Monday, February 26, 2007

Doctors Regret Backing CRC

The CRC's appeal to the state school board has twelve references to a petition signed by some doctors -- the full phrase "petition signed by 273 area medical doctors" appears nine times in the main appeal document. The petition itself (we assume, it's referred to, we haven't seen the attachments) was submitted with other documents. The petition is used throughout the appeal document to bolster a number of weak points.

These signatures were gathered by Ruth Jacobs at Shady Grove Adventist Hospital.

As we reported HERE, one doctor wrote Montgomery County Public Schools to ask that her name be removed from the petition. She stated that it had been misrepresented when it was shown at the hospital, and said that the recommendation to include a statement attributed to the Surgeon General "is not supported by scientific evidence and does not belong in the curriculum."

Clearly, all is not what it seems.

A few days ago we received a comment on an older post from someone who wrote anonymously. They weren't happy, it seems, to see their name on the Internet, and to learn that they had been enlisted to support the radical agenda:
I am one of the physicians who signed the petition. When I signed I was not informed that this was a political issue, rather a medical one. My medical opinion is that anal intercourse, no matter the sexual orientation, incurs greater risk of HIV transmission than vaginal intercourse. That is why I signed the petition...

My personal opinion about most lifestyle choices and sexual orientation is totally non-judgemental. To infer that by signing the petition I or any other of my colleagues have an "anti-gay" opinion or political agenda is simply wrong.

It was not my intention, however, to get caught up in a political debate and be listed on a website and to be ridiculed as anti-gay and uninformed. I am certainly not anti-gay, nor am I pro-gay. My motivation was a true concern for the safety and well being of the children in Montgomery County Public Schools no matter what their sexual orientation may be.

It is sad that so important an issue as sexual education and sexually transmitted disease prevention has been hijacked by those with political agendas.

It seems they wanted to support the CRC without being ridiculed -- is that too much to ask? Well, yes.

Like it or not, this doctor's signature is now an important part of the anti-gay efforts of a radical group trying to undermine the local public school system. Maybe they don't want to be "ridiculed as anti-gay and uninformed," but their signature is now and forever part of the anti-gay propaganda bundle. Plus, you notice, it doesn't appear that they were very well informed when they signed this.

So, is it worse to be ridiculed for supporting the anti-gay extremists, or to let the extremists use your name to support their efforts, without ridicule?

We have fought very hard for a good, solid sex-education curriculum here in our county. The new curriculum would not be improved by adding irrelevant material where it doesn't fit. The STD lessons are a major part of the health curriculum, and in those lessons students learn about the risks of various kinds of behaviors -- nobody is suggesting that that information should not be included.

Statements about the risks of anal sex don't belong in a class about how to use a condom. You use it for certain activities, you buy a certain kind, you open it a certain way, you roll it on correctly, you do this if it breaks, you take it off like this, you dispose of it correctly. Where is it appropriate to tell them what a retired Surgeon General wrote in a magazine article more than fifteen years ago about how dangerous anal sex is? How would that make it better?

And it certainly doesn't belong in a class about sexual orientation, about who you're attracted to emotionally, socially, sexually, and about respect, empathy, and tolerance for differences. Those classes are not about sexual behaviors -- it isn't the place for a discussion of the risks of specific behaviors. Those are addressed, just not here.

The subject is appropriate in the STD section. The Surgeon General quote is ridiculous, it doesn't belong in the curriculum at all, but the topic of the risks of anal sex should come in the classes about HIV. If it's not covered there sufficiently, then the CRC should try to get a member on the citizens advisory committee for that part of the curriculum when it next comes under review. Teach about the risks in the risk unit: we support that.

I'm sorry, but I am not very sympathetic to this doctor's complaint. Shady Grove Adventist Hospital medical staff have lent the weight of their professional reputations to a bunch of bigots. Don't like it? You shouldn't have done it.

Yesterday I had a talk with another one of the doctors who signed the petition. He said he and his partners had called Dr. Jacobs and asked her to remove their names from it. It would be interesting to see if they were redacted in the exhibits given to the state, as well as the name of the one who wrote the school district. Because -- it doesn't seem quite right to submit somebody's name in a legal proceeding, saying they support your position, when they don't and have asked you not to.

I asked this doctor why he signed the petition. He was extremely apologetic. "It was irresponsible on my part," he told me. "I didn't really have time to see what it was about. I wasn't aware of her organization and what its focus was. Really, I'm behind the school system on this."

He told me he was doing his rounds at the hospital several months ago, when Dr. Jacobs asked him to sign the petition. "She has it with her all the time," he said. "I just didn't have the time to read it all. This really wasn't an appropriate venue for this sort of thing. I think it's disappointing that she used that venue."

The doctor I talked to wanted me to know that most of the physicians who signed it are "reasonable people. I would assume that a lot of people would like to have their names taken off the list. They're in the business of helping people -- this is not reflective of the medical community at all."

After talking with someone in the community who showed him his name on our web site, he checked out the CRC's materials. As he says of his colleagues, "There's no way they'd have these viewpoints."

Unfortunately, these are the busiest people in the world, they're saving lives every day. They don't have time to go looking for a way to un-sign a petition they barely remember signing in the first place. They're working with patients, and it was a dirty deal to mix them up in this.

On the other hand: it's happened already. Their names are being used in official legal proceedings to stop the implementation of a sex-ed curriculum that, if they knew what was in it, they'd support. The curriculum was developed by a team of pediatricians, and the information contained in it is consistent with mainstream medical and scientific knowledge.

Go back to the LIST OF NAMES we posted here. This isn't all of them, just the ones the CRC made public. See if your doctor is on that list, or your neighbor. Ask them why they are supporting the CRC. Ask them if they want to retract their names. They can contact us at .


Anonymous Anonymous said...

I decided to post this reply to an Anonymous questions from the Magruder thread up here since it's more of the same.

Anon asked How, ME, did Dr Jacobs' presentation constitute "pushing" an agenda? What kind of agressive things did she do that constitute "pushing"?

First let me remind everyone how Magruder's PTA meeting was originally set up.

Jacobs' personal friend is Magruder PTA president Martha Schaerr. The ONLY speaker invited to this PTA meeting to address the health education currciulum revisions was Jacobs, the CAC rep from CRC who voted against sending the CAC's recommendations to Dr. Weast's office.

Ms. Schaerr apparently felt no need to invite CAC members who support the CAC's recommendations so both views could be presented. Even worse, Ms. Schaerr apparently felt no need to invite someone from MCPS to address this topic even though a representative from Dr. Lacey's office attended this PTA meeting to address other topics. (Remember, Dr. Weast instructed Dr. Lacey, Deputy Superintendent of Schools, to oversee these curriculum revisions.)

It appears Jacobs colluded with her friend to present only one view of the curriculum revisions to the Magruder community, that is until other CAC members got wind of it and then suddently the meeting was opened up to include other views. However, there was still no one present to represent MCPS's view.

Attempted collusion with PTAs has long been a CRC tactic. MCCPTA sent a "cease and desist" letter to CRC when they illegally used PTA directories during the last field test.

Another way Jacobs' pushed her agenda at the Magruder PTA meeting was to intentionally tell half truths about the curriculum. She included only a few tidbits taken out of context from the curriculum in her presentation. For example, she said the curriculum encourages teens to self identify at an early age when in fact, the curriculum states "People can identify themselves as gay, lesbian, bisexual, or transgender at any point in their lives. Some people come out at a young age; others wait until they have been adults for many years."

Jacobs aggressively attacked the 5 revised lessons for not containing information about risks of acquiring STDs even though she knows these lessons are intended to discuss sexual orientation and to teach proper condom use.

There's a separate unit on Disease Prevention that discusses the risks of STDs. Jacobs knows about that separate unit because she was reminded about it at several CAC meetings when she brought up this issue.

Even though she knew perfectly well that the risks of STDs are covered in the Disease Prevention unit of the health curriculum, did Jacobs bother to mention that fact to any of the doctors she asked to sign her misleading petition? As we hear from more of the doctors she duped into signing it, the answers appears to be "no." I hope these doctors will let her know exactly what they think of her "tactics."


February 26, 2007 1:20 PM  
Blogger andrea said...

I pointed that out before- the big lie is a really major CRC tactic. I suppose they could just be dumb but since you point out that Ruth knows there is an extensive section on STIs- her statements are basically lies. As I like to point out(again and again), I have two kids who took the classes- and carefully read much of the text when my second child took the class two years ago. I wonder if any CRC member can say that- if they can- why the lies about STIs and lack of teaching about abstinence?

February 26, 2007 1:41 PM  

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