A Voice of Reason: Sane Views for a Crazy World

February 24, 2007

Judge orders ‘gay’ agenda

Filed under: children,Education,Gay Rights,Politics,Teaching — avoiceofreason @ 7:19 pm

Rules kids need teachings to be ‘engaged and productive citizens’

Found this thread of an article from WorldNetDaily on Polipundit and thought it would be a good topic for further analysis.

A federal judge in Massachusetts has ordered the “gay” agenda taught to Christians who attend a public school in Massachusetts, finding that they need the teachings to be “engaged and productive citizens.”

This first part is of particular importance.  By using the word “need” the judge has opened up this ruling to be applied throughout the state and possibly by the whole nation.  Certainly an important outcome of education is to improve student achievement, and thereby making them into better citizens.

David and Tonia Parker and Joseph and Robin Wirthlin, who have children of school age in Lexington, Mass., brought the lawsuit. They alleged district officials and staff at Estabrook Elementary School violated state law and civil rights by indoctrinating their children about a lifestyle they, as Christians, teach is immoral.

The main issue, with regard to being reasonable is the age of the audience.  It is the opinion I am sure of “reasonable” people that having children discuss sexual choices – which for better or worse homosexuality does involve – is not the proper timeframe for this topic.  On the other hand, discrimination against same sex couples would not be welcomed.  An example of this might be if students were asked to bring in pictures of their family or to construct writings depicting their family.  If a child happens to have parents who are of the same gender, that child should be allowed to fully participate in an educational activity without prejudice.    This participation of the students should be allowed without comment other than an affirmation of a family life.  There are many other family patterns that do not fall into the norm to include, multi-racial marriages, blended families of divorced couples, common law marriages, and even adoptees – who understandably frequently cringe when such learning opportunities present themselves.  However, homosexuals – many of whom are partnered compose a part of the general community.

“In the ruling, Wolf makes the absurd claim that normalizing homosexuality to young children is ‘reasonably related to the goals of preparing students to become engaged and productive citizens in our democracy.’ According to Wolf, this means teaching ‘diversity’ which includes ‘differences in sexual orientation.’

It is in this area that the judge makes a severe error in the application of the law.  While acknowledgement of diversity is a valid educational goal, the emphasis that the extent to which this topic should be discussed to a child of five to eleven is within the idea of acknowledgement if the issue comes about in the normal course of discussion or learning activities.  It is also likely that these activities, which are valid activities for many educational goals, will have a normalization effect if no special attention is brought to the forefront about the particular diversity of an individual family.  Perhaps the greatest area of debate is the concept that homosexuals make up a valid minority group.  If this is so, it is the only instance that I can find where a person’s choice makes them a member of a group, and while certain people may have a sexual preference, the very act of sex is an act of choice. 

“In addition, Wolf makes the odious statement that the Parkers’ only options are (1) send their kids to a private school, (2) home-school their kids, or (3) elect a majority of people to the School Committee who agree with them. Can you imagine a federal judge in the Civil Rights era telling blacks the same thing – that if they can’t be served at a lunch counter they should just start their own restaurant, or elect a city council to pass laws that reflect the U.S. Constitution?” the organization said.

The options given by the judge are also incorrect.  All children are “entitled” to a free and public education, and it is inappropriate for the judiciary to be setting the curriculum for a particular public school.  To offer parents to either educate their children at home, or to have pay for a private education is offensive.  However, the judge is particularly correct when he states that within the school committee this issue could be resolved.  The curriculum for all public schools should be approved by the local Board of Education, and these boards have tremendous statutory rights provided them by the state legislatures.  This is also true about curriculum committees within a particular school as well as PTA’s and Shared Decision Committees.  Federal policies are pushing for schools to have these types of school/community partnership, and this may be any concerned parents best venue for making change.  However, if the school board has approved this as a part of their curriculum the judge’s assessment would indeed be correct.

While the topic of homosexuality is a hot button in our society today, there is room for reasonable people to have a discourse and dialogue.  It is also true that homosexuals are a member of almost every community, and have a right to participate fully within any public forum.  Furthermore, discussion of the social issues concerning some societal aspects regarding homosexuality, particularly same sex marriage and/or civil unions could have a forum within a publicly funded school setting.  The question is the content that is to be introduced, and the arena where it is found.  Among a high school setting the dynamics of these issues “should” be discussed as they are an issue being discussed and voted on by the population at large.  Among elementary students, probably acknowledgement if the topic comes up within the normal course of learning would be acceptable. 

Reasonable people understand that there are many divergent views and lifestyles within a community.  It is not desirable, so long as these views or lifestyles harm others, to denegrate one particular lifestyle.  As members of our communities, who send children to school, homosexuals or same sex couples should enjoy the same rights that any parent would enjoy.  This may include some adjustment of attitudes by many in the public schools who may bring an “anti-gay bias” against these parents, and regretably their children.  Their is a fine line between tolerance and advocacy, and the public school is not the right forum for any advocacy of lifestyle choices whether they involve religious preferences or sexual preferences. 

Just my two cents, and maybe some would like to add some loose change.

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