“True Tolerance,” a campaign of Focus on the Family that enjoys promotional support from Exodus International, may be having an impact upon public schools:
As many as 107 Tennessee public school districts recently began blocking student access to gay health, science, family, and education resources. Instead, students who seek accurate information are being confined to ex-gay resources that have been rejected as inaccurate and harmful by professional medical and mental-health organizations.
Banned resources include:
- Parents, Families, and Friends of Lesbians and Gays (PFLAG)
- The Gay Lesbian Straight Education Network (GLSEN)
- Human Rights Campaign (HRC)
- Marriage Equality USA
- Religious Coalition for the Freedom to Marry
- The Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation (GLAAD)
- Dignity USA (an organization for LGBT Catholics)
“True Tolerance” is an antigay response to the Day of Silence, GLSEN’s national campaign to discourage violence in public schools. The antigay project espouses tolerance of outspoken on-campus activism by antigay Christians — and intolerance of those who oppose antigay violence or who disagree with discredited ex-gay propaganda. Without offering evidence, “True Tolerance” accuses antiviolence advocates of waging a “monopoly” and a “pro-gay agenda.”
The campaign does not claim responsibility for Internet restrictions in Tennessee specifically, but the web site encourages antigay activists to pressure schools to silence the allegedly “unbalanced” messages of the antiviolence crowd and to silence “vulnerable children” (teen-agers) who seek to be honest about their sexuality.
If pressure tactics don’t work, then True Tolerance lobs legal threats against antiviolence efforts. First, the campaign warns against schools’ fears of “legal liability for not making their school ‘safe.'” True Tolerance dismisses the simple fact that antigay violence is making schools unsafe, and that parents of bullied youths are suing. Instead, True Tolerance offers to arm antigay activists with unspecified “legally accurate facts” in opposition to mandatory “diversity” policies. It would seem that, in the view of Exodus and Focus, “true tolerance” in schools cannot and should not be diverse enough to include bullied youths, their friends, or their parents.
Official efforts to “protect” mature students from the facts about gay health, science, family issues, and education are having a negative impact on Tennessee schools.
Karyn Storts-Brinks, a librarian at Fulton High School in Knoxville, points out:
Students who need to do research for assignments on current events can only get one viewpoint, keeping them from being able to cover both sides of the issue. That’ not fair and can hinder their schoolwork.
Box Turtle Bulletin reports:
The ACLU is giving the districts until April 29 to come up with a plan to provide access to LGBT sites or any other category that blocks non-sexual websites advocating the fair treatment of LGBT people by the beginning of the 2009-2010 school year.