The Washington Blade’s Michel K. Lavers reports that Prince George’s County Public Schools stopped using an anti-bullying curriculum, earlier this week, that included barely hidden references to “ex-gay” organizations.
The so-called anti-bullying campaign was really a dishonest scheme by Christopher Doyle, a NARTH member and protege of quack therapist and closeted Moonie Richad Cohen. The discredited Cohen, who is head of the International Healing Foundation and a former president of PFOX’s board, was permanently expelled from the American Counseling Association in 2002 for multiple ethics violations.
“Anybody involved with him [Cohen] we would consider an extremist,” Wayne Besen, executive director of Truth Wins Out, told the Blade. “Richard Cohen personifies extremism in the ex-gay industry and Christopher Doyle was his close associate.”
The fraudulent curriculum is a part of a “camel’s nose under the tent” strategy, where Doyle’s third-rate propaganda company, Acception Productions, dishonestly mixes legitimate pro-gay messages and resources with medically unsound “ex-gay” ideas and resources. This scheme includes sending vulnerable teens to dangerous organizations, such as Exodus International, the National Association for Research and Therapy of Homosexuality (NARTH) and Parents and Friends of Ex-Gays (PFOX).
The ploy to infiltrate public schools under the auspices of preventing bullying included an amateurish 21-minute video that features four students who are assigned a project on anti-gay bullying. According to the Blade:
Briant Coleman, spokesperson for the Prince George’s County Public Schools, confirmed teachers first used it this school year. He said it was removed this week.
“We reviewed the video that was being used by six of our middle school health teachers,” Coleman said. “We determined that there was not enough information about bullying prevention to justify using it as a supplemental resource for our anti-bullying program.”
Doyle said the school district told him on Tuesday that it would no longer use his curriculum.
“This really came to me as a shock,” he said, noting he has yet to meet with district officials. “I don’t know exactly why they’re pulling the video. All I know is the health education supervisor told me on Tuesday that the video was being pulled for further review because of the controversy surrounding some of the messages.”
Cohen is a member of the Prince George’s County Public Schools’ School Health Committee.
First, WTF! Richard Cohen??
How could the Prince George’s County Public Schools allow a deranged, dangerous, and disgraced quack who is a national laughingstock to sit on a committee assigned the task of improving student health? Shouldn’t the fact that he was unceremoniously booted out of the American Counseling Association for life reason enough for the School Board to deny him a position on this influential committee?
What next, allowing doctors fired for malpractice to serve? Does Prince George’s County have no professional standards when it comes to such critical committees?
Second, I’m glad that this school district dumped the curriculum, but in the future they should institute safeguards to make sure charlatans peddling snake oil don’t slither their way into positions of power where they can do real harm to students.
Finally, we all need to keep a watchful eye out for Doyle and Cohen. As we previously reported, the Maryland-based International Healing Foundation (IHF) seems to have found a wining lottery ticket of sorts. IHF’s 2011 990 tax return reveals that his group took in more than $635,000. In 2010, the “ex-gay” organization only grossed $117,000, and its most lucrative previous year was $201,000 in 2008.
Beware: This is a ton of funny money that Cohen and Doyle can use to create mischief.