Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Schools Consider Flyer Ban

There is something I have always called schoolteacher logic: "If I let you do it, I'd have to let everyone do it."

This kind of reasoning is simply a way of refusing to be responsible for deciding between two things. On the playground it may be arbitrary and make life bearable, but in matters of policy it is a kind of intellectual cowardice. There is no case to be made for a policy that states that if good things are allowed, bad things need to be allowed, as well. There is a strong case to be made for the school district setting an example for students and the community by making a decision to oppose something that even the Superintendent says is "reprehensible and deplorable," and promoting the things that lead to good health and happiness, and are also consistent with the curriculum that is taught in the district.

For years, Montgomery County, Maryland, public schools have been passing out flyers promoting Parents and Friends of Ex-Gays and Gays (PFOX). These flyers try to convince gay students that they can change their sexual orientation. It's a slick angle, if people complain then PFOX can claim that there is horrible discrimination against "ex-gays," they can frame their hatred of gay people in terms of supporting those fictional individuals who have chosen, against their inherent nature, to become straight. It is like if the KKK claimed they are not racists, they just want to prevent discrimination against white folks.

The school district says they have to hand out the PFOX flyers. If we let the Girl Scouts do it, we have to let everyone do it. This, they say, is what their lawyers told them. If you're going to promote the Girl Scouts and little league you have to promote hate groups, too.

So after years of the schools sending PFOX flyers home with students, Parents and Friends of Lesbians and Gays (PFLAG), from whom PFOX stole their name, decided to blanket the school district with flyers. Last week they sent 50,000 flyers home with students in schools across the county.

Now the school district says they will consider not passing out flyers for nonprofits.

The Gazette:
Montgomery County Board of Education Policy Committee will recommend at its April 30 meeting that nonprofits no longer be allowed to distribute fliers to middle school and high school students, according to school board member Patricia B. O’Neill. There would be three exceptions, for government agencies, such as the recreation department, the school system and the PTA, she said.

...

The committee was tasked by the board with reevaluating the school system’s policy on fliers distributed by organizations after a flier sent home in February by Parents and Friends of Ex-Gays and Gays provoked outrage of some school officials and gay advocates.

The fliers stated that there is no “gay gene” and that sexual orientation is based on “feelings and is a matter of self-affirmation and public declaration.”

In response, the Washington, D.C., chapter of Parents, Families and Friends of Lesbians and Gays (PFLAG) distributed 50,000 fliers to the county’s 25 high schools last week stating that there is nothing wrong with being gay, and sexual orientation is not something that can be changed. After distribution of ‘anti-gay’ fliers, Montgomery school board committee to recommend ban
As it is, the schools put a disclaimer on all flyers that says they are not responsible for the message, as if that undoes the message or actually dissociates the school district from the fact that it is their paid staff who are handing these things out, good and bad.

If the best they can do is to block all nonprofits' flyers, then that sets a pitiful example but at least they will stop supporting PFOX. Of course they will punish all the positive groups that provide services and activities for students and families, but if this is the best they can do it is better than nothing.


19 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Dan Savage bullies high school students:

"A group of high school journalism students attending a conference called “Journalism on the Edge” in Seattle over the weekend felt they were pushed over the edge by syndicated sex advice columnist Dan Savage.

Savage, the creator of the two-year-old It Gets Better Project, which encourages teens struggling with same-sex attractions to embrace homosexuality, was invited to give a keynote address last Friday at the JEA/NSPA National High School Journalism Convention.

Students were expecting him to talk about bullying. But they also got an earful about birth control, sex, and Savage’s opinions on the Bible.

A 17-year-old from California who was attending with half a dozen other students from her high school yearbook staff, was one of several students to walk out in the middle of Savage’s speech.

“The first thing he told the audience was, ‘I hope you’re all using birth control!’ ” she recalled. Then “he said there are people using the Bible as an excuse for gay bullying, because it says in Leviticus and Romans that being gay is wrong. Right after that, he said we can ignore all the ‘B.S.’ in the Bible.

“I was thinking, ‘This is not going a good direction at all,’ Then he started going off about the Bible. He said somehow the Bible was pro-slavery. I’m really shy. I’m not really someone to, like, stir up anything. But all of a sudden I just blurted out, ‘That’s bull!’ ”

As she and several other students walked out of the auditorium, Savage noticed them leaving and called them “pansies.”

Savage has made similar comments in the past, which can be found on YouTube. Among them:

“Most people that you wind up arguing with about religion and homosexuality have not ever read the Bible without their, you know, moron glasses on.”

“If you believe it is the divinely inspired word of God, if you believe in the literal truth of the Bible, I challenge you to read the first five (expletive) pages. There are two creation myths in Genesis.”

“We ignore the (expletive) in the Bible about race, about slavery, and we’re going to have to get there for homosexuality.”

The student’s father is a public school teacher. Though he said Savage’s comments were inappropriate, he thinks the organizers of the conference are ultimately responsible.

“I’m well-versed in the rules of the game, the captive-audience ethic,” he said. “You have a bunch of kids. They’re required to go to school. They don’t have the option of walking out on you as a teacher, so you guard your speech.

“If Dan Savage was a teacher, they’d suspend him without pay for this behavior,” he added. “He didn’t take account of who his audience was. If he was doing this with a bunch of college journalism kids, that would be a different story — that’s more rough and tumble. How many of the kids who didn’t walk out felt backed into a corner? To me, that’s bullying behavior. It has all the symptoms, as far as I’m concerned.”

April 19, 2012 10:32 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"There is no case to be made for a policy that states that if good things are allowed, bad things need to be allowed, as well."

Jim really has a point here.

Just because flyers are distributed from a reputable group informing students who are trapped by unwanted same gender sexual attraction that can get help doesn't mean we should allow flyers from groups that encourage students to embrace homosexuality, which leads to a shallow, degrading, deviant, dangerous and unhealthy lifestyle.

The welfare of the students should trump free speech. That's why, for example, child porn is illegal but adult porn is protected by the Constitution.

We are a pro-family society that values protecting children from the perverted.

April 19, 2012 11:35 AM  
Anonymous David S. Fishback said...

The first thing the Board of Education did once it decided to revisit the flyer distribution program was to survey all schools to find out how many, and which, groups are actually using the program.

I went to the Board's Policy Committee meeting when the results of the survey were available. The program is used a lot in the elementary schools; very, very little in the middle schools; and hardly at all in the high schools.

As the Gazette article notes, the Policy Committee proposal is to eliminate the flyer program for the secondary schools, but to leave it in place for the elementary schools.

The public comment period in May will reveal whether any groups simply offering services like after school sports or tutoring would be diadvantaged by the proposed change for the secondary schools.

It was interesting, but not surprising, to see that the only advocacy groups to use the flyer distribution program were PFOX and PFLAG. Over the years since the current program was established in 2006, PFLAG has done distributions only in response to PFOX distributions, as the Gazette article notes.

There are, I believe, legal theories that could be invoked to simply bar the PFOX fliers. Such an approach, however, would certainly lead to expensive litigation. At the end of the day, were expense no object, I believe that MCPS could prevail by arguing that the limited public forum doctrine of the Child Evangelism Fellowiship case does not require a school system to allow distribution of materials that are directly contrary to student health: For example, a non-profit which asserted that cigarette smoking is not harmful could certainly be barred.

But, particularly in these times, expense is a legitimate factor, if there are alternate methods of avoiding the harm. Dr. Starr was justifiably outraged by the PFOX fliers, and Board members are trying in good faith to find the best response, consistent with their principal responsibility: To do what is best for MCPS students. One other thing MCPS should do is to include in the health curriculum the position of the American Medical Association opposing the "therapies" touted by PFOX.

I sympathize with Jim's perspective. If the followers of the excellent Teach the Facts Vigilance Blog have alternative suggestions,given the current state of the law in the United States Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit, I, for one, would love to hear them.

April 19, 2012 12:18 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"distribution of materials that are directly contrary to student health"

from any pragmatic perspective, David, encouraging students who have felt same gender sexual attraction to embrace it will have a deleterious effect on their future health

reality: becoming part of the homosexual community and pursuing sexual relations in that community increases one's chances for early death from a number of causes

it's an inconvenient truth

any major dude with half a heart surely will tell ya, my friend

even Al Gore

April 19, 2012 12:39 PM  
Anonymous David S. Fishback said...

Reality: Promiscuity is dangerous to health whether it involves heterosexual or homosexual activity. The AIDS epidemic is at its worst in Africa, where it is primarily a heterosexual problem.

Reality: Societal institutions that encourage monogamy lead to avoidance of sexually transmitted diseases. In other words, marriage is good for your health, because it solidifies monogamy.

Reality: Very few people will be happy and productive as life-long celebates.

Reality which plainly follows from the above: Civil marriage should be available to all couples, straight and gay.

So, Anon, please consider all aspects of Reality when thinking about the health of our children.

April 19, 2012 1:34 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Culture Guard charges School Board with promoting hatred



VANCOUVER, April 18, 2012 (CultureGuard) — Culture Guard has filed a human rights complaint against the Vancouver School Board, charging that the VSB has used and promoted in its meetings, policies and its schools, the use of hateful, defamatory and demeaning terminology and has facilitated and endorsed the “Out In Schools” program, a program that is designed to promote hatred and contempt for identifiable groups, contrary to the BC Human Rights Code.



The offensive terms specified include (but are not limited to) terms like “homophobe”, “homophobic” and “homophobia”.



“Such terms are designed to promote hatred and contempt, they are used to isolate, marginalize, and belittle individuals and groups that hold opinions at variance to those of the sex activists within the education establishment,” Culture Guard president Kari Simpson stated. “They have no legitimate use; they give the appearance of medical or psychological terminology, but they don’t appear in recognized medical or psychological dictionaries. They are simply slurs invented for hateful propaganda purposes.”



The Culture Guard complaint asks the B.C. Human Rights Tribunal to instruct the VSB to immediately cease the use of materials and policies “that project, advise, counsel and/or indoctrinate students, staff or the broader community, in any manner, that the terms ‘homophobe’, ‘homophobia’, ‘homophobic’, etc. are acceptable.” It also seeks an official apology from the VSB to “all individuals and groups harmed, belittled, demeaned and/or otherwise adversely affected by the Vancouver School Board’s failure to respect all individuals and groups, by cultivating hatred, ignorance and contempt for their opinions, religious beliefs and/or cultural practices as they pertain to issues directly related to biologically and economically harmful sexual practices and the requirement of students and staff to ‘celebrate’ the aforementioned practices.”

Ms. Simpson is acting on behalf of Chinese Christians but anticipates a number of other groups and individuals will be added if the Vancouver School Board fails to remedy the situation.

April 19, 2012 2:10 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

In recent years, we have seen some alarming examples of how Canada has rolled back on free speech, particularly in cases of alleged discrimination. However, the Supreme Court of Canada handed down a unanimous decision that offers great hope that free speech is not dead in the North. In 2008, the Court ruled 9-0 in favor of controversial Vancouver radio broadcaster Rafe Mair in his libel case.

Mair was accused of defaming Kari Simpson, a Christian advocate, who he tied to book burning.

Mr. Mair, a former cabinet minister, used a radio show to
criticize Simpson for her support of a Surrey school board decision to ban three books depicting same-sex parents. Comparing the policy to Nazi Germany, Mair said “[f]or Kari’s ‘homosexual,’ one could easily substitute ‘Jew.’ I could see Governor Wallace – in my mind’s eye I could see Governor Wallace of Alabama standing on the steps of a schoolhouse shouting to the crowds that no Negroes would get into Alabama schools as long as he was governor. It could have been blacks last Thursday night just as easily as gays.”

In a refreshing moment of clairty, Mr. Justice Ian Binnie said that “We live in a free country, where people have as much right to express outrageous and ridiculous opinions as moderate ones.”

It is a decision that Canadians should be rightfully proud of and a relief to those of us who have been watching our neighbors with increasing alarm.

April 19, 2012 6:32 PM  
Anonymous David S. Fishback said...

"The offensive terms specified include (but are not limited to) terms like 'homophobe,' 'homophobic' and 'homophobia.'"

I suppose that an anti-racism program would include terms like: "racism" and "racist."

It makes no difference, I suggest, whether the source of one's homophobia or racism is theological or secular. It is still homophobia or racism.

April 19, 2012 8:08 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"Reality: Promiscuity is dangerous to health whether it involves heterosexual or homosexual activity."

yes, it is

and when we oppose encouraging homosexuality, we also oppose encouraging heterosexual promiscuity

but you have to realize that homosexuals have no commitment to traditional morality and, thus, are more prone to promiscuity

even the most prominent "out" homosexuals, such as Andrew Sullivan or Barney Frank, demonstrate this

"The AIDS epidemic is at its worst in Africa, where it is primarily a heterosexual problem."

yes, but it is because prostitution is widely tolerated

in countries with a Judeo-Christian heritage, where prostitution is not tolerated but homosexuality is, AIDS is a gay disease

the African example actually demonstrates the opposite of what you imagine it does

"Societal institutions that encourage monogamy lead to avoidance of sexually transmitted diseases. In other words, marriage is good for your health, because it solidifies monogamy."

yes, but homosexuals are immune to societal pressure

they have a mentality that resists it

"Very few people will be happy and productive as life-long celebates."

how about if "societal institutions encourage" celibacy?

wouldn't work, right?

neither will the promotion of homosexual monogamy

"Reality which plainly follows from the above: Civil marriage should be available to all couples, straight and gay."

marriage is a word that means a union of heterosexual

if homosexuals want to crate something like it, they are free to

and governmental endorsement may come after it is established

but, truthfully, unless it's called "marriage", homosexuals won't be interested

because their true goal is to destroy marriage

"So, Anon, please consider all aspects of Reality when thinking about the health of our children."

children should be discouraged from self-identifying as a homosexual until they are old enough to appreciate the ramifications of such a decision

PFLAG and GSAs should be banned from public schools

April 20, 2012 12:44 AM  
Anonymous Robert said...

One wonders if that last post were intended to ememplify "homophobia" and "homophobe."

April 20, 2012 10:24 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

One other thing MCPS should do is to include in the health curriculum the position of the American Medical Association opposing the "therapies" touted by PFOX.

You don't get it. MCPS cannot do that because it would be getting into a judgment of therapies and the school is not going to do that. That is not the job of the schools.

April 20, 2012 11:10 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"One wonders if that last post were intended to ememplify "homophobia" and "homophobe.""

so, Robo, you're referring to yourself as "One"

interesting

no one else wonders about such a thing

maybe you see someone

spell-check is your friend, btw

it would help you to avoid exemplifying how stupid homophiles are

btw, homophobia is a propaganda term

fear is not the proper description for facts

April 21, 2012 5:11 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"ememplify "homophobia""

connection betwixt homosexuality and misspelling?

let's get Spitzer to study it

April 22, 2012 8:17 AM  
Anonymous David S. Fishback said...

Anon writes:

"but you have to realize that homosexuals have no commitment to traditional morality and, thus, are more prone to promiscuity"

Your ignorance is breathtaking. Our community is filled with gay and lesbian couples, raising children in loving homes. These couples are indistinguishable from straight couples in all respects except for their sexual orientation.

April 22, 2012 11:09 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

hope you have your breath back, David

holding it like that can be dangerous

tell us why you think the "gay and lesbian couples, raising children in loving homes" that "fill our community" are monogamous

"These couples are indistinguishable from straight couples in all respects except for their sexual orientation."

actually, there is something else, very significant:

these partnerships, or whatever you want to call them, don't have the representation of both genders

the genders have been designed, intelligently I might add, to complement one another

this complementariness is physical, emotional and spiritual

as a foundational element of ous society, it provides a stability that doesn't work when one of the genders is missing

April 23, 2012 9:42 AM  
Anonymous David S. Fishback said...

Anon writes: "as a foundational element of ous society, it [opposite sex union] provides a stability that doesn't work when one of the genders is missing"

And you know this because....?

Recently, I attended a party for a one of my son's high school friends and her husband-to-be. The bride grew up with her two moms (who have been together for three decades). She is as emotionally healthy a person as anyone I've ever known. Her moms are proud of her, and she is proud of them.

Yet, Anon would deprive her moms of the right that she and her fiance are about to enjoy. Why? Because of his/her unfounded prejudices, it seems.

April 23, 2012 1:50 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"Recently, I attended a party for a one of my son's high school friends and her husband-to-be. The bride grew up with her two moms (who have been together for three decades). She is as emotionally healthy a person as anyone I've ever known."

you have a doctorate in psychology, David?

"Her moms are proud of her, and she is proud of them.

Yet, Anon would deprive her moms of the right that she and her fiance are about to enjoy. Why? Because of his/her unfounded prejudices, it seems."

it seems her two Moms were deprived of whatever right David imagines they should have enjoyed

and yet, everyone's happy, healthy and proud

what's the case for changing things?

speaking words of wisdom, let it be

why are gays so intent on turning our society inside-out when they get a better shake here than anywhere else in the world?

April 24, 2012 3:47 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Your ignorance is astounding. Here are a few facts about how some of the GOP's favorite leaders in this nation have mistreated and maligned some of their fellow Americans.

By Feb. 1, 1983, 1,025 AIDS cases were reported, and at least 394 had died in the United States. Reagan said nothing. On April 23, 1984, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention announced 4,177 reported cases in America and 1,807 deaths. In San Francisco, the health department reported more than 500 cases. Again, Reagan said nothing. That same year, 1984, the Democratic National Convention convened in San Francisco. Hoping to focus attention on the need for AIDS research, education and treatment, more than 100,000 sympathizers marched from the Castro to Moscone Center.

With each diagnosis, the pain and suffering spread across America. Everyone seemed to now know someone infected with AIDS. At a White House state dinner, first lady Nancy Reagan expressed concern for a guest showing signs of significant weight loss. On July 25, 1985, the American Hospital in Paris announced that Rock Hudson had AIDS.

With AIDS finally out of the closet, activists such as Paul Boneberg, who in 1984 started Mobilization Against AIDS in San Francisco, begged President Reagan to say something now that he, like thousands of Americans, knew a person with AIDS. Writing in the Washington Post in late 1985, Rep. Henry Waxman, D-Los Angeles, stated: "It is surprising that the president could remain silent as 6,000 Americans died, that he could fail to acknowledge the epidemic's existence. Perhaps his staff felt he had to, since many of his New Right supporters have raised money by campaigning against homosexuals."

Reagan would ultimately address the issue of AIDS while president. His remarks came May 31, 1987 (near the end of his second term), at the Third International Conference on AIDS in Washington. When he spoke, 36,058 Americans had been diagnosed with AIDS and 20,849 had died. The disease had spread to 113 countries, with more than 50,000 cases...

Reagan could have chosen to end the homophobic rhetoric that flowed from so many in his administration. Dr. C. Everett Koop, Reagan's surgeon general, has said that because of "intradepartmental politics" he was cut out of all AIDS discussions for the first five years of the Reagan administration. The reason, he explained, was "because transmission of AIDS was understood to be primarily in the homosexual population and in those who abused intravenous drugs." The president's advisers, Koop said, "took the stand, 'They are only getting what they justly deserve.' "

How profoundly different might have been the outcome if his leadership had generated compassion rather than hostility. "In the history of the AIDS epidemic, President Reagan's legacy is one of silence," Michael Cover, former associate executive director for public affairs at Whitman-Walker Clinic, the groundbreaking AIDS health-care organization in Washington. in 2003. "It is the silence of tens of thousands who died alone and unacknowledged, stigmatized by our government under his administration."

Revisionist history about Reagan must be rejected. Researchers, historians and AIDS experts who know the truth must not remain silent. Too many have died for that.

April 24, 2012 6:04 PM  
Blogger Emproph said...

Sociopathanon: "...encouraging students who have felt same gender sexual attraction to embrace it”

A feeling is something that exists, an embrace is an action. They are opposites.

“and when we oppose encouraging homosexuality, we also oppose encouraging heterosexual promiscuity”

But you don’t. You make it sound like you’re against promiscuity itself, when in actuality, all you do is define all LGBT persons of promiscuity that ALWAYS leads to the contraction of AIDS.

"The AIDS epidemic is at its worst in Africa, where it is primarily a heterosexual problem."
“yes, but it is because prostitution is widely tolerated”

That’s the least of the story. The men get HIV from prostitutes, then give it to their wives, daughters, those they rape and the children they then have.

“because their true goal is to destroy marriage”

Only because you want to see it that way.

Once you’ve decided to hate an ENTIRE group of people, you’re not only an instant bigot, but you’ll believe and spread any negative connotations to them. Thus, you lust for any information, true or not, that demeans and belittles that group.

“these partnerships, or whatever you want to call them, don't have the representation of both genders.”

If you really felt that way you’d ban divorce and single parenthood of any kind.

why are gays so intent on turning our society inside-out”

It’s only your world that would be turned inside out. You loath any social recognition of our equality.

“Such terms are designed to promote hatred and contempt, they are used to isolate, marginalize, and belittle individuals and groups that hold opinions at variance to those of the sex activists within the education establishment,”

“Such terms are designed to [expose] hatred and contempt, as evidenced by defining equality advocates as sex activists. Thus, terms like supremacist hateful bigots should be used to “isolate, marginalize, and belittle individuals and groups that hold opinions at variance to facts.

“because their true goal is to destroy marriage”

Unless you’ve seen and experienced this, then it’s just another brainless talking point on your part, especially in light of the overwhelming demand for marriage equality.

Jim has it right: “There is no case to be made for a policy that states that if good things are allowed, bad things need to be allowed, as well.”

It’s just like your creationism should be taught alongside evolution “argument.” You may as well be complaining that 2+2=5 should be taught alongside 2+2=4.

May 03, 2012 4:29 AM  

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