Skip to comments.Parents Protest 'Homosexual Rights' in Virginia School District (Update)
Posted on 07/26/2002 4:36:38 AM PDT by kattracks
CNSNews.com) - A proposal to add "sexual orientation" to anti-discrimination statutes in local schools is causing dissension in Fairfax County, Va., where some parents claim the measure is unnecessary and could be used to undermine the religious convictions of students who believe that homosexual behavior is wrong.
Parents and pro-family groups also complain that Fairfax school libraries contain books that depict homosexuality only in a non-critical light and that the testimony of people who left the homosexual lifestyle is not allowed in school board debates on anti-discrimination.
"This is the work of gay activists in the school system," said Peter LaBarbera, a senior policy analyst with the Culture and Family Institute, a Washington pro-family group that opposes additional anti-discrimination language.
"These sexual orientation codes in the schools become Trojan horses for a much wider agenda, which includes pro-gay curricula, pro-gay diversity training for teachers, and gay-oriented books in the schools," he said.
On Thursday night, the Fairfax County School Board indefinitely postponed a vote on the "sexual orientation" proposal, until it receives guidance from the state attorney general on whether such a vote would be legal under state law.
Adding "sexual orientation" to the school system's anti-discrimination policy is redundant, because according to current policy, the school board is committed to eliminating all forms of discrimination in the school system, said Rita Thompson, one of three at-large members of the 12-member Fairfax County school board.
"So if it says all forms of discrimination, wouldn't that, if they believe they're being discriminated against, include them as well?" Thompson asked, referring to claims by homosexuals.
The current policy for students and teachers prohibits discrimination based on age, race, color, sex, religion, national origin, marital status, and disability.
Robert Rigby, a special education teacher at Hayfield Secondary School and co-chairman of the local Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education Network (GLSEN), said adding "sexual orientation" to the non-discrimination policy is necessary to protect people.
"I've experienced discrimination," he said. "I know other teachers who've experienced discrimination. I know students who've experienced discrimination. I don't know a lot of parents who have experienced discrimination, but I know parents who have expressed fear of discrimination."
Mychele Brickner, an at-large member of the Fairfax County school board, said she opposed adding "sexual orientation" to school policies. But she said students and staff should be more alert to possible cases of verbal and physical abuse in schools.
"I've had parents call me because they didn't feel the school was doing enough [to protect] their third grader from being picked on by other kids because he was little," she said. "I've had people call and complain that their child was harassed in high school for any number of reasons," she added.
"This happens and I'm sure it happens on the issue of perceived sexual orientation as well. I would never deny that it happens," she said.
But the solution, as Brickner sees it, is not for the board to add another category to the schools' anti-discrimination policy, but rather for teachers and staff to stop abuse whenever it happens.
"They already have that responsibility," she said. "And kids have the responsibility to make teachers or principals aware when it happens."
Board Rejects Inclusion of 'Ex-Gays'
A review of Fairfax County school libraries revealed there were 191 books on the shelves with homosexual themes, and a majority of the titles were "pro-gay," LaBarbera said, citing information provided by Fairfax County officials. Apparently there were no books about coming out of homosexuality, he said.
Regina Griggs, executive director of Parents and Friends of Ex-Gay and Gays, said she asked the school board to specifically include "ex-gays" in their sexual orientation amendment. However, the board denied the request under pressure from GLSEN, Griggs said.
"It is evident that the school board intends to use its proposed sexual orientation amendment to protect some groups - gays, bisexuals and transgenders - while discriminating against others - ex-gays," Griggs said in a statement.
E-mail a news tip to Lawrence Morahan.
Send a Letter to the Editor about this article.
Yes! I was there. I arrived about 7 p.m. and could immediately tell it was not your average School Board meeting. Two police cruisers were blocking the front drive, about a half-doze[n] uniformed officers were on hand, and about 100 people were assembled for a rally sponsored by Peter LaBarb[e]ra. He had a table full of information and a sound system set up for speeches.In Bill Wheaton's column yesterday, posted here, he claims the public sentiment is running 10 to 1 against the change. As I mentioned Thursday night, one cannot drive one mile on a major thoroughfare in the county without passing a church. If the churches were doing their job, a school board would not even consider enacting what they've done.
They started off with the Pledge of Allegiance, someone led the group in "God Bless America" followed by a prayer. Robert Knight spoke, then Rita Thompson, one of the school board members on our side. Rita had wonderful news: the Agenda item for the vote was being withdrawn!
There were other speakers, I think a woman from Concerned Women for America and a school board candidate from Springfield; but I headed on in to the auditorium so I didn't hear what they had to say.
I caught up with BufordP and two of his very nice friends from work. We sat on the back row where we could keep an eye out for you and anyone else we knew. Jimmy Valentine's Brother arrived with a sign he'd made. We tried to behave, but it was difficult at times.
Frye, the School Board At-Large member who offered the Agenda Action Item did break down and cry, recalling his own struggle with discrimination as a young man. Not taking anything away from his own personal pain, many of us didn't agree that homosexuality equates with being a member of an earlier-persecuted group in this country since homosexuality involves behaviors, not race.
I stayed to hear Rita Thompson and Mychele Brickner, two other Republicans on the Board. Mychele had asked for a list of pro-homosexual title in the school libraries and had received a list of almost 200 titles totaling over 1,000 books! She said we will be addressing the issue in the future. We all left after we felt confident the Agenda item had indeed been pulled and they weren't up to some shenanigans and would vote after we left. We headed next door to Sweetwater Saloon for lots of laughs and conversation.
We won this battle, but it's not over. They are taking the issue to Richmond and to the Commonwealth Attorney, Jerry Kilgore for advice. Virginia is what is called a Dillon Rule state, meaning there are some issues localities cannot decide on their own. Someone said that Kilgore had already told another school district downstate in April they could not add 'sexual orientation' to their policy, so I am optimistic.
We now need to contact the Attorney General and encourage him to side with us. If he does, indeed plan on running for governor, my guess is he'll rule in our favor.
I'm sorry we missed you. All in all, it was a great night and I am much relieved. I want to thank everyone who took time to email, call, and attend. The chairman said he'd received 500 emails and calls on this issue, more than any other, including heated school boundary fights.
Thanks again for getting us organized and thanks to Rita Thompson and Mychele Brickner for standing up to a very powerful lobby.
Yeah right, Rhonda. Tell us all about the books. No? Ok then, allow me:
Posted in Gay-books sale hits opposition:
"She emphasized that the books PFLAG expects to collect will help students adjust and adapt to their orientation. "We're certainly not going to put sexually explicit books in the schools," she said."
That's a lie. Both PFLAG and GLSEN recommend sexually explicit books for teens. Assemblyman Dennis Mountjoy (CA) has reviewed many of these recommended books and has stated:
"Believe me when I tell you that this material is grossly inappropriate to be used in our schools under the guise of "safety" or "diversity" training or anything else. In my view, the material is pornographic and obscene."
See the documentation posted in the thread:
"The well-known and respected national organization "Parents and Friends of Lesbians and Gays" (P-FLAG) serves as a support group for parents seeking guidance for their homosexual children. P-FLAG is recommended as a resource group by the U.S. Department of Education and U.S. Department of Justice in its upcoming manual, "Preventing Youth Hate Crime." Many schools, community agencies, and even nationally syndicated newspaper columnists refer families to it. P-FLAG has affiliates in all 50 states, with about 70,000 families among its membership.
A look at some of P-FLAG's literature and recommended books, however, reveals an approach to child guidance which is consistently both sexually and socially radical. First-person stories aimed at teens tell in pornographic detail of the delight of a young girl's sexual seduction by her lesbian teacher; of gay relationships between teenage boys and much older men; and of the precise how-to's of masturbation. Teenagers are specifically encouraged to use only their feelings as a guide to sexual behavior; to be their own judge of what is right and wrong; and to "have fun" experimenting. If a sexual behavior feels good, the logic says, it will tell them "who they are." Teenagers are encouraged to see religious traditionalists as mean-spirited and hypocritical, while at the same time, to see gay consciousness as "sacred." Were similar books recommended by parenting groups for "straight" teenagers, they would be considered violations of community standards of decency..."
(PFLAG's recommended reading list can be found here).
"...If this presents a realistic look into the life of a child struggling with same sex desires then these children are seduced/molested at an alarmingly high rate and engage in dangerous/abusive sexual activity at a very young age. What's worse is that the adults who purport to care most about them (the editor of this book for example) present this sexual abuse as if they were tender "coming of age" stories. As if the children struggling with same sex desires are showing how healthy they are by engaging in sex with adults and by having sexual encounters regularly beginning at a very young age.
And, the message is clear, if "straight" kids don't want to be closed-minded, if they want to be "open" and "free" they'll mimic the homosexual sexual behavior and promiscuity related in these books.
In several stories intense sexual activity as a child is presented as normal and healthy, even child/adult sex is presented without question. Five and six year old's who regularly engaged in sex are described as children "who were willing" to explore their sexuality "to it's fullest extent." Many stories fondly recount a youthful sexual encounter with a much older man or woman. Sexual promiscuity and engaging in sex as a child/teenager is presented as "sexual freedom".
Heterosexual or "questioning" youth are encouraged to try same sex intercourse because, the Kinseyin theory is repeated over and over, "Everyone's really gay or bisexual." and "You won't know if you like it until you try it."...
These books are in middle and high schools around the nation. Adults, real adults, have a responsibility to inform themselves about whats going on in public schools we fund. It is criminal to allow these people to educate our children on matters of sexuality!The children are depending on us to protect them. Please pass this information on to parents and other concerned adults..."
8 posted on 7/22/02 7:26 AM Pacific by EdReform
Well Rhonda Buckner, got anything to say?
Of course the NEA is behind it. And it's time to put an end to it:
Fathers invited to help children
THE WASHINGTON TIMES
Fairfax County schools are calling on fathers to spend more time with their children to help them succeed in the classroom.
When the school year begins in September, some of the county's public schools will introduce a fatherhood initiative that will encourage daddies to double up as their children's homework buddies and spend more quality time with them.
"We are suggesting to dad that if you want to see an improvement in your child's school work, then turn off the TV and become a homework buddy," said school board member at-large Rita Thompson, who introduced the initiative.
The Fairfax plan is inspired by a federal Department of Health and Human Services initiative to support and strengthen the roles of fathers in families, in step with President Bush's No Child Left Behind Act.
According to the federal department, research indicates that the presence of committed, involved parents contributes directly to better school performance, reduced substance abuse, less crime and delinquency, fewer emotional and other behavioral problems, less risk of abuse or neglect, and lower risk of teen-age suicide.
Three schools in Fairfax one elementary, one middle school and one high school will participate in the program this fall, said Elsie Kirton, director of guidance and student registration in the county's school system. "It will eventually be implemented systemwide," she said.
Mrs. Thompson said the school system will apply for federal grants that support parental participation programs to pay for the initiative. She also will meet next week with some county fathers who, she said, are actively involved in their children's school lives, to gather ideas for the program.
Schools that will implement the initiative this fall are Groveton Elementary and Holmes Middle School and West Springfield High School. Holmes Middle School already has a parental involvement program where staff from the schools visit children's homes every week to discuss their progress with parents.
Schools in the county also organize such programs as "Muffins for Mom" or "Donuts for Dad," which encourage parental participation, Ms. Kirton said.
Mrs. Thompson said that parents usually leave it up to schools to educate their children and feel powerless when they fail to do so. "Ideally, then, parents should be involved in their own children's lives," she said.
But it is not all about work: even playing sports with your children can help, she said, adding that studies showed that children whose fathers played an active role in their lives got mostly A's at school. Administrators welcome the program because, they say, there is evidence that parental participation usually helps children do better at school.
"I think anything we can do to get parents involved is good," said David Smith, principal of West Springfield High. He added that the school had good parental involvement but "more is better."
The school system plans a workshop in August to discuss the best ways to fulfill the initiative.
"There is a need that both parents serve as role models," Ms. Kirton said, "and being involved makes them more aware of what is happening at school."
Any exposure of children to homosexual behavior is child abuse.
Board Delays Vote, Seeks Legal Opinion
By JENNIFER LESINSKI
Jennifer Lesinski/The Connection
Concerned Women for America's Culture and Family Institute, based in Washington D.C., staged a rally Thursday before the Fairfax County School Board meeting opposing the proposal to add sexual orientation to the school system's nondiscrimination policy.
Jennifer Lesinski/The Connection
Supporters of the proposed change to add sexual orientation to the school system's nondiscrimination policy hold signs encouraging the School Board to vote yes.
July 31, 2002
The fate of the amendment to the Fairfax County Public Schools' nondiscrimination policy will rest in the opinion of one man instead of 12 elected School Board officials.
The School Board was bombarded with hundreds of e-mails over the past two weeks both for and against adding sexual orientation to the school system's nondiscrimination policy, which protects employees, students and applicants from discrimination on the grounds of such things as race, sex, age or religion. At the request of At-large School Board member Rita Thompson, chairman Stuart Gibson (Hunter Mill) pulled the proposed amendment off the table Thursday, July 25, to seek an opinion from Attorney General Jerry Kilgore (R).
"About two weeks ago, questions were raised as to whether the board had the authority to enact this rule," Gibson said, citing the Dillon rule, which limits local jurisdictions' ability to enact legislation without prior approval of the General Assembly.
Gibson said there was only two ways the board could seek a legal opinion from Kilgore, the first was to go through the Commonwealth Attorney and the other was at the request of a General Assembly member. Del. Vincent Callahan (R-34) has agreed to make the request on behalf of the School Board, Gibson said.
Prior to deciding to seek Kilgore's opinion, the School Board sought and received an opinion from its own legal counsel. Gibson, citing confidentiality, declined to say what the board's attorney had concluded regarding the amendment.
THE MOVE TO PULL the amendment was met with little resistance from the other board members. Only At-large member Robert Frye, the originator of the proposal, criticized Gibson's decision.
"I object to the removal of the proposal. This was not a decision made by the board. It was a decision of the chair," Frye said. "This proposal is very basic. It is one about treating everyone fairly."
Frye said his experiences with racial discrimination have confirmed his commitment to eliminating all forms of discrimination.
"I remember as little boy, as a second-class citizen, visiting a separate-but-equal Washington D.C. and visiting the Jefferson Memorial. On the wall were the words, 'All men are created equal.' They are only a few little words, but they gave me hope," Frye said. "In making this proposal of just two words, we give hope to those in Fairfax County."
Kaye Kory (Mason), while not criticizing Gibson's decision, apologized to the audience, saying the board should have asked for the Attorney General's opinion beforehand.
Thompson and fellow at-large member Mychele Brickner said they supported Gibson in seeking the legal opinion.
"If it wasn't done now, it would have been done later by someone else," Thompson said.
THE FEAR OF A LAWSUIT prompted Gibson's decision.
"If we do something and we didn't have the power to do this and we get sued, what have we accomplished?" Gibson said. "Fact of the matter is, [the authority to enact the change] wasn't first raised until two weeks ago."
The amendment has recently generated reaction from the community even though supporters of the measure have been requesting the change for nearly a year.
Thursday night, more than 350 people packed the auditorium at Luther Jackson Middle School, where the School Board holds its meetings.
Beforehand, the Concerned Women for America's Culture and Family Institute, based in Washington D.C., staged a rally in front of the school building opposing the amendment. Supporters of the amendment moved inside the auditorium when the rally began. Several officers were dispatched because of the size of the crowd; there were no reported incidents.
Inside, the board heard from people, including teachers and parents, on both sides of the issue.
"Why would a School Board adopt a policy that opens the door to destructive influences on vulnerable, impressionable children? Because that's what adding sexual orientation will do," said Julia Flanagan, a Springfield resident who said she was ex-gay.
"It will open the door wide to adults, who will mislead children into thinking that the profound needs they feel for acceptance and nurturing are really a sexual identity they were born with, making it even harder for children to find the truth," Flanagan said.
Regina Griggs, executive director of Parents and Friends of Ex-Gays and Gays (PFOX), and mother of a gay son, said PFOX opposes the amendment because it opens the door for the harassment of ex-gays. She said studies show people are not born gay and no one is telling the children the truth about how they can change. PFOX also objects to the fact that the school system permits books in the libraries that she says promote what she called the gay lifestyle, but will not allow ex-gay materials.
"They say they want all people to be protected, but to the exclusion of ex-gays. They don't even want us to have a voice," Griggs, a resident of Mount Vernon, said. "All children should be free and protected. Sexuality is not a part of who you are. It's who you are attracted to. It's demeaning to gay people."
OTHERS SEE IT differently. Sandburg Middle School teacher Vincent Worthington told the School Board the policy change is needed.
"For whatever reason several students, mostly in my seventh-grade Spanish immersion course, came to the conclusion that I was gay and by early spring had begun a systematic personal attack upon me in the classroom, finding opportunities to say or write words such as queer, fag, homo, openly questioning my sexuality and making vulgar references to sexual acts," Worthington said.
Worthington said he tried sending the students to "time-out," but the attacks continued and became worse as more students joined in.
"I consulted with my department chair and began to write-up referrals instead of or in addition to time outs. Though administrators were aware of these problems, I felt like nothing was being done to alleviate this toxic atmosphere that was increasingly taking over my fifth period," Worthington said. "Needless to say, this situation caused me much stress, concern, frustration and rage. I do not ever want to be in a similar situation again and I do not think any teacher, staff member or student should have to function in such a hateful environment."
Robert Rigby, a Hayfield Secondary special education teacher and co-chair of the local Gay, Lesbian, Straight Education Network chapter, is confident the Attorney General will rule the School Board does have the power to enact the policy change.
"Given the research I did, I expect the Attorney General will say the School Board does have the authority to do this," Rigby said. "The School Board has the right to pass personnel policy."
Locally, the school boards for the City of Alexandria and Arlington County have already added sexual orientation to their policies and have yet to face a legal challenge nor did either jurisdiction seek authority from the General Assembly. The City of Alexandria changed its nondiscrimination policy in 2000 and recently amended it anti-harassment policy, said Rosemarie Webb, clerk of its school board. The Fairfax County School Board added sexual orientation to the anti-harassment policy, spelled out in the Student Rights and Responsibilities Handbook, last year.
Adrienne Carver, spokeswoman for Arlington County Public Schools, said the school board there added sexual orientation to its nondiscrimination policy in 1995.
In addition, Fairfax County added sexual orientation to its Standards of Conduct in 2000, said Merni Fitzgerald, the county's public affairs director.
They sure did crop the picture to make sure no one saw anyone but supporters of the change. The photo in the print version is much larger and is a more accurate depiction of the crowd.
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