Thursday, January 18, 2007

Luckily He's Wrong

The Gazette has a video online, an interview with MCPS Superintendent Jerry Weast, whose job is up for renewal. They cover a lot of ground, but of course I'm going to focus on his comments about the sex-ed curriculum. Here's that part of the transcript for you:
INTERVIEWER: Are you confident that the sex-ed plan that was approved yesterday will stand up when it's challenged in court again?
WEAST: Uh, actually, I am. I think it's a fair plan, I actually read every line, not that I'm an expert, but I think people will, well, some thought it wasn't enough explanation, many others thought it was too much, which is probably a good balanced approach. There's two lessons in the eighth grade, they're very respectful and those kind of things. At the tenth grade there is the, uh, sexual orientation part of it, but it's about disease --
INTERVIEWER: Yeah
WEAST: and it's about disease prevention, that's why there's a condom video there.
INTERVIEWER: What are the options for opting in or for opting out?
WEAST: Well, you have to opt in, I mean, that's the good news.
INTERVIEWER: That means that parents have to ...
WEAST: -- have to sign something to get in. And if you don't, we have a series of lessons about smoking cessation and, you know, eating healthy and things like that that you can, that you would get, if you don't opt in.

OK, look, there's a lot of politics involved in running a big school district like ours. Weast's position is never really secure, there's constant dynamic tension between him and the board, and basically that's the way it ought to be. I'm not going to plop down on one side or the other -- I think you'll find that TeachTheFacts folks disagree with Weast and the board as much as we agree with them, depending on the topic. So we're not here to support any person or tear them down, we just want to see a good comprehensive, inclusive, fair and accurate sex-ed program in the public schools.

Weast says he read every line of it. He didn't have to say that. Because, let's just say, if he read every line, he sure forgot a lot of it.

The tenth-grade sexual orientation lessons are not about disease. The idea is absurd. They're about sexual orientation, which has nothing to do with disease. This is really disappointing, that the guy who's office was in charge of developing the whole curriculum would have such a terrible misunderstanding of what it's about.

The anti-MCPS group Citizens for a Responsible Curriculum wanted it to be about disease. They would love for students to learn that being gay is a disease, that gay people carry disease, that they spread disease. The CRC wanted the sexual orientation section to be about AIDS and, especially, they wanted to talk about anal sex, they want people to think that being gay is just about anal sex and deadly viruses.

Neither the Superintendent's own staff who developed the curriculum nor the citizens advisory committee that reviewed it would allow the sexual orientation sections to be hijacked by this kind of stereotyping and ugliness. The sections are about sexual orientation itself, about feelings, about romantic attraction and emotional attachments, about being a gay person. There is nothing about any disease in there.

For the Superintendent to spread this misconception is simply unbelievable.

Dr. Weast is known to be a politally savvy figure, and we may attribute his ... misrepresentation ... here to another misstatement in this short recording. He said, "Some thought it wasn't enough explanation, many others thought it was too much, which is probably a good balanced approach."

When he started that sentence, I figured he was talking about the citizen committee's desire to include the statements of the American Medical Association, the American Psychological Association, and the American Academy of Pediatrics, which Weast's staff and the school board both decided to exclude, at least for now. So, yes, "Some thought it wasn't enough explanation." That would be me, and almost all the members of the committee that reviewed the curricula.

But then, "Many others thought it was too much?" How many? Ten? Fifteen people in our sprawling, diverse, suburban county? Apparently Dr. Weast monitors the noise level and not the source of complaints. The truth is, very few members of our community think this went too far. Basically, the handful of suers who couldn't stand the last proposed curriculum are mad because this one goes further, is more sympathetic to gays, than the one they sued over. It seems pretty clear, those litigious whiners are not going to be happy with anything short of a curriculum that describes homosexuality as a disease.

20 Comments:

Anonymous Tish said...

According to my notes from the BOE meeting,when the proposed revisions were presented to the board, Betsy Brown explained that the 8th grade and 10th grade classes, Respect For Differences in Human Sexuality, would be taught at the beginning of the Family Life and Human Sexuality units. The condom demonstration class would be taught at the end of the 10th grade FLHS unit. Her reason was that the condom demonstration would bridge the FLHS units and the Disease Control and Prevention unit which immediately follows it.

Perhaps Weast became confused about the placement of the Respect classes because of the placement of the condom class.

Or perhaps he just isn't paying attention. With Weast it could go either way.

January 18, 2007 10:23 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"They would love for students to learn that being gay is a disease,"

I don't recall anyone ever suggesting that this be taught. The complaint is that it's opposite can't determined scientifically, being a value judgment, and shouldn't be taught. Responsible citizens believe the schools shouldn't bring the subject up unless they said people have differing opinions.

That's what Fairfax County, the county to the south with a better academic record, teaches.

"that gay people carry disease, that they spread disease."

Now, we're talking facts. These things should be taught to the students. TTF's position is irresponsible and will result in harm to some students.

January 18, 2007 12:09 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"Apparently Dr. Weast monitors the noise level and not the source of complaints. The truth is, very few members of our community think this went too far."

Dream on, buddy. The Super has a better idea of the community values than the downcounty wackos you hang with.

January 18, 2007 12:11 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Straight people carry and spread disease, and they drive up the unplanned pregnancy numbers too.

If you prefer Fairfax schooling so much, why don't you move there? Maybe you can get some faith-based federal money like Orin got to help you afford the move.

January 18, 2007 3:27 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I was born here. The wackos are carpetbaggers.

The government should buy 'em a ticket to France.

January 18, 2007 3:38 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"Straight people carry and spread disease,"

not at anywhere near the rate

gays in America are responsible for the AIDS epidemic

"and they drive up the unplanned pregnancy numbers too."

I knew it would come to this. Now, TTF wants to use homosexuality as a contraceptive method. Yikes, they really want to lose.

January 18, 2007 3:41 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Would that be a ticket to "old France?"

January 18, 2007 4:47 PM  
Blogger Randi Schimnosky said...

Jim said "They would love for students to learn that being gay is a disease,"

Anonymous said "I don't recall anyone ever suggesting that this be taught. The complaint is that it's opposite can't determined scientifically, being a value judgment".

Wrong again anonymous. Dozens of studies have shown that gays are indistinguishable from heterosexuals in common measures of mental health. Diseases aren't value judgments, either something interferes with day to day living or it doesn't - being gay doesn't.

January 18, 2007 5:28 PM  
Blogger Dana Beyer, M.D. said...

Jim,

Just reading the transcript, it seems he simply juxtaposed too abruptly the response to sexual orientation and then the condom lesson.

January 18, 2007 8:40 PM  
Blogger JimK said...

Dana

I just looked at that part again. There are edits in the video, but not there. He says the 10th grade sexual orientation part is about disease, all in one smooth sentence.

So if he "juxtaposed," it was his brain juxtaposing, and not a skip in the video.

JimK

January 18, 2007 8:49 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"Diseases aren't value judgments, either something interferes with day to day living or it doesn't - being gay doesn't."

What constitutes "day to day living" is a value judgment. Most people without an agenda agree it involves more than breathing.

Gays are impaired in their ability to function normally in sexual behaviour. Some consider that a mental disability.

Nuthouses are filled with people who think they are something they're not but who can still get up and make toast for breakfast.

January 18, 2007 8:50 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"I just looked at that part again. There are edits in the video, but not there. He says the 10th grade sexual orientation part is about disease, all in one smooth sentence."

He was just reflecting the common view among those who live in his county.

That's why it's in health class!

Duh!

January 18, 2007 8:52 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"either something interferes with day to day living or it doesn't - being gay doesn't"

Your behavior here doesn't make your point, randy.

January 18, 2007 8:54 PM  
Blogger Dana Beyer, M.D. said...

Anon,

I would guess that you fail to function "normally" in your sexual behavior as well, based on your comments here. Which would make you mentally disabled according to yourself. But we'll just never know, will we?

January 18, 2007 11:13 PM  
Blogger andrear said...

Anon- If you think Weast represents anything besides his overpaid position, you are as foolish as you always seem. He changes his words daily. I suggest Fairfax isn't for you- move to Western Maryland or Southern VA. Or even Carroll County- the super there is right up your alley- he banned a number of books from schools last year. Just move on up a little further from MC- and you are there.

January 19, 2007 10:31 AM  
Blogger Randi Schimnosky said...

Anonymous said "Gays are impaired in their ability to function normally in sexual behaviour. Some consider that a mental disability.".

Wrong. Being gay is normal for a minority of the population. Gays funtion normally in their sexual behavior. No major medical or mental health organization considers being gay a disease. Only bigots think its a mental disability. To put it in the words of the APA "A psychological condition is considered a mental disorder only if it causes distress or disability". Being gay causes neither. The only distress gays experience is due to the bigoted oppression of hateful society, not to being gay. In study after study gays cannot be differentiated from straights in common measures of mental health.

I said ""either something interferes with day to day living or it doesn't - being gay doesn't"

Anonymous said "Your behavior here doesn't make your point, randy.".

You're a fine one to to talk. You're obsessed with gays, you frequently post here after a drinking binge at the bar in a failed attempt to drown your sorrows due to internalized homophobia. Clearly you're suffering from societal antagonization more than I am - I'm not an alcoholic, I don't drink at all. I'm here to counter the hatred of people like you, you're here spreading hatred against others and yourself.

January 19, 2007 1:51 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"You're a fine one to to talk. You're obsessed with gays, you frequently post here after a drinking binge at the bar in a failed attempt to drown your sorrows due to internalized homophobia. Clearly you're suffering from societal antagonization more than I am - I'm not an alcoholic, I don't drink at all. I'm here to counter the hatred of people like you, you're here spreading hatred against others and yourself."

I get the sense you've been offended you in some way, Randi.

Have you sen any specialists about controlling your anger?

January 20, 2007 9:43 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

In this thread alone, you are the one who has expressed anger at

"downcounty wackos" and "gays in America"

You believe that

"The wackos are carpetbaggers."

You are so angry at that supposed fact that you believe

"The government should buy 'em a ticket to France."

And in spite of the fact that the AMA, both APAs, the AAP, the ACA, etc, all agree that gays and lesbians are not diseased and are not suffering from a mental "disability," you insist on repeating the lie:

"Gays are impaired in their ability to function normally in sexual behaviour...a mental disability."

Randi and the other commenters here have been very patient, repeatedly responding to the same lies, insults, and spin, you repeat over and over. Your anger at the world for not believing as you do is plainly evident for all to read.

January 20, 2007 11:13 AM  
Blogger Randi Schimnosky said...

Anonymous said "Have you sen any specialists about controlling your anger?".

Have you seen any specialists about your internalized homophobia? You did more or less admit you were gay.

January 21, 2007 2:56 PM  
Anonymous Phentermine said...

Nice design of blog.

August 13, 2007 3:39 PM  

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