Thursday, June 21, 2007

The Thing About the KKK

OK, I was wrong, sort of. An MCPS schoolteacher did say something about the KKK in an email.

To recap: yesterday the Citizens for a Responsible Curriculum filed an appeal with the state school board to stop the implementation of the new sex-ed curriculum. This paragraph appears near the end of their complaint to the board:
In the Order of the Superintendent, the State Superintendent cites the proposed curriculum's attempt to address harassment problems relating to sexual orientation and gender identity. In subsequent submissions filed before this Board, Appellants have documented how the curriculum fails to provide instruction on tolerance and acceptance of the only sexual orientation/gender identity group that is actually the object of derision and rejection by the Montgomery County public school system staff and students, which Appellees do not deny. Appellants attach as exhibits further documentation of this failure of the curriculum. Attached are even more correspondence from another Montgomery County school teacher that misrepresents the mission of Appellants, stereotypes former homosexuals, compares ex-gays to the KKK, and warns the ex-gay community to stay out of Montgomery County public schools.

Hence, the proposed curriculum fails to satisfy the concerns of the Order of the Superintendent and should not have been approved as a final curriculum by the Montgomery County Board of Education.

I searched the CRC's web site and couldn't find any mention of the KKK or the Klan, and I figured they were just lying again. But the person who wrote the letter identified himself in yesterday's comments on this blog, and showed me where to find the letter in question.

The email was sent to the CRC, but is posted on the PFOX web site. That's why I couldn't find it.

Here's what the teacher actually said:
To: <>
Date: Fri, 1 Jun 2007 16:48:05 +0000

Yes, it is called Freedom of Speech unless it is hate-based and you people are sadly full of only that, hate.

You say we are not being "tolerant" of ex-gays... and PFOX says it is not anti-gay...yet you people seem to HATE anything and everything that has to do with the way God wanted gay people.


You people are like the KKK but only in the form of should be ashamed of yourselves! Only God has the right to judge others, not other people.

Now, I can't say that's a great letter. You should see the stuff we get -- whatever, we don't put it on the Internet, at least. The guy's blowing off a little steam.

Anyway, the CRC told the state Board of Education that this letter:
compares ex-gays to the KKK

Do you get that? Is there some reason to think that the phrase "you people" refers to "ex-gays?" No, the acronym "KKK" does appear in the email, but there's no reason to think it refers to "ex-gays." Again, it's apparently a reference to PFOX, which is Parents and Friends of "ex-gays." I don't think there are any "ex-gays" in PFOX, are there? If there are, they are clearly not who this letter was referring to.

I can't imagine why an email from a Spanish teacher would be the cornerstone of the CRC/PFOX/Family Blah Blah appeal to the state. But, just for the record, let me put some context around this.

There was a strange event at Thomas S. Wootton High School in early May or late April, which I just barely mentioned in a post HERE. Didn't want to make a big deal out of it, but it did deserve mentioning.

PFLAG -- Parents and Friends of Lesbians and Gays -- is a group that promotes actual family values, they think people can love their own family members even if they're gay. They have occasionally sent home fliers in MCPS students' backpacks. Well, at Wootton High School, the fliers were all ready to go out, they had been passed out to the homeroom teachers, and the administration decided to call them back. They gathered up all the PFLAG fliers and threw them in the trash. I called the school when I heard about this, and a very rude and defensive administrator made it clear they weren't going to talk about it. I went through the main district offices, and they dismissed it, until I got a teacher from the school to call them. Then MCPS called me back, sweet as pie, apologetic and explaining how it was nobody's fault etcetera.

PFLAG talked to the school district, and they agreed not to make a big deal out of it. I mentioned it at the bottom of a blog post that nobody read, and that was that.

A teacher at Wootton who is a co-sponsor of the Gay-Straight Alliance at the school met with the administration at his school about this incident and ended up satisfied that it was an honest mistake. In the meantime, though, he had sent a nasty letter to PFOX in response to their fliers, and the CRC published his letter on their web site HERE.

Actually, it was funny, he first mistakenly sent a nasty note to us, which I blogged about HERE. I think he got TeachTheFacts-dot-com mixed up with TeachTheFacts-dot-org. Then, apparently, he wrote to PFOX, and the CRC posted it online.

I'm leaving the teacher's name off of all this, but it's no secret.

After the CRC posted his email to PFOX, he wrote back to the two groups:
Good morning.

I understand why you posted my comment to your organization on your website. While you have all the right in the world to do this, I would like you to also know that I do not teach sex ed at my school nor do I discuss these issues with my students. I am a Spanish teacher and that is all I teach: Spanish.

While we all have our personal views and opinions, this is not something I discuss in class with my students nor do I press my personal or political views upon them, as that is not my job but rather that of the BOE and curriculum/policy makers.

I request that you kinly post this reply with the one you posted on your webiste or you take the post down from your website as it suggests that I discuss these issues and ideas with my students, which I do not.

All my best,


Naturally, they didn't post this letter.

This might be shocking to the CRC and to PFOX, but there is a rumor that some teachers are human beings and have opinions, and it has been revealed that there is no law against a teacher expressing his or her opinion, even in public.

He wrote another email to the CRC at the start of June, I don't know why, but that's the one quoted at the top, that mentiones the KKK. PFOX posted that one on their web site.

This had all gone to sleep until June 15th, when that same teacher received an email from a guy who apparently belongs to a group called "ValuesUSA." The subject line was "Crucufying Our Future With The Gay Gene," and the email was CC'ed to a bunch of people, including some big-time rightwing leaders. It said:

That any school would teach their students that there is a 'gay gene' without a shred of truth or scientific evidence is a betrayal of the public’s trust in them that educators teach the truth, in order to ensure a stabile future for America.

That confirms what I’ve suspected for a while, that radical homosexuals will say and do anything, sacrifice the well-being of any others, in order to advance their agenda of perversion.

It’s not only about genital worship, it’s also incredibly self-centered.

If you were infected with Ebola, would you teach children that we should be tolerant of it? So to promote a lifestyle that can result in a similar end as Ebola (and it often does) is almost beyond belief.

To promote homosexuality in any way is to crucify our own future.

Guy Adams

Dir., ValuesUSA [.net] Coalition

This teacher was upset to get this letter, which was about stuff he had never heard of, and he naively tried to respond to the guy. Anyway, that didn't work out well, you might say. The teacher reported this incident in an email to the school board.

This "gay gene" email was almost certainly inspired by a bizarre June 13 press release from PFOX, titled "Montgomery County, Md. School Board finds “gay gene”: Violates State Board of Education’s Order," which mentioned down in the middle that:
At Wootten High School, a gay teacher and co-sponsor of the school’s GSA club warned PFOX to stay out of the public schools, compared sexual preference to African-Americans’ skin color, and also compared PFOX to the Ku Klux Klan.

After this last letter, the teacher composed a nice, longish email, which he sent to the school board, the teacher's union, and his school's administration, with the subject line "MCPS teachers under attack." I won't quote it all here, but the gist of it is:
These organizations have used hatred, lies, and non-scientific based evidence to attack anyone or anything associated with the word “gay”. They believe that people who happen to be gay should not teach children as, for their belief, gay people are perverse and child molesters. We all know that these groups and organizations simply use these hateful lies to try to discredit reality.

They also have blamed MCPS for teaching that there is a “gay gene” in sexual education health classes, of which is also a lie invented by PFOX to anger religious organizations. These people will scoop to the lowest level possible and lie about anyone or anything to anger people.

While sometimes it is hard to not respond to these groups and their bogus ideas I have simply come to the conclusion to ignore their mean-spirited and harassing e-mails by simply deleting them without first reading them.

On Friday, June 15th, the last day of school for teachers, I received a random and hateful e-mail from Mr. Adams of ValuesUSA . It said it was addressed to “officials” of MCPS, although I really did not recognize any of their names. I, being completely taken aback by this e-mail, responded to him but have since then have stopped doing so as he seems to be a little “over-the-top” with his hate-based tactics.

Now the CRC and PFOX and another group have appealed to the state of Maryland to block the new sex-education classes that are scheduled for the fall. For some reason, they have chosen to feature one of the emails in this long and lurid chain of correspondences, apparently to prove that even teachers are harassing "ex-gays," even though the letter itself does not actually do that at all.

This is ugly business, all the way around.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

andrea- not anon
Jim admits he was wrong- let's see PFOX admit they lied. I'm not holding my breath.

June 21, 2007 1:51 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Jim really was not all that wrong... we are all just so used to PFOX lying and making up facts that we can hardly believe anything they say at all.

June 21, 2007 3:26 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

In a sidebar in today's Washington Post Montgomery Extra section (p.3) a request was made as follows: "What do you think [about the health courses in the 8th and 10th grade that introduce the topic of homosexuality and correct condom use]? Send your comments about whether you think such lessons are appropriate in the classroom, and why.
Send uyour letters, which may be edited for space and clarity, by June 29 to, or by mailto Letters fo the Editor, The Washington Post, 51 Monroe St., Suite 500, Rockville, Md. 20850.Please incluse your name, address and day and evening telephone numbers so that authorship can be verified."
You can bet the 5 or 6 members of CRC will be flooding the Post with messages; now is the time to expose them for the minute minority of Mont. Co. residents they are - we can also flood the Post with support for the curriculum.

June 21, 2007 6:24 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Andrea- not anon
Will Bianca-Retta- Precious send messages as all three of herselves?

June 22, 2007 11:38 AM  
Blogger Robert said...

I sent CRC and PFOX both letters, on two occasions, suggesting that they had posted the letters from the teacher you mentioned in an effort to get parents to complain to the administration about him; that is, to cause him harassment at his job. I pointed out that this is not a particularly charitable thing for them to do, and I requested that they remove the posts from their websites.

I received no reply to those emails, and a follow-up email requesting a reply also received no reply. What did happen was that CRC posted on their website a statement I had made on the TTF blog suggesting certain steps MCPS could take to make schools safer for LGBT students and staff. On this post, they pointed out that I am a Fairfax County teacher (I'm not sure why).
Anyway, CRC and PFOX have called me a hypocrite in the press, plastered my mental health history all over their blog, and now are apparently trying to get this teacher in trouble at work. They don't play fair or clean, and I think the county should take it's ball and go home. Calling PFOX and CRC anti-gay organizations, even comparing them to the anti-african-american organization known as the KKK, is not harassing ex-gays. It's attacking the leadership of those organizations, which is perfectly legitimate.

Let me repeat: I myself will defend to the utmost anyone who identifies as ex-gay who is being harassed or discriminated against. I consider such people still to be part of my community, even if I feel they are misguided. Non-gay people who exploit people who identify as ex-gay in order to support anti-gay actions, however, are dispicable and are fair game. PFOX and CRC in these instances are such exploitative organizations.


June 23, 2007 10:43 PM  

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