Tuesday, October 31, 2006

What's Happening with MCPS Counselors?

It's time to get some facts in this case. From Mongomery Blair's great online newspaper, the Silver Chips:
Group claims MCPS promotes bias in counseling materials about homosexuality
New policy restricts distribution of written materials without county approval

Sarah Kinter, Page Editor
10/24/2006

Last June, the Virginia-based Parents and Friends of Ex-Gays and Gays (PFOX) submitted a statement to the MCPS Board of Education and Superintendent Jerry Weast claiming that, in May, a parent had received information from a school counselor that promoted a single viewpoint on homosexuality.

In response, MCPS Associate Superintendent Carey Wright called separate meetings in mid-September for all high school counselors and school psychologists to discuss a new directive prohibiting the distribution of written materials without prior county approval.

Blair's Gay-Straight Alliance (GSA) sent a letter to Deputy Superintendent Frieda Lacey expressing their concerns that the policy would compromise an important outlet of support for gay students. They have not received a reply. Lacey was unavailable for comment.

Principal Phillip Gainous said that he does not support the policy since it could restrict counselors' ability to help students who are struggling with their sexual identity. He extended his support to the GSA in their efforts to protest the new regulations. "The counselors of all people need to be in a position to offer guidance and advice to students," he said.

We heard about this a couple of weeks ago, and went to the Director of the Public Information Office for Montgomery County Public Schools. He assured us that it was no big deal, just a rule that counselors could only hand out authorized materials.

That doesn't sound too bad, but then you want to know, who does the authorizing? What are the criteria? What materials have been, and haven't been, authorized?

PFOX is complaining that "a parent had received information from a school counselor that promoted a single viewpoint on homosexuality." Well, so what? The counseling service should present the viewpoint endorsed by all the mainstsream psychological and medical organizations in the country. The counseling service should help a student who needs help.

And, we have a quesion: did this parent A. really have a gay child, or B. were they lying?

My money's on B.

Look, it would be ridiculous to present "both sides" of everything. Does the school nurse have to hand out brochures encouraging kids to drink booze and smoke pot, to balance out the other stuff they offer? Should health classes give equal time to the viewpoint that you don't need physical exercise, and junk food is good for you? Of course not. And neither should schools be promoting therapy to change somebody's sexual orientation.

A kid goes to the counselor, he thinks he might be gay, maybe some kids are teasing him about it. These counselors are mostly there to help students get ready for college or whatever, they aren't necessarily highly-trained psychotherapists. So what are they supposed to do?

The fact is, there are a number of organizations that are producing very good information and support for gay students. Schools should take advantage of this fact. Gay students can learn who to contact, they can learn that they are not alone, they can get some ideas about how to deal with this situation.

Now, PFOX is trying to imply something here. When they say the school "promoted a single viewpoint" they are trying to get the attention of MCPS lawyers. In his ruling about the sex-ed curriculum last year, Judge Williams implied that there was an issue of "viewpoint discrimination" if schools taught that homosexuality was moral and only mentioned religions that approved of it. Other legal rulings make it extremely clear that school curricula are not a public forum, and thus are not obligated to present both sides of anything, but this is still a threat that someone like PFOX can threaten the schools with.

I don't know where that leaves the counseling office, this might be a legal gray area; counseling is is not part of the curriculum, but then, I wouldn't think that privileged conversation between a student and a counselor would be regarded as a "public forum," either. It would be sad if an anti-gay group like PFOX is going to be able to intimidate the school district into providing hate literature in the counseling office, but it sounds like that's where they want to take this.

So far, it sounds like the school district is just going to squeeze its eyes shut and hope the whole thing goes away.

I hope they realize that failing to provide assistance to gay students is ... failure. They might need to take a couple of weeks to study the situation and decide how to go forward, but they need to make the right decision here. It is not acceptable to provide students with false and hateful messages, telling them they can and should "change" their sexual orientation. And ... MCPS must know that the other side has lawyers too, the gay activists are not likely at all to ignore this kind of personal undermining of students who need help.

It is important that the counseling office be able to provide the correct message to gay students. There's nothing wrong with you, lots and lots of people feel the way you do, you can learn to live happily and have a full life of love. It's the right thing, and it's the professional standard.

I will be interested to hear from more knowledgeable legal-eagles, what the legal responsibilities are for a public school counseling office. Are they allowed to counsel, according to accepted professional practice? Or do they have to cater to the nuts?

32 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

There's a great deal of bias in this post. Suffice to say, it is not the school's place to counsel kids on anything other their academic situation. For example, PFOX protests handing out erroneous information and Jimbo makes the leap to say they're trying to hand out "hateful" information. Actually, it's kind of hateful to tell the kid he has no hope.

If a kid comes in and says he's "struggling with his sexual identity", the school should tell him that kind of advice is not what they are there for and refer the matter to his parents.

October 31, 2006 1:37 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Anonymous said:
"If a kid comes in and says he's "struggling with his sexual identity", the school should tell him that kind of advice is not what they are there for and refer the matter to his parents."

What if the kid isn't comfortable talking about it with his parents?

October 31, 2006 4:35 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

He, no doubt, wouldn't be. The parents, however, can direct him to the appropriate person. The public schools have enough problems they can't figure out before they qualify to act as the great national parent. With the influence of the lunatic fringe gay advocacy groups, the only thing that would happen is the public schools would tell the kid he was born that way and will always be that way. Great message.

October 31, 2006 7:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Anonymous said:
"He, no doubt, wouldn't be. The parents, however, can direct him to the appropriate person."

You're missing the point: he wouldn't even want his parents to be aware of that aspect of him, let alone want their help with it.

What makes you think parents are better suited than high school counsellors when it comes to choosing an appropriate person to whom students should be directed? You're merely projecting your idealised theory onto a real-life scenario, which is just an overwhelming and dangerous stupidity. You truly have no idea of what's below the surface of the pretty messages and smiling faces.

K.A.

October 31, 2006 8:48 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"What makes you think parents are better suited than high school counsellors when it comes to choosing an appropriate person to whom students should be directed?"

Because they know him better, have a greater concern and have a more concentrated focus. Family is always superior to village and virtually anything is better than government, subject, as its policies are, to the caprices of political pressure.

I didn't miss any point. Obviously, he doesn't want the parents aware. But of he's gotten to the point where he's discussing it with others, they need to become aware of it. That would be in the kid's best interests. He's getting into something that could lead to very serious consequences.

October 31, 2006 9:17 PM  
Blogger Randi Schimnosky said...

Anonymous at October 31, 2006 9:17 PM

Gay children need a safe place to talk about their problems with a frequently oppressive world. As a large percentage of the population is anti-gay there is good reason to believe that parents may not be the best people to reveal a same sex orientation to. Parents sometimes lose control of their tempers when a child tells them he's gay. Its not uncommon for them to throw a gay child out of the house to fend for himself on the streets or even beat the child. That's not the superior option. A large percentage of homeless chilren are gays who've been disowned by their parents.

Its best to have a properly trained school counsellors a gay child can turn to, someone that can be trusted to be non-judgmental where the child doesn't risk home and health with this revelation. These children need a place to go where they are certain they'll be accepted for who they are without being judged and condemned.

The last thing a same sex attracted child needs is the unrealistic idea that same sex attractions can be changed into opposite sex attractions to avoid societal disapproval from people like you. Parents might mistakenly think quack religious "conversion therapy" is a good idea when all the evidence suggests it will fail. The major mental health organizations have warned against such procedures as potentially harmful while having little or no chance for change.

A gay child is more likely to lead a happy and productive life if he learns to positively accept himself instead of internalizing societal homophobia which may cause self-destructive behavior. The last thing a gay child needs is someone like you telling them they can't be happy, safe, and find a committed loving supportive same sex relationship.

October 31, 2006 11:26 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

anonymous said,Family is always superior to village


The why is the "CRC village and PFOX village" trying to dictate to other parents(family) what to do in school sex education for their children and what those parents want the school to teach in a comprehensive program? Looks like the "CRC village and PFOX village" feel superior to family.


Ted

November 01, 2006 1:38 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Anonymous said:
"Because they know him better, have a greater concern and have a more concentrated focus. Family is always superior to village and virtually anything is better than government, subject, as its policies are, to the caprices of political pressure."

So you think parents are always the best choice? Tell that to the children who've been disowned and thrown out of their homes. Like I said, you're simply projecting your idealised theory onto real-world scenarios, and the consequences are dire. Real lives are being affected here. Do you think the counsellors encourage promiscuity? You're truly clueless.

Anonymous said:
"I didn't miss any point. Obviously, he doesn't want the parents aware. But of he's gotten to the point where he's discussing it with others, they need to become aware of it. That would be in the kid's best interests. He's getting into something that could lead to very serious consequences."

Why do parents need to become aware of it? If he's gotten to the point where he's discussing it with others, it doesn't necessarily mean he's ready to talk to his parents. Parents are commonly not the best choice to turn to due to their unfamiliarity with the subject, so they don't actually know what's best for their child, and they can let their personal connection affect their judgement (e.g. disownment).

K.A.

November 01, 2006 8:26 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"The why is the "CRC village and PFOX village" trying to dictate to other parents(family) what to do in school sex education for their children and what those parents want the school to teach in a comprehensive program? Looks like the "CRC village and PFOX village" feel superior to family."

I think you skipped a page, Ted. CRC and PFOX would be perfectly happy if the schools would get out of this personal area altogether. Instead the schools appointed a advocate of the gay agenda to write a curriculum, telling everyone what their kids should be taught. CRC and PFOX successfully ended that intrusion but TTF again has ideas what other people's kids should be taught and wants the government to make it happen.

November 01, 2006 8:46 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"So you think parents are always the best choice? Tell that to the children who've been disowned and thrown out of their homes."

Well, obviously, if they're orphaned or disowned, that's another matter. They then have become wards of the state. Just as obviously, this is not the default situation around which you design public policy. In a fact little known to liberals, all children are not wards of the state.

November 01, 2006 8:53 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"Why do parents need to become aware of it?"

Because, in our society, until he's 18, the parents are stewards of his welfare and resposible for it.

"If he's gotten to the point where he's discussing it with others, it doesn't necessarily mean he's ready to talk to his parents. Parents are commonly not the best choice to turn to due to their unfamiliarity with the subject, so they don't actually know what's best for their child,"

They know what they know. They are best able to decide what the best course of action is and whether professional help is needed and what kind.

"and they can let their personal connection affect their judgement."

Same goes for everyone. Public schools are full of agendas, self-interests, favortism and all kinds of intrigue. The kid is much more likely to find a concerned party at home.

November 01, 2006 9:02 AM  
Blogger andrear said...

Well, some kids know if they tell their parents some things- they will be beaten or kicked out or hated. Certainly, if my kid thought that wretched "hate the sin, not the sinner" applied to our family, she wouldn't talk to me about anything.
Schools do things that are outside academic issues. Einstein HS had(maybe still has) a weekly program for girls with babies- guess parents are not doing their jobs there. My daughter was waiting to talk about her college application with the counseling office when a girl came in who wanted to talk about insurance for her baby. Guess her parents weren't there for her, huh?

November 01, 2006 9:31 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"CRC and PFOX would be perfectly happy if the schools would get out of this personal area altogether."

That's a lie. The CRC's public position is that they support the existing medically inaccurate health curriculum for MCPS.

November 01, 2006 10:22 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

anonymous said,Instead the schools appointed a advocate of the gay agenda to write a curriculum


Lie again anon we all know how many people were on that former CAC. Far more than what is on there now.Who do we have
to thank for that? CRC and PFOX


As for the lie you told in writing the former curriculum:

"The writing committee consisted of 10 people, including two MCPS health education teachers, an MCPS school psychologist, two MCPS school counselors, a school community health nurse, a representative of the Montgomery County Mental Health
Association, the MCPS coordinator of health education, and two members of the Citizens’
Advisory Committee designated by the committee chair, David Fishback. Those two
members were Henrietta Brown and Sheron Rosen. When Ms. Rosen found that other commitments precluded her from attending all the meetings, it was agreed that she and Mr.Fishback would work in tandem on the writing committee.

Source: http://www.montgomeryschoolsmd.org/boe/meetings/minutes/2004/110904.pdf


Ted

November 01, 2006 11:44 AM  
Blogger Randi Schimnosky said...

Anonymous at November 01, 2006 9:02 AM said "They know what they know. [Parents] are best able to decide what the best course of action is and whether professional help is needed and what kind."

Anonymous, you're completely wrong about this. Parents are untrained and uneducated in this area, they are not professional counselors so they aren't best able to decide on action and professional help. School counselors are trained and educated, they are professionals and can be better placed to make non-judgmental decisions that don't result in violence or children being disowned. Its risky and unwise for a child to reveal to his parents he or she's gay until after they've left home.

November 01, 2006 12:39 PM  
Blogger Randi Schimnosky said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

November 01, 2006 1:02 PM  
Blogger Randi Schimnosky said...

Anonymous at November 01, 2006 8:53 said:

""So you think parents are always the best choice? Tell that to the children who've been disowned and thrown out of their homes."

Well, obviously, if they're orphaned or disowned, that's another matter. They then have become wards of the state. Just as obviously, this is not the default situation around which you design public policy.


Anonymous that was an absurd response. You make public policy around the situation you find occurring, you don't just pretend its not happening. I.E. murder isn't the default situation when people interact but we have to make public policy around what to do when it does occur.

November 01, 2006 1:05 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Anonymous said:
"Well, obviously, if they're orphaned or disowned, that's another matter."

*sigh*
Child: "Dad, I think I might be gay."
Dad: "You're no longer my son. Get Out."

Was that really the best course of action for the child? And yes, this does happen. Children raised in households with a negative attitude towards homosexuality are in very difficult positions.

Anonymous said:
"Because, in our society, until he's 18, the parents are stewards of his welfare and resposible for it."

You're not getting it are you? Since when does that require kids to tell their parents everything? As much as you dislike this fact, parents are not always the best carers for their children, especially when it comes to issues beyond their knowledge and understanding. Giving children ill-informed help is NOT in their best interests.

Anonymous said:
"They know what they know. They are best able to decide what the best course of action is and whether professional help is needed and what kind."

Laughable. More illogical junk from you. They know what they know, yes, and often that's not a lot. Somehow, you then conclude that they're best able to decide the best course of action? How can they possibly help if they don't even understand what they're dealing with?

If a child had gay parents, then it's quite a different story.

Anonymous said:
"Same goes for everyone. Public schools are full of agendas, self-interests, favortism and all kinds of intrigue. The kid is much more likely to find a concerned party at home."

Public schools are ultimately controlled by the government, and they have policies to abide by, and counsellors have codes of practice to follow. Counsellors also lack any deep personal connection with their clients (unlike parents with their children), and they're qualified to give informed advice (unlike most parents) without having personal feelings affect their judgement (unlike parents).

K.A.

November 01, 2006 1:50 PM  
Anonymous Warning, facts ahead said...

"CRC and PFOX would be perfectly happy if the schools would get out of this personal area altogether."

That's a lie. The CRC's public position is that they support the existing medically inaccurate health curriculum for MCPS.


Yes, it is a lie that CRC wants schools to "get out of this personal area altogether."

Here's what the CRC spokesperson had to say about the CRC's support for the existing out-of-date sex education curriculum that is still in use in MCPS today thanks to their lawsuit:

"The thing that we were most concerned about was that we were totally caught off guard that they were changing a sex education program [he said with a straight face even though Michelle Turner and Henrietta Brown served on the committee that was "changing" the sex education program] that we take a great deal of pride in. We think that the current curriculum is absolutely part of one of the best in the country."

http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,155631,00.html

November 01, 2006 2:00 PM  
Anonymous David S. Fishback said...

Per the last post, I would note further that Michelle told me, when we were on the CAC together, that she never let any of her children take what CRC (of which she is president) later said is "absolutely part of one of the best [curricula) in the country."

November 01, 2006 2:53 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"Per the last post, I would note further that Michelle told me, when we were on the CAC together, that she never let any of her children take what CRC (of which she is president) later said is "absolutely part of one of the best [curricula) in the country"

So, David, when I said that the CRC would prefer that the schools stay out of this area, I was correct and not lying, as your rather rabid friends have been asserting.

November 01, 2006 10:43 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"We think that the current curriculum is absolutely part of one of the best in the country."

That just means if you must have this invasion of privacy, the current MCPS curriculum is the best you could do.

November 01, 2006 10:44 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

anonymous said So, David, when I said that the CRC would prefer that the schools stay out of this area, I was correct and not lying, as your rather rabid friends have been asserting.

No CRC and company thought old curriculum was just fine and it needed no changes when they started whining about new proposed.

Henrietta Brown and Michelle Turner along with Steve Fisher and John Garza and others in CRC said it over and over.

Ted

November 01, 2006 11:43 PM  
Anonymous David S. Fishback said...

The last couple of posts simply illustrate the hypocrisy and deceit of the CRC. Privately, they do not want their children to have any sexuality education. But then, in an effort to sound moderate in moderately liberal Montgomery County, they assert that the existing curriculum they found abhorrent for their children is actually just wonderful.

November 02, 2006 10:31 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hypocrisy and deceipt. There's a lot of that among homophobes.

Reverend Ted Haggard (National Association of Evangelicals and New Life Church)

Representative Mark Foley (R - Fl)

Michael Johnston (Kerusso Ministries)

John Paulk (Exodus International)

Each of these people, just like suers of MCPS and no doubt even more, say one thing in public and do another in private.

Shame on every one of them. They are despicable.

Daisy

November 03, 2006 10:35 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"The last couple of posts simply illustrate the hypocrisy and deceit of the CRC. Privately, they do not want their children to have any sexuality education. But then, in an effort to sound moderate in moderately liberal Montgomery County, they assert that the existing curriculum they found abhorrent for their children is actually just wonderful."

Did it ever occur to you, David, that they are simply acknowledging that some sex ed curriculm is inevitable and that the current one is what they prefer IF there has to be one? Anything wrong with that position?

November 04, 2006 5:17 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"Hypocrisy and deceipt. There's a lot of that among homophobes.

Reverend Ted Haggard (National Association of Evangelicals and New Life Church)

Representative Mark Foley (R - Fl)

Michael Johnston (Kerusso Ministries)

John Paulk (Exodus International)

Each of these people, just like suers of MCPS and no doubt even more, say one thing in public and do another in private.

Shame on every one of them. They are despicable."

Oh, really? I think hypocrisy is equal opportunity. I bet it wouldn't be hard at all, for example, to find people voting for gay rights who make derogatory jokes about gays and who would disown their own kids if they came out. What do you think?

On the other hand, I know plenty of people who would not support the redefinition of marriage or extension of discrimination laws to gays but would never deride someone else based on their sexual attractions and would unconditionally love their kids no matter what they do.

Daisy the Dumb is emblematic of the simple-mindedness of the lunatic fringe gay advocacy movement.

November 04, 2006 5:25 PM  
Blogger Randi Schimnosky said...

Anonymous at November 04, 2006 5:25 PM said "I bet it wouldn't be hard at all, for example, to find people voting for gay rights who make derogatory jokes about gays and who would disown their own kids if they came out. What do you think?"

Well, give us an example of that then, if its so easy - I think you can't.

Anonymous then said "I know plenty of people who would not support the redefinition of marriage or extension of discrimination laws to gays but would never deride someone else based on their sexual attractions".

Anonymous, I guess you wouldn't be one of those people as in your next line you called gay advocates dumb, simple minded and lunatics. Yeah, you anti-gay marriage, pro-discrimination types are real nice and respectful.

November 04, 2006 6:06 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Oh, Randi. I said not a word about gays but was rather harsh about gay advocacy types. Not one and the same.

Actually, you may not have been reading this long but go back to the beginning of this blog and read some of the history. TTF started the name calling long before anyone else did. Should we say Jim hates families because he routinely calls family advocacy groups "nuts"?

November 05, 2006 1:25 AM  
Blogger Randi Schimnosky said...

Anonymous at November 05, 2006 1:25 AM

Gay advocacy types usually are gays so for you to call one names is to call the other names.

The so called "family" advocacy groups are not made up of complete families but rather individuals who have no honest claim to representing everyone in their family. Contrary to the disingenous "family" code word, they don't advocate for families anyway, but rather advocate gay oppression. Its fair to call "nuts" those who would use the law to punish gays who harm no one.

November 05, 2006 11:35 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Anon said "Oh, really? I think hypocrisy is equal opportunity. I bet it wouldn't be hard at all, for example, to find people voting for gay rights who make derogatory jokes about gays and who would disown their own kids if they came out. What do you think?"

I think that your bluff has been called by Randi (thank you, Randi) but then I'm just "Daisy the Dumb" so what does it matter what I think? I also think you should provide some examples of gay rights advocates who disown their own gay kids or admit you are LYING.

This is just what the family blah blah groups try to do to gays. They call gays all sorts of names like "deviants" "perverts" and make up lies about how they behave just like Anon is doing to me and other equal rights advocates just because we disagree with him. And he's doing it in an attempt to interfere with people hearing what rational folks have to say. INFLAME -- wasn't that the word that "Recall Administrator" used when discussing CRC tactics?

Shame on you too Anon.

Daisy

November 05, 2006 12:18 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I loved as much as you will receive carried out right here.

The sketch is tasteful, your authored subject matter stylish.
nonetheless, you command get got an nervousness over that you wish be delivering the following.

unwell unquestionably come further formerly again as exactly the same nearly a lot often inside case you shield this
increase.

Here is my site :: Paddy o'Brian - ,

April 17, 2014 8:46 AM  

Post a Comment

<< Home