The Standard of Liberty Voice
A publication of The Standard of Liberty Foundation
August 23, 2005, #10
Back to School
On the second day of school, my daughter mentioned to me that there is a rumor going around that a certain second grade teacher in her children’s Utah Valley elementary school is gay. So I made a few phone calls to the district and the school. I thought it unprofessional that when I expressed my sincere concern about this rumor, the secretary at the elementary school burst into laughter. She immediately knew who I was referring to although no names had been mentioned (which seemed to validate my concern), and then began defending this person. That’s nice, I said, but I am not interested in his outstanding teaching qualifications. I’m concerned that he might have a sexual agenda, and that he might be consciously or unconsciously influencing children. As Tammy Bruce put it, “Any message to children about sexuality belongs in the hands of parents, not of strangers in positions of authority, frankly, like teachers” (The Death of Right and Wrong, p. 209).
Whether the rumor is true or false, it presents a problem because, unchallenged, it is making a statement to children about homosexuality, that it is an acceptable lifestyle. If false, it should be corrected. The teacher himself should want it stopped for his own sake and the sake of the children in the school. If true, he shouldn’t be near children. Again, I agree with Tammy, who by the way is a lesbian herself, [We must] “ . . . not let anyone with any sexual agenda infiltrate entities that give them access and power over adolescents” (ibid, p.228).
Case in point: Just last week a friend related to me that her small Utah town’s high school employs a lesbian principal and a couple of lesbian teachers. I gathered from her account that this is public knowledge, that the employees themselves have advertised their sexual proclivities. People have become concerned, said my friend, because female students have been caught acting out sexually in the school rest rooms. A few people may think this is fine, but most do not.
Interestingly, although the district administrator and school principal I talked to were sympathetic to my concern, they both used the term, “our hands are tied.” People have tried to fire gay teachers, they said, and the teacher always wins in court. In the meantime the school district wastes thousands of dollars, which results in children going without text books. (This statement was suspect, like a talking point, as if text books is the only place to cut costs.) They explained that a teacher’s sexual orientation is protected by law. From this I can only surmise that these administrators believe children are not protected by law and text books are more important than children themselves.
I made two requests of the elementary school principal, who claimed he had no proof that the teacher was gay. One, that he suggest the teacher dress conservatively. Evidently this veteran teacher of 20 something years wears pink plaid pants to school. This may be innocent, but is obviously distracting and being viewed, even if ridiculously or erroneously, as stereotypically gay. Second, that he make an effort to squelch the rumors. He expressed doubt that he could do either without getting into trouble.
The school district administrator told me that I had no legal right to complain, being only a grandparent. I reminded her that I am a taxpaying citizen, concerned with the welfare of all children, and she backtracked. Yes, you have a right to voice your opinions, she said, and suggested I become politically active. The laws have to be changed, she said. Otherwise, we cannot discriminate based on sexual orientation when hiring. We cannot even ask, she said.
Well, guess what? We looked it up and what she told me is not true. Unlike some states, Utah has no education law prohibiting discrimination in hiring on the basis of sexual orientation. Sexual orientation is not mentioned. That means legally you can ask and you can refuse to hire gays.
If the people in charge of education are this intimidated and uninformed, I shudder to think what America's children may be learning.
Copyright 2005 by Standard of Liberty Foundation, Inc. All rights reserved.
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