Skip to comments.Torrance School Board Cuts Gay Program
Posted on 04/04/2002 9:10:30 AM PST by libertylass
Torrance school board cuts gay program, By Josh Grossberg DAILY BREEZE
The day after the Torrance school board voted to ban a gay rights group from speaking at the annual North High Human Relations Convention, a well-respected civil rights group threatened to boycott the event.
While proponents of keeping the gay rights group out of the conference congratulated themselves Tuesday, the other side floated the idea of holding the conference off-campus and away from the board's jurisdiction.
After a lengthy and tense meeting, the school board voted 3-2 to stop Gays and Lesbians Initiating Dialogue for Equality from attending the May 18 event. Members Maureen O'Donnell, Heidi Ashcraft and Joseph Bonano voted in favor of holding the event, but without GLIDE's participation. Members Gary Kuwahara and Beth Wilson, who both supported allowing the group to attend, voted against the measure.
Linda Hoos, a staff attorney for the Anti-Defamation League, called the board's 3-2 decision an abomination. She said even though her group was scheduled to participate, she was going to urge members to stay away. The ADL is known for fighting anti-Semitism.
I would argue that we should not participate, she said. We're discussing it. The decision whether to pull out is something we'll have to mull over.
The ADL's decision will not be made until next week, but Hoos said the board's vote was a slap in the face to what the event was supposed to be about.
It does a disservice to the students, she said. While I respect divergent views of the community, I still feel, in this context, the decision by the board was heavy-handed and unfair.
Board member's reaction:
Hoos' comments were treated with skepticism by Torrance school board member Joseph Bonano, who issued the original motion to bar the group.
Good for them, Bonano said. If they want to pull out and make one less presenter, that's fine. They showed their true colors.
The Human Relations Convention takes place on a Saturday. Student attendance is voluntary, and students must have parental permission. The event is funded by the nonprofit Torrance Education Foundation.
Monday's standing-room-only board meeting was the latest chapter in a saga that began last year when students scheduled a similar group to lead a seminar about sexual orientation. Over objections from dozens of parents and residents, the board approved the presentation on a 3-2 vote.
But with nerves raw from the fight, opponents formed Parents United to Stop Homosexual Education on our Schools, whose goal was to oust board members who voted in favor of the presentation.
I think it's a step in the right direction, said PUSHES spokesman Dan Miller. We'll see how everything turns out. We'll try to monitor things that go on.
GLIDE is a Beverly Hills-based nonprofit that makes 200 presentations each year on homophobia to schools, government employees and churches, according to the group. Its supporters were disheartened by Monday's vote, saying the decision denied them their rights.
I was appalled, said former Torrance school board member William Blischke. I think that not only do we have a right to free speech, but we have a right to hear and listen to those with a different point of view. The parents who didn't want their children to attend could opt out, but as it went, parents lost their rights to participate.
To counter the decision, Blischke said he was mulling whether the event should be moved elsewhere. He suggested as much in a letter he sent to the Daily Breeze.
My recommendation is it would be held at North High as originally planned, but that's not going to happen, he said. I suggested that it either be at another facility in Torrance or the North High students find a co-host in a high school in a nearby community where they'd have a more reasonable and tolerant majority on the board that will allow it to happen.
An alternative conference
O'Donnell said it was their right to have the convention any place they wanted, but she said she wanted students to learn tolerance for all groups, not just gays.
We feel that through diversity retreats and conflict resolution, you can address this and all other forms of discrimination, which will include youngsters who are fat, not good-looking, or racial and ethnic groups that are not part of the majority, she said.
But fellow board member Beth Wilson said the students deserved to have GLIDE speak.
I'm tremendously disappointed, she said. I feel sorry for the North High community who, in good faith, pulled this program together. I feel a great deal of sadness today.
Publish Date:Wednesday April
Although we understand the need for tolerance to all, the pro-homosexual groups that were at the School Board meeting Monday night (4/1) can only accept one side. Theirs! Typical, I'm afraid, of these types of groups that feel they only know what is best for our children.
Background: In 2000 parents spoke out, en force, against the Torrance, CA. School Board allowing P-FLAG to be a part of the HR forum being held at North Torrance High School, and West Torrance High School. The school board President, Gary Kuwahara, Beth Wilson, and one other board member voted for it in spite of our protests. Mr. Kuwahara claimed that those parents and residents protesting the group didn't speak for the community, even though they were clearly the majority. I guess the minority speaks for the community. Go figure.
At that point us parents were so incensed, and frustrated, that we formed a parents group called P.U.S.H.E.S (Parents United to Stop Homosexuality Education in our Schools). We raised funds through garage sales, and donations. to put two full page ads into our local paper "The Daily Breeze" and that's when "the wave" started. Which is exactly what we wanted.
I'm sorry to say that most of the public is not even aware of what is going on around them, but once our first full page ad was printed the calls, and donations, started coming in. We printed out flyers to inform the public of this very controversial group speaking to our students, and most were supportive.
One of P-FLAG's representatives at this forum was a transexual. He was an ex-CIF football player in school, and a Vietnam Veteran. After marrying and having two daughters, he became a she. He never attained the unconditional acceptance from his daughters even though he/she continued the marriage to his/her wife. Pretty weird and very selfish of him/her, if you ask me.
So, we have been fighting for this result for over a year, and are very pleased of the outcome. Our children can be taught how to be tolerant at home, from their parents. We also have very qualified teachers in the Torrance School District who can generically teach tolerance for all, without special interest groups coming in to override parents' instruction from home.
Mr. Kuwahara was noticeably unjust to the pro-family folks, and lenient to the behaviors of the pro-homosexual group in attendance at the meeting on Monday night. It has not gone unnoticed by any stretch of the imagination, and I will deal with him on a personal level in the next day or two. Beth Wilson even tried to accuse us of censorship, because now her children won't be allowed the opportunity to hear G.L.I.D.E.'s message. I reminded Ms. Wilson that she is more than welcome to have G.L.I.D.E. come to her home and speak to her children, or she can organize a meeting away from our tax-funded campuses. I told her that the censorship accusation was more accurately directed to the school board for not allowing those of us with speeches to use our full five minutes alotted time, and instead cut us off while we introduced a host of frightening statistics that she and Gary Kuwahara didn't want stated.
Parents are now taking a stand all across this country against the lies that have been fed to us for decades. Facts that have been researched and corrected, or many times debunked. But, the changes to these facts have been profoundly denied by the pro-homosexual advocates.
You will not see me use the term "Gay", as it is clearly not a "Gay" lifestyle. Let's continue to protect our children from forced indoctrinations by selfish groups spouting tolerance, diversity, and safe schools.
It's a good thing.
Bob J (Redondo Beach)
WELL.....this is GREAT....that's what they need to do...get it OUTTA THE SCHOOLS.....SEPARATION OF SEX AND SCHOOLS!!!!!