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.
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.