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Dr. Warren Throckmorton Christian Blog and Commentary

The Return of the Parents

  • Dr. Warren Throckmorton
    Warren Throckmorton, PhD is Associate Professor of Psychology and Fellow for Psychology and Public Policy at Grove City College (PA). He co-founded the Golden Rule Pledge which advocates bullying prevention in evangelical churches. His academic articles have been published by journals of the American Psychological Association and he is past president of the American Mental Health Counselors Association. He is the author with fellow Grove City College professor, Michael Coulter, of the book, Getting Jefferson Right: Fact Checking Claims About Our Third President. Over 200 newspapers have published his columns. He can be reached at ewthrockmorton@gcc.edu.
  • 2005 May 16
  • Comments

Weekly it seems a new situation comes into the public consciousness where schools are the centers of controversy over what to teach regarding sexuality and sexual orientation. Here are a sampling of the most recent situations:

 

  • Two parent groups in Montgomery County, Maryland sued the school board over a proposed health education curriculum partially based on resources provided by homosexual advocacy groups. The curriculum and accompanying resources were so biased that a federal judge issued a temporary restraining order to halt the implementation of the changes. The order was recently continued until December, 2005.
  • One of the groups involved in the Montgomery County, Maryland lawsuit was recently rejected in its bid to exhibit its literature at the national convention of the National Parent-Teacher Association (PTA). PFOX is crying foul because a comparable group, the Parents and Friends of Lesbians and Gays (PFLAG), was allowed to exhibit at no cost last year and is back again this year. At least one of the state PTA associations is not happy. The Mississippi chapter of the PTA is supporting the right of PFOX to be at the national convention.
  • The Iowa State Board of Education will soon determine if the Pleasant Valley (IA) School Board was correct to limit a pro-gay children’s book to the middle school. After a father complained, the school board voted 4-3 to remove the Misfits by James Howe from the elementary school as a read aloud book. The Misfits author has said publicly that he wanted to write a book with a gay character that would help change beliefs concerning homosexuality.
  • In Massachusetts, a father was arrested because he refused to leave his son’s elementary school until the principal agreed to follow Massachusetts parental notification law concerning sexual content in instruction. The father, David Parker, wanted to introduce the subject of homosexuality to his 6 year old rather than the school taking that role. Schools officials declined to notify the father as required by law and provided books to kindergarten students that portrayed gay couples along side heterosexual couples.
  • At this year’s convention, the Southern Baptist Convention will be considering a resolution proposing that parents investigate whether the schools in their town promote homosexual advocacy. If schools do and will not listen, parents will be encouraged to find other educational options.

 

What are we to make of these eruptions of controversy?

 

The educational establishment, as represented by the National Education Association, would have us believe these parents are closed minded or maybe even uncaring. When asked about the Southern Baptist resolution, Melinda Anderson, a spokeswoman for the NEA huffed: ''It really baffles me how a caring parent could find fault with public schools for trying to teach children to be respectful of others.''

 

What baffles me is how groups like the NEA and PTA can miss the significance of these parental uprisings. In states blue and red, mainstream parents are becoming organized in unprecedented ways to express frustration over how homosexuality is being taught to children from kindergarten to high school. The mantra recited by the educational establishment comes off sounding like a feeble attempt at a Jedi mind trick – ‘what we teach about homosexuality is none of your concern; you want safe schools don’t you?’ Waving the club of tolerance, the educational establishment smugly proceeds to denigrate one set of beliefs regarding homosexuality in order to promote another.

 

Parents such as those who brought suit in Montgomery County are the most offended by the continual specter of unsafe schools raised by the educational establishment. Are schools unsafe because of traditional beliefs concerning homosexuality? There is no research evidence to that effect. None.

 

Mainstream parents appear to be fed up with being told that their values and beliefs are intolerant, homophobic and even worse, responsible for the bullying of children. Read again the NEA statement concerning the Southern Baptist resolution. Ms. Anderson suggests that all the public schools are trying to do is teach respect; parents would like a little of that respect.

 

If the educational establishment does not make some moves to insure moral neutrality in instruction, I predict we will see court cases such as Montgomery County’s

replicated throughout the land.

 

In short, more parents will be coming back to school.