his "Little Book of Language" and the many variants of English that we use for different purposes. For Gandiga(ph), a listener in Wisconsin, that includes accents. In my family, accents did not disappear, he wrote, but went into storage for use when needed. We had two layers: one, a Latvian accent from home; the other, a Boston accent from our first years in the United States. School kids in Chicago knocked the Bostonian out of my speech. My somewhat older sister simply adapted to professional life in the Midwest. But 'til the end of her days, you could tell if she was angry. No raised voice, no distorted face, only that her speech became steadily more Bostonian.

Finally, we heard many stories last week about people who just seem to click. Ori Brafman talked about his new book "Click: the Magic of Instant Connections." For some of you, it was love at first sight. Other people clicked right away with their best friends. And Larry Lang(ph) pointed out, this is not a new phenomenon.

I recently read a great book called "Grant and Sherman: The Friendship that Won the Civil War." Seems they clicked early in the war and developed a trust that allowed them to work together even when separated by hundreds of miles, as during Sherman's march to the sea through Georgia. Sherman later said of Grant: He stood by me when I was crazy, and I stood by him when he was drunk. And now, sir, we stand by each other always. The author of that book is Charles Bracelen Flood.

Remember, you can download our shows as a podcast or listen online. If you're on Twitter, you can follow me there @nealconan - all one word. And if you're not getting on - email newsletter, stop by our website and sign up. We'll send you a preview of what's coming up on the show every day. Go to npr.org, click on TALK OF THE NATION for details on that. If you have questions, comments or corrections for us, the best way to reach us is by email. The address is talk@npr.org. Please, let us know where you're writing from, and give us some help on how to pronounce your name.

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