Thursday, September 29, 2005

Decision Time is Looming for the Board

In less than two weeks, the MCPS school board will announce the members of the new citizens committee, which will review the new sex-ed curriculum. It will be very interesting to see how it goes.

You might remember that a couple of months ago, CRC and PFOX signed an agreement with the school board. This document spells out the terms of the agreement reached between the school district and the groups who filed the suit. Most of the stuff is irrelevant or would have happened anyway. Items that we should keep an eye on include:
MCPS agrees that the newly-constituted CAC [citizens advisory committee], for the term during which the consultation on the Revisions contemplated by the Board’s May 23, 2005 resolution will occur, will include a maximum of 15 members and will include one representative of PFOX and one representative of CRC, to be selected by the Board in accordance with Section C(2)(a)(3) of Board Policy BMA, provided such representatives are Montgomery County residents and are otherwise qualified and able to serve on the committee. PFOX and CRC will inform the Board of their nominees in writing by July 1, 2005.

Nothing contained in this Agreement shall be construed to diminish or enlarge the legal right of MCPS to develop, revise or implement curriculum, including curriculum that provides information on sexual variations and promotes tolerance of others regardless of sexual orientation.

Now, you can dig into the policies and rules of the board of education, and see what that BMA stuff is about, but it's mostly just more of the same. The important part is going to be the conditions that the board established for organizations applying for representation on the committee. The statement issued by the board said:
Resolved, That the reconstituted committee shall be appointed by the Board of Education in open session, and be comprised of 15 members, all of whom shall be bona fide residents of Montgomery County, otherwise qualified to serve, and include eight members at large, one of whom shall be an MCPS high school student; and seven representatives of organizations, one of whom shall be an MCPS high school student representing the Montgomery County Region ofthe Maryland Association of Student Councils, one of whom shall be a representative of Citizens for Responsible Curriculum, and one of whom shall be a representative of Parents and Friends of Ex-Gays and Gays ...

Resolved, That members of the reconstituted committee be comprised of individuals who have not served on this committee previously, and who have applied individually or been nominated by organizations in response to the solicitation of applicants following this action; that organizations interested and designated shall submit one nominee and two alternate nominees; and that final appointment of all individuals, including organizational representatives and the committee chairperson, shall remain within the discretion of the Board, upon consultation with the superintendent ...Resolution to Reconstitute CAC

(There's some other stuff, not relevant here.)

Interestingly, in a Washington Times article from July 5th, the CRC and PFOX were complaining and threatening to sue again, over the rules. That article said, among other things:
The groups -- Parents and Friends of Ex-Gays and Gays (PFOX) and Citizens for a Responsible Curriculum (CRC) -- have each nominated one person to represent their interests on the panel.

Mmm, one person each? The rules said you had to nominate three.

The article also said:
CRC submitted the name of its nominee, Henrietta Brown, to the school board Thursday night.

Mrs. Brown, who served on the last citizens committee, would be prohibited from serving again under Mrs. O'Neil's resolution, which states that no member of the previous committee can serve on the new one.

Mmm, yes, the rules require that "the reconstituted committee be comprised of individuals who have not served on this committee previously."

That story came out on July 5th, and the deadline for following the rules was September 9th.

So, one question is: did the anti-MCPS groups eventually follow the rules? According to The Times, they had already submitted their names. Here's how that paper put it, back in July:
But the schools' attorney has told the groups that they must submit a list of three nominees, and the school board will pick whom it wants. A resolution drafted by board President Patricia O'Neil, a Democrat, and scheduled for a vote tomorrow includes the provision.

PFOX and CRC are threatening to go back to court, after having signed an agreement with schools officials last week that ended the groups' previous lawsuit against the school system and guaranteed them two seats on the 15-member panel. Such a move could further delay the creation and implementation of the county's sex-education course.

I haven't heard any more about this, whether they conformed to the rules, whether they still intend to sue, so I can only speculate. Let's say, they followed the rules: fine, we'll start the process.

Let's say they didn't follow the rules: uh-oh.

I'm no legal-eagle, but I suppose it's possible that, if CRC and PFOX refuse to follow the rules, as they imply in the Times story, the school board, hoping to avoid more expensive and time-wasting legal wrangling, just might put the two groups' nominees on the committee anyway. Just being nice, you might say.

Let me point out what that does. First of all, groups like us, who followed the rules and submitted three names, will have been played for suckers. That's three good, qualified people who could have applied independently, and three of our members could have applied to be on the committee. But we played fair, so we get short-changed. And the reverse holds for CRC and PFOX -- because they only submitted one name each, they can run two more stealth candidates -- and we know they're doing that, because one of them admitted it in a letter that became public. So breaking the rules is rewarded, following them is punished, if the board allows this violation.

It is possible that the anti-gay groups did not follow the rules, and the board decides to play hardball with them. If that happens, I say: good. Spoiled babies don't need any more candy.

But it comes to that, you just pray that the school district has retained some wide-awake lawyers, and not the Mayberry front-porch-snoozers that defended them last time. Look, if I can see this coming, then they should -- one of the core members of the radical groups is a lawyer, the first thing they thought of when they started the group was suing, they love to file suits. --Remember when they even threatened to sue one of our members for comments on a Yahoo group?

It don't take no Einstein to figure out that they'd sue again in a heartbeat. Since they won't get their way by argument alone, with their crazy anti-science, anti-gay, anti-safe-sex viewpoint, they would be just as happy tying this whole thing up in courts, wasting the taxpayers' money, depriving our kids of the education they deserve.

So, hey you lawyers, be ready this time, OK?


Blogger Kay2898 said...

Money on shortly before October 11 and of course immediately after we will have Recall/CRC and buddies PFOX crying to press about their unfair treatment if they chose to not comply with rules set up for EVERYONE applying to CAC and BOE is MAKING THEM SUE.

Now of course if they pull the end run around the rules..... everyone else should be SHOUTING to the press and BOE that those two groups think they do not have to follow any rules but everyone else does and BOE allowed it.

September 29, 2005 1:05 PM  
Blogger andrea said...

We know they will sue over something - because they don't care about our kids or our schools. Just push the hate agenda and then sue when no one wants to buy.


September 29, 2005 1:47 PM  
Blogger Kay2898 said...

Well you know when they sue
they makes us all buy their hate whether we want to or not and take school money away from our children

September 29, 2005 3:03 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I bet the Board is being very
careful to balance the CAC to
reflect the political mix here in
Montgomery County. We can be
pretty sure they do not want to
leave any opening for the *lawsuit
nuts* to claim discrimination.
Since the 2004 election showed
Montgomery County has two
progressive voters for every
conservative voter, that should
mean that for every homophobe put
on the committee, two rational and
tolerant folks will get a seat.


October 01, 2005 9:24 AM  

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