Jewish World Review Feb. 27, 2002 /15 Adar, 5762
http://www.NewsAndOpinion.com -- WHILE the decades-long debate over school choice rages and a potentially landmark case concerning it is about to be decided by the Supreme Court, I thought I'd share with you a few tidbits involving recent trends in public schools.
The National Education Association, the 2.6 million member teachers' union and school choice's most militant opponent, holds itself out as being "America's largest organization committed to advancing the cause of public education." Put aside the fact that the union is lobbying to keep inner-city children locked in inferior schools. Instead, let's look at one of its current initiatives.
On Feb. 8, the NEA Board adopted a plan it says will make schools safe and hospitable for gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgendered students and education employees. Under the plan the union will ask school districts to protect homosexual students and staff by adopting policies that punish harassment and discrimination.
The plan doesn't stop there. It will also encourage schools to develop factual materials for classroom discussions on homosexuality.
The NEA's press release reports that the union will endeavor "to provide students, education employees and the general public with accurate, objective and up-to-date information regarding the needs of, and problems confronting gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgendered students." Any such information would be "nonjudgmental in terms of sexual orientation/gender identification."
There you have it: the magic word "nonjudgmental." I wonder if it would be judgmental to impart the fact that AIDS is overwhelmingly more prevalent in the gay than the heterosexual community. I wonder, too, whether the "objective" information the union would provide will encourage condom distribution - and imply that condoms immunize you from contracting HIV?
I don't know about you, but I don't want teachers "educating" my children about the "objective" facts regarding homosexuality and so-called alternative lifestyles. Besides, I thought liberals believed that teaching those kinds of value judgments in public schools violated the Establishment Clause.
One of the main premises of the plan is that negative attitudes toward homosexuality lead to violence against homosexuals. Only by correcting those attitudes can we stop the violence.
This tactic of promoting the gay lifestyle under the guise of preventing violence ala Hate Crimes legislation is often used by gay rights' advocates, and sometimes to an absurd degree. For example, the United States Students Association is pressuring this country's universities to provide single-stall "gender neutral" restrooms to protect transgender students from harassment and assault. A USSA spokesperson explained that cross dressers "have a problem with bathrooms" that are for men or women only because "they face a risk of being assaulted if another person in there doesn't think they belong." If they aren't safe in the bathroom, "they won't necessarily be able to go to college."
Aren't existing rules and laws against violent behavior sufficient to punish those who harm homosexuals? Apparently not. That's why certain states are passing legislation in this area.
California recently enacted the California Student Safety and Violence Prevention Act, which requires the state curriculum to be modified to enable students to acknowledge homosexual, lesbian, transgender and bisexual historical figures and events. Here again, the pretense is to prevent violence, but the transparent purpose is indoctrination.
I'm sure that sounds innocuous enough to the enlightened, but not to everyone. The Washington Times reports that a group of parents is suing a Novato, Calif., public school district "for allowing their children to see pro-homosexual plays at school without any prior notice or parental consent." The school's program is called "Cootie Shots": Theatrical Inoculations Against Bigotry."
The plays exposed second through sixth graders to skits pushing homosexual themes. In one, a boy wears a dress and discusses cross-dressing; in the other, a female becomes involved with a princess rather than a prince.
The school district's public information director stuck to the party line in defending the subject matter of the plays. "Providing a safe environment in our schools for everyone has and will always be our main priority." Hmmmm. I suppose this is why the plays were followed with question and answer sessions about what constitutes normal families and acceptance of those who choose the homosexual lifestyle.
A similar bill, "Dignity for All Students Act," is pending before the Florida legislature. It, too, would ban harassment and bullying on the basis of many things - including "sexual orientation."
It appears that the real bullies are those who
insist that their value judgments be forced on
our children. Doesn't this give you a warm and
fuzzy feeling about developments in public