Thursday, April 20, 2006

I Should Be a Teacher

Parents rip school over gay storybook

In a controversy with a familiar ring, parents of a Lexington second-grader are protesting that their son's teacher read a fairy tale about gay marriage to the class without warning parents first.

The teacher at Joseph Estabrook Elementary School used the children's book, "King & King," as part of a lesson about different types of weddings. A prince marries another prince instead of a princess in the book, which was on the American Library Association's list of the 10 most challenged books in 2004 because of its homosexual theme.

Right up front, I am a supporter of gay rights, and of the rights of gays to marry, so don't get any ideas of labeling me with any of that "hate-filled bigot" bullshit.

That said, we're talking seven-year-old kids here, people.

This is just wrong.

"My son is only 7 years old," said Lexington parent Robin Wirthlin, who complained to the school system last month and will meet with the superintendent next week. "By presenting this kind of issue at such a young age, they're trying to indoctrinate our children. They're intentionally presenting this as a norm, and it's not a value that our family supports."

How can anyone say there's nothing wrong with introducing the "reality" of gay marriage and the gay lifestyle to seven-year-olds whose current reality likely includes belief in Santa Claus and the Easter Bunny? [UPDATE: Hell, I wouldn't want my kids at that age to be introduced to the reality of the romantic relations of heterosexual couples] Let the kids be kids, and teach them how to read, write, and find the United States of America on a map of the world. Get the social engineering out of the schools and allow that responsibility to remain with the parents where it belongs.

She complained more than a year after Lexington parent David Parker was arrested for trespassing, because he refused to leave the Estabrook school grounds until administrators allowed him to opt his son out of discussions about families with same-sex parents. The latest incident has renewed the efforts of Waltham-based Parents' Rights Coalition to rid the state's schools of books and lessons that relate to homosexuality, and led the school system to reemphasize its stance on teaching about gay marriage and related issues as part of larger lessons on diversity and tolerance.

Diversity and tolerance? When I was in second grade, I was learning how to read, write, and do math, with a little bit of "do unto others" thrown in for good measure. What kind of deranged agenda was that?

Lexington Superintendent of Schools Paul Ash said Estabrook has no legal obligation to notify parents about the book. "We couldn't run a public school system if every parent who feels some topic is objectionable to them for moral or religious reasons decides their child should be removed," he said. "Lexington is committed to teaching children about the world they live in, and in Massachusetts same-sex marriage is legal."

Because it's "legal"? That's his current litmus test for determining the school's educational curriculum?


Dear Superintendent Ash:

I'm writing to let you know I'll be heading on over to the Estabrook Elementary School this Monday to start a one-week stint as a guest educator. And, I'm bringing some wonderful educational material with me, in my "diversity book bag". Now, don't get your panties in a twist, Paul. Only LEGAL topics will be discussed when I take to the hallways and classrooms of this fine academic institution of yours.

I'll start with first-grade storytime and this fine book, The Great Book of Guns: An Illustrated History of Military, Sporting, and Antique Firearms. Lots of pictures for the young 'uns to look at!

Next up, right before lunch, I'll hit the second-graders' classrooms and read to them from this excellent book on safety in and around the home, George Tooley's Beginner's Book on How to Handle Firearms Safely . What could be more important than teaching our children how to be safe?

After lunch and recess - you do let the kids run around and play like, well, kids these days, right? - I'll sit down with some of your third graders and have a lesson in wildlife conservation with this educational tome, Hunting in North America: Big Game, Small Game, Upland Birds, Waterfowl, Wild Turkey. Surely, this will pass muster with you and your PC police force.

I must say, I look forward to the opportunity to assist you in molding the minds of the young people in your charge.


Bruce [name withheld]
Roslindale, MA