Thursday, September 22, 2005

Massachusetts Has the Best Educational Institutions in the Country for a Reason

Dr. Paul Ash, the Superintendent of Lexington Public Schools, wrote a letter to the Lexington Minuteman today addressing the implementation of Massachusetts General Laws, Chapter 71, Section 32A ("Section 32A") (the law that Brian Camenker of Article 8 says he wrote). The provision reads as follows:
Every city, town, regional school district or vocational school district implementing or maintaining curriculum which primarily involves human sexual education or human sexual issues shall adopt a policy ensuring parental/guardian notification. Such policy shall afford parents or guardians the flexibility to exempt their children from any portion of said curriculum through written notification to the school principal.
I think the key word here is primary. If the curriculum primarily involves such discussions then a policy for opting out is necessary. Of course the anti-gay forces will say that discussions of same gender families does involve sexual issues. (Again, it's always wonder how come these sex obsessed people don't think the same way about opposite sex couples)

Dr. Ash addresses this head on:
Since elementary curriculum often elicits discussion of family experiences, such references certainly may occur. In addition, our schools routinely provide students with access to materials, activities, and discussions that recognize diversity. This access is designed to assist us in our goal of maintaining an appropriate and respectful educational environment for all students. As required by law and LPS policy, this environment must be free of discrimination based on race, gender, color, religion, sexual orientation, national origin and disability.
The Massachusetts Department of Education, which is responsible for administering Section 32A, has explained that activities and materials designed to promote tolerance and respect for individuals, including recognition of differences in sexual orientation "without further instruction on the physical and sexual implications" do not trigger the notice and opt out provisions of Section 32A. Under this standard, staff has no obligation to notify parents of discussions, activities, or materials that simply reference same-gender parents or that otherwise recognize the existence of differences in sexual orientation. Accordingly, I expect teachers to continue to allow children access to such activities and materials to the extent appropriate to children's ages, to district goals of respecting diversity, and to the curriculum.
Lexington is lucky to have such a smart man as its superintendent. For those people who disagree with public school cirriculum, there's always private schools. Some, apparently, even offer one on one heterosexual sex education training.

4 comments:

Rieux said...

This part's important, too:

The Massachusetts Department of Education, which is responsible for administering Section 32A, has explained that activities and materials designed to promote tolerance and respect for individuals, including recognition of differences in sexual orientation "without further instruction on the physical and sexual implications" do not trigger the notice and opt out provisions of Section 32A.

In other words, the executive branch of the state government has long since decided that Parker/Article Hate/etc.'s "Showing gay people = showing sexuality" contention is baloney. As Bud noticed, that contention also happens to be ridiculously heterosexist--but more to the point, the agency charged with applying the law says a picture of a happy gay-led family is not "sexuality."

So stick it, Mad Dad.

Anonymous said...

Brian Camenker is apoplectic about Dr. Ash's commentary.

"According to the article, the Superintendent, in conjunction with Gov. Romney's Mass. Dept. of Education, has turned the state's parental notification law inside out by redefining the English language. Homosexuality is no longer a "human sexuality" issue. It is now a "tolerance and respect" issue. When adults tell young children that two men in a homosexual relationship are just the same as their parents, it's only about "tolerance and respect" and the law no longer applies!

This despite the fact that Gov. Romney himself went on television the day after Parker's arrest claiming that the law does in fact protect parents in this situation. See full Parker report here.

It is absolutely outrageous. It is tyranny and arrogance of the highest order. We cannot believe that this is happening in America!

We will get to the bottom of this! As you know, we wrote this law back in 1995 and worked to get it successfully passed and signed by Gov. Bill Weld in 1996."

If this crackpot wrote this law he did a pathetic job if his intention was to block any mention of homosexuality. Good luck proving that a bunch of kindergarteners talking about their families is a "sex education" class.

LOL

Anonymous said...

Where did you the quote from Camenker? I didn't see it on his website, was it in his weekly hate mail from Article 8?

Anonymous said...

Yes, from his weekly shriek, which he says to share with everyone, so I'm just spreading the joy. . .