Focus on the Family, the self-styled “Christian” and “pro-family” organization, calls it “good news” that a West Virginia school board voted to exclude gay and straight students from the district’s anti-bullying policy.
The decision to vaguely oppose harassment without specifying specific types of harassment allows faculty to look the other way when disfavored categories of students are bullied.
According to Focus and the Charleston Daily Mail, the decision came after Focus’ truetolerance.org web site and the so-called Family Policy Council of West Virginia rallied parents and antigay pastors to smear the school district, accusing it of promoting homosexuality by opposing violence that is committed on the basis of the victim’s perceived homosexuality or heterosexuality. The FPC also falsely accused antiviolence advocates of seeking to promote affirmative action for bisexual teachers.
According to The Charleston Gazette, Jeremiah Dys of the FPC lied about professional mental-health organizations’ position on homosexuality. Dys falsely equated sexual orientation with gender identity disorder and, according to the Gazette,
noted that the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders [DSM] lists gender identity disorder [GID] as a medical condition. Teachers should help students with the disorder to get the medicine and treatment they need, he said.
Instead of educating West Virginia about the mental-health community’s knowledge of homosexuality versus transgender identity versus GID, it appears that the FPC and Focus have chosen to promote bullying and misrepresentation of the DSM in order to fool misinformed parents and faculty into sending gay youths into ex-gay indoctrination programs.
In a separate editorial, the Gazette condemned the board’s pointed exclusion of gay students from the district’s anti-bullying policies:
The board’s no-bullying policy protects blacks, Jews, the poor, Catholics, the disabled, Hispanics and other minorities. But the five members — Bill Raglin, Pete Thaw, Jim Crawford, Becky Jordon and Robin Rector — backed away from adding the words “sexual orientation” to the shield. Therefore, the policy says that blacks, Jews, the poor, Catholics, the disabled, Hispanics, etc., deserve respect and equality, but gays conspicuously are omitted.
Weaseling before a mob of fundamentalists, Raglin offered an amendment extending the safeguard to “any other status protected by federal, state or local law.” Presumably, he assumed that no such laws cover gays. Informed that Charleston’s human rights laws include homosexuals, Raglin quickly said he didn’t mean to apply the city rules.
The inclusion of sexual orientation in district policy had been sought amid reports of unpunished violence against gay students.