Wednesday, February 26, 2020

Missouri lawmaker resurrects already failed attempt to undermine LGBTQ issues in schools

A Missouri bill demonstrates the dual sad and comical mindset of those who think that it's dangerous for children to even know that the LGBTQ community exists.

From KMBC News in Kansas City:

State law could be changed to require that Missouri public school districts tell parents if class material, guest speakers or displays in school mention sexual orientation or gender identity, according to a report from MissouriNet. 
The Missouri House Elementary and Secondary Education Committee is debating state Rep. Chuck Basye’s bill that would let parents have their kids removed from class if they do not approve. Basye, R-Rocheport, said the bill is in response to a Columbia middle school Gay/Straight Alliance Club putting posters up without parents knowing. “I think the parents have a right to know what is in front of their children in public schools,” Basye told MissouriNet. “That’s the intent of the bill, nothing more, nothing less.” 
Under the legislation, Missouri schools could be sued for violating the terms. Basye, the chairman of the committee, says parents' concerns “tend to fall on deaf ears.” 
“A lot of people, a lot of parents feel that they’re not listened to, by whether it’s the school board, the administration, or what have you. That’s the design of the last part of this bill is to give this a little bit of teeth so parents can take action if they feel that they’re not being listened to or their child is subjected to something they don’t agree with,” Basye told MissouriNet. Rep. Raychel Proudie, D-Ferguson, says the measure treads on dangerous ground. She has served as a schoolteacher and counselor in public and charter schools in Missouri and elsewhere. 
“I would argue there’s no better place for information or a learning place than a school setting,” Proudie told MissouriNet. “I don’t see any like nude pictures or questionable words as far of obscenities on here. So, I’m not really clear what the issue was with this. If I put ‘Jesus Saves’ up, though, I could certainly see how my Jewish student would have an issue with that. I don’t take offense to your wanting to be involved in your child or your children’s education and the education of your community. But, I do insist that we’re not just talking about sex and sexuality but the actual worthiness and personhood of a group of individuals.”

Let's be clear. This bill is nothing more than a way to target the LGBTQ community. And that's because some folks are insistent on pigeonholing our lives as nothing more than their ideas of how we have sex. Furthermore, they are not satisfied until they make communities - and us - affirm their prejudices.

Not only that, but we've been down this road before. And it took us to the Supreme Court.

In 2005,  Massachusetts parent David Parker was arrested at his son's elementary school, Estabrook Elementary. He claimed that he was unfairly arrested because he was merely attempting to keep his son from being taught about "gay sexuality."

Then the truth came out. Parker was a fraud and the situation was deliberately overblown.

His son brought home a book which mentioned a same-sex family (editor's note - Parker's son was given what was called a "diversity book bag." This wouldn't have happened had Parker signed the form which would have opted his son out of receiving the book bag.) When Parker informed the school of this, they assured him that "learning about homosexuality" was not a part of his son's curriculum. They also told Parker that opting his son out of discussions of same-sex families was not possible because some children in his son's class are from those environments and children talking about their families isn't the same as learning about sex education. Parker was subsequently arrested for trespassing when he would not leave the school after a meeting with school officials.   

Parker and his allies took the case all of the way to the Supreme Court after losing in several lower courts.  In 2008, SCOTUS declined to hear the case, agreeing with the lower court rulings.

So this nonsense being pushed in Missouri is not original. Let's hope that it's as doomed to failure as it was in 2008.

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