The Washington Blade reports that PFOX has been distributing ex-gay propaganda fliers at Albert Einstein High School in Rockville, Maryland.
According to district policy, any organization that can prove that it is a non-profit “community entity” can send materials home with students quarterly when report cards are distributed.
It isn’t mentioned in the article, but there’s a reason they have that policy: this isn’t the first time PFOX has done this, not by a mile. Montgomery County Public Schools and PFOX go back a long and unfortunate way, at least to 2005, when PFOX and Citizens for a Responsible Curriculum won a federal lawsuit against the school board that claimed the school’s new sex-ed curriculum promoted homosexuality. Their victory surprised even them.
CRC President Michelle Turner, who has five children in public schools, has led the effort to stop the curriculum since November, when the county school board voted unanimously to approve it.
“This is beyond our wildest dreams. Who could ever have imagined this?” she said. “The board totally capitulated. We won big-time.”
Capitulated is right, and it emboldened the ex-gay activists big time. Another lawsuit in 2006 led the school to develop the aforementioned policy and allowed PFOX to distribute these fliers. In 2007, PFOX filed an Appeal and Request for Stay to block pilot testing of a new sex-ed curriculum because it didn’t include PFOX’s views on “ex-gays.” The resulting settlement compelled the school to rebuild its curriculum from the beginning, and the group has continued to distribute fliers over and over. Looks like they’ve circled back again, just in time for Valentine’s Day, lest any gay kids get any ideas about kissing their crushes.
TeachTheFacts.org, a MCPS-based group of parents who are appalled by PFOX’s attempts to introduce hatemongering and pseudoscience to their children’s public educations, keeps a blog containing a passionate history of these battles. In one widely-read entry from February 14, 2010, written after yet another flier distribution, the author entreats the school district to grow a pair:
Some schools set up special trash cans on PFOX flyer days, which coincided with report cards, so students could throw their anti-gay materials out immediately.
Let the school principal, the Board of Education, the Superintendent of Schools, and home-room teachers be responsible for what they give the children. Consider the quotes from principals who have said things like “If I had my druthers, [the flier] would not have gone out.” Why is the principal not held responsible for the literature his school is giving to the students entrusted to him? Give the guy his druthers! Take the disclaimer off all the flyers, and let the school district take responsibility for the information it is giving to our students.
Ah, you say, they’re afraid of lawsuits. Yes, there is an inevitable lawsuit if they refuse to distribute the PFOX hate literature. The schools have a little problem with bullying, I wonder where the kids picked that up? Okay, PFOX is going to sue, the school district will have to fight back. If there is a legitimate reason that the school district should have to give anti-gay materials to schoolchildren then PFOX will win and the case will only be wasted money. Is it really possible that distributing hateful literature is a legitimate function of a public school? Okay, back if down a step or two, is it really possible that distributing every group’s opinion is a legitimate function of a public school? Of course not, the school is there for education, it is patently absurd for them to be giving children a message that is the direct opposite of what they are taught in class.
This is a moment when we need leaders. Somebody at the top needs to identify this as something indecent and wrong and put a stop to it. The school district is hiding behind a legal opinion instead of acting like grown-ups and confronting the issue.