Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Anti-lgbtq hate group continues to target exonerated high school teacher

Mat Staver  and his group, the Liberty Counsel, continues to target an openly gay Florida teacher.

Last month, I posted about how conservative groups and anti-lgbtq hate groups targeted a Florida teacher, Lora Jane Riedas of Riverview High School, claiming that she was forcing her pro-lgbtq beliefs on students and discriminating against Christian students by making them take off their cross necklaces in her class.

After anti-lgtq hate group the Liberty Counsel sent a letter to the school district and the right-wing echo chamber tarnished Riedas's name (making sure to emphasize that she is openly gay), there was an investigation by the school district.

The investigation exonerated Riedas.

However, the Liberty Counsel doesn't want to let the situation end. The group is now claiming that the school district conducted a poor investigation and it is now representing four students. This new claim by the Liberty Counsel about the four students is an interesting twist to the situation seeing that students were interviewed during the  school district's investigation.

I'm going to post various parts of the Riedas exoneration letter sent by the district and compare them to the supposed refutations of the Liberty Counsel:

1. Riedas letter: 

The investigator asked multiple students if you directed a student to take off his “Make America Great Again” hat. The students agreed that you did, in fact, ask him to remove it. However, they advised that any student wearing a hat in class is required to take it off.

The Liberty Counsel:

 Riedas and her lesbian partner, also a teacher at the school, both confiscated a Trump “Make America Great Again” (MAGA) hat from our student client on separate occasions. Each time the hat was in the student’s hands, not on his head. Riedas has been a vocal Hillary Clinton supporter.

2.  Riedas letter:

 Although a few of the students advised the investigator you asked students to remove their cross necklaces, the majority reported that only students who wore rosary beads were asked to take them off. Subsequently, students advised that you explained that rosary beads were against the school’s dress code policy and may denote gang affiliation.

 The Liberty Counsel:

 Riedas told the investigator that only the students who wore rosary beads were asked to remove them because she said the rosary is a “gang” symbol. But, three students wearing small cross necklaces or crucifixes were told by Riedas to “take it off” or “take it off or cover it up.” One student wore a rosary, which is neither a “gang” symbol nor against school policy. The rosary was provided to the student after receiving it for confirmation, as a symbol of faith. 

3. Riedas letter:

 Additionally, students disclosed that the stickers you placed on their folders did not have LGBT letters on them and every student interviewed advised the investigator you do not promote LGBT issues in class. You admitted utilizing your personal Twitter and Facebook account, however, you stated it was not during instructional time. Furthermore, you did not use your role as the R.G.S.A. sponsor to coerce, force, or encourage students to participate in Riverview’s Day of Silence, as verified from the email you sent through Riverview internal. Specifically, you stated, “The students of R.G.S.A., who are sponsoring this event at RHS, thank you in advance for your support.”

 Liberty Counsel:

 Reidas admitted to the school investigator that she used personal Twitter and Facebook accounts but stated it was not during instructional time. She also stated that she did not use her role as the Riverview Gay-Straight Alliance (RGSA) sponsor to coerce students to participate in Riverview’s Day of Silence. Ms. Riedas’ (and Hillsborough Schools) also claim that RGSA club activities are exclusively “student led.” But, Riedas’ social media and emails were sent during instructional hours through the Riverview internal internet, promoting the club, GLSEN events and political viewpoints. Moreover, Riedas specifically promoted the Gay, Lesbian, Straight Education Network’s (GLSEN) publicly coercive “Teacher’s Guide” to pro-LGBT classroom activism on “Day of Silence,” without any caveats, urging other teachers to implement its classroom coercion. .

 . . The school stated that the stickers Riedas placed on students’ folders did not have LGBT letters on them and did not promote LGBT issues in class. But, Riedas placed rainbow stickers on all the students’ notebooks at the beginning of the school year. She is a trained GLSEN activist with photographic evidence on her social media profiles that the stickers are pro-LGBT, and her classroom is blatantly decorated with pro-LGBT political ideology. In the classroom, she also displays an upside-down rainbow triangle. The school never addressed the large buttons prominently displayed in the classroom, including “I LOVE MY LGBT STUDENTS,” “Proud Public Employee,” and a GLSEN button. Nor did the school address the paper cutout on the wall spelling “ALLY” in which students sign their names.

 Of course folks can accuse me of bias in this situation (and they would have perhaps a little justification), but I think this latest attack by the Liberty Counsel is nonsense. The organization obviously read the letter sent to Riedas by the district and conjured up points disputing her exoneration.

The first two situations seem to be a case of "he said, she said" with Riedas possibly having an edge on credibility because she has students vouching for her. In any case, they hardly reach the level of extreme anti-Christian persecution implied by the Liberty Counsel and others seeking to portray Riedas as bigoted.

But it's the last situation which seems to be the gist of everything. Where the Liberty Counsel can't provide proof, it offers innuendo and semantics. Phrases like  "publicly coercive," "class coercion," and  "pro-LGBT political ideology,"  are used to imply that students are being supposedly indoctrinated into something against their will.

Eliminate the spooky phrases and you have nothing.

Which, by the way, is what this entire ridiculous fake outrage boils down to. Nothing more than a hate group targeting an innocent teacher for the purpose of its own prejudiced agenda.

Hat tip to Right Wing Watch


Wyn Williams said...

They are doing it both to further their anti LGBT agenda and to (and mostly I think) raise money

BJohnM said...

As a Hillsborough County resident, I exchanged emails with the Superintendent explaining the modus operandi of this group. They have done exactly what I told him they would do...no amount of investigation or action short of firing the teacher would satisfy them, and even after that, they would continue attacking the entire school system.

By giving them an ounce of credibility, he's brought this on his district.