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Would you choose this teacher to guide your children?

That is what the far right-wing Family Research Council asks about Kevin Jennings, founder and former executive director of GLSEN, the Gay, Lesbian, and Straight Education Network.

Well, since you asked, absolutely yes.

GLSEN has done admirable work in diversity education, and Jennings has been nominated as the new Assistant Deputy Secretary of Education for the Department’s Office of Safe and Drug-Free Schools, so the Family Research Council is out for blood. Jennings spoke at last spring’s Representative Assembly of NYSUT, and gave an absolutely dynamite speech.

If you agree that he is fit to guide your children, you might want to sign the GLSEN petition in support of Jennings.

UPDATE: A Fact Check at Think Progress demolishes the Family Research Council’s slanders against Jennings.

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1 Comment:

  • 1 Phyllis C. Murray
    · Jul 4, 2009 at 4:37 pm

    Dear Mr. Jennings:

    I attended the NYSUT Conference in Buffalo, NY. I applaud you on the work that you have courageously undertaken. I wrote the article (which I am forwarding to you) several years ago. Sadly, things are not getting
    better.

    We must educate the public. However, the NYS mandate of 1994 ,which addresses, human rights issues must begin in our schools.

    Sincere regards,
    Phyllis C. Murray, UFT Chapter Leader

    The Growth of Intolerance Today
    By Phyllis C. Murray
    .

    Preface

    WHEREAS recognition of the inherent dignity and of the equal and inalienable rights of all members of the human family is the foundation of freedom, justice and peace in the world,
    WHEREAS disregard and contempt for human rights have resulted in barbarous acts which have outraged the conscience of mankind, and the advent of a world in which human beings shall enjoy freedom of speech and belief and freedom from fear and want has been proclaimed as the highest aspiration of the common people,
    WHEREAS it is essential, if man is not to be compelled to have recourse, as a last resort, to rebellion against tyranny and oppression, that human rights should be protected by the rule of law. United Nation Dec. 1948

    Intolerance. What is it? The dictionary has termed intolerance as a negative portrayal of someone or something due to one’s own prejudice. Intolerance has also been cited as a precursor to violence and in its severest form it leads to genocide. The Holocaust has been mentioned as the most infamous example of intolerance in the Western culture. Intolerance of different cultures other than the Dutch or British made colonialism and slavery possible in the New World. And we can still see how discrimination continues as the remnants of an old slavery system in America, dies hard.

    Knowing this, why does intolerance continue to flourish. Why has it grown in leaps and bounds as hate crimes proliferate urban, suburban, and rural communities? Surely, we have seen how discrimination, harassment and bullying leads to violence on school campuses throughout the nation. Columbine is a classic example of that. We have also seen how freedom of speech has been twisted to provide a license for people to wage a war of hate throughout the media and Internet, as ethnic jokes, black-face parodies, and ill humor based on another’s race, religious affiliation, sexual orientation become salable. And even though these vignettes are morally wrong, they provide hours of comic relief to a very wide audience, while graffiti strewn on large surfaces become billboards of hate. Desecration of religious symbols in public places (at the pentacle of a holy day) is just another indication that all is not well in morbidly tense communities.

    As we look at the growth of intolerance around us, which is mimicked by some children in hate-speech, it becomes obvious that something is missing in our schools. Our schools are entrusted with the job of educating our youth in academic subjects as well as infusing students with moral qualities in order to prepare them for full participation in our democratic society. If this is not being done, then doing nothing is doing something harmful which promotes intolerance.

    “Morality cannot be legislated, said Dr. Martin Luther King, ” but behavior can be regulated. It may be true that the law cannot change the heart, but it can restrain the heartless. It may be true that the law cannot make a man love me, but it can restrain him from lynching me —and I think that is important also. And so, while education may not be able to change the hearts of men, it can change the habits of men. And when the habits are changed, pretty soon the attitudes will change. The hearts will be changed, and men will be able to come together as brothers, recognizing the naturalness and the rightness of their togetherness.” Excerpt from Martin Luther King speech to the United Federation of Teachers 1964

    With this truth in mind, we should revisit an April 20, 1994, mandate from The New York State Legislature.

    “In order to promote a spirit of patriotic and civic service and obligation and to foster in the children of the state moral and intellectual qualities which are essential in preparing to meet the obligations of citizenship in peace or in war, the regents of the University of the State of New York shall prescribe a course of instruction in patriotism, citizenship and human rights issues, with particular attention to the study of the inhumanity of genocide, slavery, and the Holocaust, to be maintained and followed in all the schools of the state.”

    Certainly, implementing this mandate in schools, would be a big step today toward ending the growth of intolerance in the future.