Sunday, November 06, 2005

Anti-Gay Boy Scouts allowed to recruit in schools

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From The Washington Blade: Boy Scouts allowed to distribute info at Minneapolis schools Federal mandate causes district to reverse gay-supportive policy MINNEAPOLIS (AP) | Nov 6, 11:36 AM Complying with a federal mandate in the No Child Left Behind Act, the Minneapolis school district once again is allowing Boy Scout recruiting materials to be sent home with students. The mandate obliges schools to give Boy Scouts the same access to schools as other community groups or lose federal aid. It overturns the Minneapolis school district's ban prohibiting scouts from distributing recruitment materials in schools. The ban, enacted in 2000, was brought about by opposition to the Boy Scout's decision to prohibit openly gay men from being scout leaders. This fall, Minneapolis scouting leaders reported a jump in new scout registrations. The Metro Lakes District, which includes Minneapolis, Richfield and St. Anthony, reported a 108 percent increase. Access to boys through schools has helped. "It's very important. It's very hard to reach boys otherwise. They don't get all together in one place," said Renee Gutierrez-Wells, who led the district's recruitment campaign. But in David Perry's classroom at Folwell Middle School, scouting material hasn't made a reappearance. When Perry, a teacher active in a national organization that is working to open scouting for gays and atheists, found a stack of recruiting fliers in his mailbox, he quietly decided not to distribute them. Perry offers a simple excuse: "We were not told we had to pass them out." Lauri Appelbaum, coordinator of the district's program for gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender students and adults, said she learned of the change from inquiring principals. "I think it's really unfortunate that the federal government felt a need to take away local control from school boards," Appelbaum said. In 2002, Boy Scouts of America adopted a resolution declaring "that homosexual conduct is inconsistent with the values espoused in the scout oath and law" and those "values cannot be subject to local option." The U.S. Supreme Court upheld the group's right as a private organization to bar openly gay men from becoming scout leaders. Original Source: click here ======= AS many of my friends, colleagues and acquaintances knnow, I used to be a member of the Boy Scouts of America. Before that, I was a member if the Cub Scouts (the younger branch of the BSA). Now try guessing where I found out about Boy Scouts... yup... that's right: School. When I was 14 years old, not long after I had come out of the closet (before the Supreme Court Case of the BSA v. Dale and before I knew there was a rule against it) and not long after I had established the Gay-Straight Alliance at the R.J. Reynolds High School, I was told by my Scoutmaster, "If you are choosing to live gay lifestyle, then you are choosing not to be a Boy Scout." I could go on and on about the story but I don't have time. If you want to know more click here. My point is, mandating that the BSA should be allowed to recruit within the schools is like mandating that a group which openly discriminates against a certain religion or race be allowed to recruit within schools. This is a quote from a public address I made to the Winston-Salem/Forsyth County Board of Education back in March 2005:
Although the Boy Scouts of America has accomplished many great works of public service, they also have accomplished hurting not only youth in our own community, but also youth across the nation. As a former Scout kicked out of the Scouting program for being gay, I know first-hand the hurt that is caused by the Boy Scouts of America. I do not believe that the school system should be partnering with an organization that openly discriminates against gay and atheist youth. It is shameful, unethical, and immoral. I ask that the Board of Education step up and do its job in representing the people of our community and discontinue its partnership with the Old Hickory Council. By allowing the Boy Scouts of America to provide programming within the schools, you are justifying their discriminatory policies that only serve to hurt youth. By allowing the Boy Scouts to recruit within our schools without telling parents or children about their membership policies while doing so, you are setting up children for rejection and abuses to their own self esteem and self-image. Would our school system let an organization that discriminated on the basis of race or ethnicity provide programming within our schools or recruit within our schools? I think not. Likewise, the school system should not let the Boy Scouts of America, which discriminates on the basis of sexual orientation and religion, provide their programming within our schools or allow them to recruit on public school property. The School Board’s job is to protect children and youth, as well as educate them. Please stop partnering with an organization that discriminates against and hurts the youth of our community. source
Of course, the Board of Education hasn't stopped partnering with the Old Hickory Council. I wonder why people are so willing to let youth be hurt... the gay part doesn't even matter... you don't have to be gay to be called a fag. Maybe it is just the fact that the members of the Winston-Salem/Forsyth County Board of Education like to see young people, especialy gay young people, get hurt... maybe that is why they haven't done anything. Whatever the reason there is one thing that is clear... those who allow discrimination into the lives of our young people by allowing it to come in our schools are NOT doing their jobs.