A somewhat large portion of the Winston Salem / Forsyth County School Board candidate forum held on Monday night was spent on the topic of bullying. I believe any parent would find this topic one near and dear to their hearts- no parent wants to see bullying in a child’s life … you would think. The parents who brought up the topic had a child who was put in In School Suspension (ISS) for defending himself, and every candidate on the panel of eleven (of the eighteen running in this non partisan race) seemed to agree that this was a policy that needed to be revisited. “If it was my child, I’d say ‘punch him’ “, said conservative candidate Lori Clark about how she would advise her young son on how to deal with a bully. Needless to say, common sense abound at that moment with a round of applause. Lori went on to say “We need to teach children [not to] bully, and don’t allow it to go on”. There were a number of other candidates who agreed that bullying was a result of a larger, cultural trend of parents ignoring the bad behavior, ultimately encouraging it through lack of correction (paraphrased). All agreed the policy of “both offenders”(- the bully and the one being bullied who fought back being punished) needed to be changed, when conservative candidate Jeannie Metcalf brought up the fact that school principals can override that policy if they deem it necessary.
The highlight of the evening, however, come from a random thought from Jim Toole, who brought up last year’s visit by the “Safe Schools Czar” (and his high school friend?) Kevin Jennings:
So who is Kevin Jennings?
“Safe Schools Czar Kevin Jennings was the founder, and for many years, Executive Director of an organization called the Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education Network (GLSEN). GLSEN started essentially as Jennings’ personal project and grew to become the culmination of his life’s work. … GLSEN also strives to influence the educational curriculum to include materials which the group believes will increase tolerance of gay students and decrease bullying. To that end, GLSEN maintains a recommended reading list of books that it claims “furthers our mission to ensure safe schools for all students.” In other words, these are the books that GLSEN’s directors think all kids should be reading: gay kids should read them to raise their self-esteem, and straight kids should read them in order to become more aware and tolerant and stop bullying gay kids. Through GLSEN’s online ordering system, called “GLSEN BookLink,” featured prominently on their Web site, teachers can buy the books to use as required classroom assignments, or students can buy them to read on their own…” [read more]
The firestorm of controversy stirred up around Mr. Jennings when reports come out of him * having failed to report that a 15-year-old sophomore student in his school had told him of having sex with an older man.
“According to Mr. Jennings’ own description in a new audiotape discovered by Fox News, the 15-year-old boy met the “older man” in a “bus station bathroom” and was taken to the older man’s home that night. When some details about the case became public, Mr. Jennings threatened to sue another teacher who called his failure to report the statutory rape “unethical.” Mr. Jennings’ defenders asserted that there was no evidence that he was aware the student had sex with the older man.
However, the new audiotape contradicts this claim. In 2000, Mr. Jennings gave a talk to the Iowa chapter of the Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education Network, an advocacy group that promotes homosexuality in schools. On the tape, Mr. Jennings recollected that he told the student to make sure “to use a condom” when he was with the older man. That he actively encouraged the relationship is reinforced by Mr. Jennings’ own description in his 1994 book, “One Teacher in 10.” In that account, the teacher boasts how he allayed the student’s concerns about the relationship to such a degree that the 15-year-old “left my office with a smile on his face that I would see every time I saw him on the campus for the next two years, until he graduated.” ” *
That was only the beginning. Not long after, it was uncovered that Mr. Jennings publicly praised a man named Harry Hays, a renowned NAMBLA supporter. (In this day of acronyms, let us remind our readers what NAMBLA means: North American Man Boy Love Association.) Even gay conservatives had doubts about the left’s protection of this Obama appointee, and was able to look through the spin to the core of the issue. (Interested in the debunking of the defense?; read more.)
So back to our school board forum held Monday night of this week. In a profitable discussion among school board candidates, both republicans and democrats participating and agreeing, this one candidate feels the need to bring up this extremely controversial public figure, and scours at the reception this controversial figure received in Winston Salem. The irony? Your blogger has been unable to find any documentation about such bad reception upon his visit to Winston Salem (where he went to high school with candidate Toole, it appears). Research shows that the visit was this year, and with the Journal’s hyperactive tendency to jump on anything that would make people who disagree with the liberal mindset bigoted, I can say I can wholeheartedly depend on their reporting abilities if, in fact, he received a reception as horrendous as Mr. Toole described.
Side note: Candidate Donald Dunn said concerning the topic of bullying that our current school board has some of the weakest policies in the state and that they should be tightened, but said our “Safe Schools Czar” said-
“Schools also must be safe places where students can learn despite the persistent problem of bullying and name-calling among students, he said. Administrators must take steps to preventing bullying…. Jennings pointed to the efforts of the Winston-Salem/Forsyth County Schools to prevent bullying and North Carolina’s cyberbullying law as effective tools to attack the problem.”
(So are the policies actually good, or bad?)
So lets conclude, shall we?
As Lori Roman asked:
“If you were looking for a tutor or even a babysitter for your child would you hire…
…a person who founded and ran an organization where instructors had explicitly described to middle school youngsters how to perform homosexual sexual acts?
…a teacher who had been told by a boy of 15 that he had been sexually abused by an older man, but did not tell authorities or his parents or do anything to protect the youngster from the abuser?
…a man who publicly stated that he was inspired by a man who was the number one proponent and promoter of pedophilia in the country?
…a person who wrote the forward to a book calledQueering Elementary Education?
…a person who has publicly, in writing and in speeches, ridiculed and demeaned people of faith?
…a person who has publicly, in writing, encouraged young people to defy their parents and religious leaders?”
Lets add … if you were looking to hire one to be a leader in your school system, would you hire someone who:
… brings an extreme partisan political figure into a non partisan electoral forum in a conversation where all were in agreement, no less?
… when asked by a parent if he was aware of the extreme partisan figure’s background (an honest, non partisan question considering the background!)- shouts at the parent?
… gets obviously greatly, outwardly offended at the idea of people not agreeing with such an extreme partisan political figure?
… when asked a second time for an answer, says the equivalent to “your vote is insignificant!”, and dismisses the parent?
… then proceeds to STICK THEIR TONGUE OUT LIKE A FOUR YEAR OLD?
It is our opinion that Jim Toole would bring the school board to an all time low. We question his communication abilities with teachers and staff who might not agree with him, as he has not proved to work well in that situation. Yours truly attempted after the forum to get a friendly, non partisan, promotional clip of him, and instead of saying yes like the others had, he had to condescendingly establish that I was indeed a conservative before he walked away. We would not want out school officials to receive the kind of tongue lashing he gave to the parent at Monday night’s forum, not to mention being shut out like he did with yours truly because I did not agree with his ideology, would we? That’s a chance I wouldn’t take with my vote.
It is our assertion that Jim Toole:
Has an agenda for our schools that does not include respect for ALL of the families in the system.
Has impulsive issues that can impact his work relationships.
Has the potential to be a bully himself via public intimidation.
… probably used Monday night’s forum to polish up playground phrases like “I’m rubber and you’re glue” and “I know you are but what am I?” for future debates like the one scheduled for this Thursday night (10/28) at Petree Elementary School starting at 6:30pm.