Randy Hall | Staff Writer/Editor | Tuesday, February 26, 2008
However, a national pro-family group is criticizing the publication as "giving parents 16,000 new reasons to question the agenda of national teachers' union leaders" and is offering a flier of its own to equip parents "to oppose this promotion of homosexuality in your child's school."
"Just the Facts About Sexual Orientation and Youth: A Primer for Principals, Educators and School Personnel" serves as a guide for public school employees "who confront sensitive issues involving gay, lesbian and bisexual students," the coalition of 13 national associations said in a news release announcing the distribution of the booklet.
According to the "group of education, health, mental health and religious organizations," the brochure "includes the most recent information from professional health organizations, as well as up-to-date information on the legal responsibility of school officials to protect students from anti-gay harassment."
"The opportunity for students to learn is diminished when they do not feel safe or supported at school," the coalition stated. "In addition to assault and harassment, gay, lesbian and bisexual students experience high rates of emotional distress, suicide attempts and substance abuse.
"These factors hinder their emotional and social development, as well as their ability to succeed in school," the organization added. "It is our responsibility to provide accurate and factual information. We believe this publication will be a valuable tool to help educators, administrators and others concerned with caring for America's students."
First formed in 1998, the coalition produced the original version of "Just the Facts" to respond to concerns that school personnel were receiving inaccurate information on the issue of sexual orientation. The updated publication reflects the coalition's continuing concern about the safety and well-being of "gay, lesbian and bisexual" students.
Led by the National Education Association (NEA) and the American Psychological Association (APA), the coalition includes the American Academy of Pediatrics, the American Counseling Association, the American Association of School Administrators, the American Federation of Teachers and the American School Counselor Association.
The release was distributed by the APA, "the largest scientific and professional organization representing psychology in the United States" and "the world's largest association of psychologists."
'Incubators for radical social agendas'
Tony Perkins, president of the conservative Family Research Council (FRC), dismissed the project in an e-mail statement as evidence for parents to question the agenda of the NEA and its allies.
"Among the so-called 'facts' in the 24-page document is the opinion that homosexuality is 'a normal expression of human sexuality,'" Perkins said.
"The booklet also warns teachers not to discuss 'transformational ministries' that suggest homosexuality is a condition that can be changed," he said. "Religious-based views are regarded as harmful, if not dangerous.
"This is no surprise to those who have followed the leftward drift of the NEA leadership," Perkins added. "For years, the organization has used teachers' dues to subsidize its top officials' left-wing fanaticism, which includes everything from promoting homosexuality and abortion in schools to pushing birth control."
And the APA "is no better," he said. "In the past few decades, the group has gone from listing homosexuality as a mental disorder to becoming one of its biggest champions in the public square.
"Now both groups are using their influence to transform public schools into incubators for their radical social agendas," Perkins said. "These lessons in political correctness must stop!"
To "equip parents to oppose this promotion of homosexuality," the FRC offers a 36-page document of its own: "Homosexuality in Your Child's School" by Peter Sprigg, the group's vice president for policy.
"Despite decades of activism and media propaganda promoting acceptance and celebration of homosexuality, and a number of political and judicial victories for the pro-homosexual movement, polls show that a clear majority of Americans still believe that homosexual behavior is 'morally wrong,'" Sprigg stated in the brochure.
Homosexual activists have therefore decided that "indoctrinating impressionable school children is an easier way of changing public attitudes toward homosexuality than persuading adults," Sprigg noted.
"That's one recruitment drive that has no place on the campuses of America's public schools," Sprigg added.
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