Thursday, February 03, 2005

Renegade Fairfax School Board Member Just Can't Wait

Down in Fairfax County, one school board member has taken it upon himself to send letters to all the county's high-school principals, advising them to teach more superstition and less science regarding homosexuality:
A Fairfax County School Board member has sent letters to the district's 24 high school principals urging them to ensure that students hear the views of people who believe that homosexuality is a choice and a "very destructive lifestyle."

In a Jan. 30 letter, Stephen M. Hunt (At Large) asked the principals to host speakers with an "ex-gay perspective" and offer students, teachers and counselors literature provided by the conservative group Concerned Women for America and other organizations.

"Children are being taught that homosexuality is normal and natural. It is neither," Hunt wrote. "To state that it is normal or natural is to promote the myth that accompanies the homosexual activist rhetoric."

Hunt's letter, which was not reviewed by other members of the 12-person board before it was sent, sparked sharp rebukes from some other board members and Superintendent Jack D. Dale.

Several board members said that although the letter was on private stationery, it was inappropriate because principals may have believed it was endorsed by the board. "By signing his name as a School Board member, it calls into question whether he is speaking on behalf of the board, and he is not," board member Jane K. Strauss (Dranesville) said.

Dale said he has written the principals to let them know Hunt's view is not sanctioned by the board or administration. "I very much regret that our principals received this letter, which is not representative of the School Board's views," Dale said in a prepared statement. "We want our schools to be seen as welcoming places for all individuals." Schools Official Assails 'Gay Lifestyle': Fairfax Letter Urges Revisions to Teaching

There is so much wrong with this picture that you almost don't know where to start.

Let's say this guy really believes this stuff. He really believes that people can stop being gay, and that they should. Somehow it's better not to be gay, and all gay people should just switch from AC to DC or whatever. OK, so even if this guy believes this, against all the scientific evidence -- what makes him whip out a letter, on his own stationery, to all these principals?

Did he forget he was on the board?

Listen, the reason people act in aggregate, the reason you have a board or committee, and not just one person running things, is that it allows a diversity of opinion. People believe different things, value different things, draw different conclusions from the same facts. So you elect a group of people, hopefully clear-eyed, intelligent people who know what's going on, and they debate and discuss, and the inevitable result is some kind of compromise. It's just built into the system. Part of this process is that extreme positions will be trimmed out most often -- that's just how it works. If someone with an extreme position can convince the others, that works, too, and it sometimes happens -- regardless of the outcome, the group needs to work it through.

But this guy, Stephen Hunt, decides he doesn't want to wait for the process, he doesn't care what the board as a whole decides. He's all jazzed up about the idea that gay people should just stop being so gay, and he wants the schools to start teaching kids about this as if it was something that happens every day. He's so paranoid about the gay agenda that he just can't wait for the rest of the board to understand how terribly terribly scary it really is.
Hunt said yesterday that he is concerned that students who do not support homosexuality may be afraid to speak up in school or labeled as intolerant. Hunt said he is not seeking to ban material or programs in place but believes that other information should be included.

Hunt said his letter specifically notes that students should respect the rights of gay peers. "If a person does choose a gay lifestyle, we should respect their freedom, their safety and their choice," he said.

But in the letter Hunt said students often are exposed to the "Will and Grace version of homosexuality." He contended in the letter that gays often suffer drug and alcohol abuse or physical abuse and that gay men don't live as long as heterosexual counterparts. "There are huge ramifications for people who may make a choice to go into that lifestyle, and we should make sure they are fully aware of the entire issue," Hunt said in an interview.

What do you suppose he means when he refers to "students who do not support homosexuality?" How do you "support" something like that? He wouldn't mean "accept," would he? ... I don't think so, either.

Why would anyone think you had to be for or against something like being gay? Seems to me you don't have to do any of that stuff yourself, and you don't have to judge other people who do. It's called "freedom," and we have it here, in America. You tolerate me, I'll tolerate you, it's a deal we make as citizens.

And this "lifestyle" thing. Does anybody know what that means? It means your boyfriend or girlfriend is the same sex as you, it might mean that you prefer to socialize with other gay people. You still eat groceries, you still watch TV, you still pump your own gas, you still have to walk the dog ... Gay people are just people, you don't have to make some mystery out of it. They aren't aliens. They don't go to some weird otherworldly "lifestyle" place at the end of the work day.

It is not unusual for small groups of people to hold bizarre beliefs. And it is not that unusual for them to speak out about them. But sometimes these people work their way into positions where they can do some damage.
Lynn Terhar, president of the Fairfax County Council of PTAs, said that she's satisfied with the way sexual orientation is handled in the schools and that she hasn't heard concerns from parents. "In my personal opinion, his comments strike me as those coming from a religious point of view," Terhar said. "I don't believe there is any place for that in the Fairfax County school system."

Or in Montgomery County.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Sigh ... Thanks for sharing your perspective. You do yourself no favors by twisting Mr. Hunt's words. Evidently, unless someone agrees with your opinion, they are not allowed to speak or be an "activist". How typical of those who bray loudest about tolerance - they seem to be the least tolerant of all. At least Ms. Terhar, whom you quote, was upfront about her bigoted attitude towards religion. But, as we already know, what you say won't change anybody's mind. Nor will what I say change anybody's mind. But at least a blog gives us the chance to vent!! :)

June 06, 2005 6:01 PM  

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