Friday, April 29, 2005

Bigotry rears ugly head in Lexington

The following is also an eye-rolling exercise in so-called journalism:

Here’s the story from the Associated Press, from the local NBC affiliate website:

Father Of 6-Year-Old Confronts School Over Book With Same-Sex Parents
LEXINGTON (AP) -- A dispute over a children's book that includes gay characters leads to the arrest of a father in Lexington.

David Parker refused to leave the Estabrook elementary school yesterday after a meeting with School Superintendent Bill Hurley. Parker confronted school officials after his six-year-old son brought home a book titled "Who's in a Family?" The book includes parents who are gay.

In a statement, Parker says he asked that he be notified in the future anytime his son is exposed to classroom discussion about same-sex households. Parker says the superintendent turned down the request.

When he refused to leave, Parker was arrested for trespassing on school property.

same story from the site

Parent Arrested Protesting Gay Kids' Book
by Margo Williams Boston Bureau

Posted: April 28, 2005  9:00 pm ET

(Boston, Massachusetts) Police arrested the father of a six year old boy after he refused to leave a Lexington, Mass. school where he was protesting against a children's' book with gay characters.

David Parker became enraged when he discovered his son had brought home the book "Who's in a Family.'

The book by Robert Skutch, and illustrated by Laura Nienhaus is aimed at children between three and seven. It catalogues a variety of multicultural contemporary family units, including those with single parents, lesbian and gay parents, mixed-race couples, grandparents and divorced parents.

But, it was the inclusion of same-sex parents that angered Parker. He confronted officials at the Joseph Estabrook School. 

Parker, who is a member of the Article 8 Alliance, which supports the ouster of four judges on the state's Supreme Judicial Court who ruled in favor of same-sex marriage, demanded that the book be removed from the school library and that his son be pulled from discussions about homosexuality whether they are in planned lessons or arise spontaneously, 

Lexington Schools Superintendent Bill Hurley rejected both demands. 

When Parker refused to leave the meeting police were called and he was charged with trespassing.

In court today Parker pleaded not guilty and was released on $100 cash bail and ordered to stay off school grounds.

After his release, Parker said teaching children about homosexuality should be left to parents not teachers.

"Because of the same-sex (marriage) law, people are treating it as a mandate to teach the youngest children," he said. "It is not a mandate to teach the youngest of children, particularly if parents say, 'Hold on, I want to be the gatekeeper of the information.'"

Worcester Telegram headline, with the AP story (and can you GET a WORSE headline?!?!):

Man arrested after dispute over gay lifestyle teachings pleads innocent

The Associated Press

CONCORD, Mass— A Lexington father who wouldn't leave school property after officials refused his demand to remove his 6-year-old son from discussions about homosexuality pleaded innocent to a trespassing charge Thursday.

David Parker, 42, of Lexington was released on $100 cash bail after his arraignment in Concord District Court and ordered to stay off school grounds.

After his release, Parker said he wanted to teach his son about gay lifestyles, not leave it to a teacher.

"Because of the same-sex (marriage) law, people are treating it as a mandate to teach the youngest children," he said. "It is not a mandate to teach the youngest of children, particularly if parents say, 'Hold on, I want to be the gatekeeper of the information.'"

Lexington school officials released a short statement dealing with the facts of the arrest and did not immediately return a request for comment.

Parker first complained to officials at Joseph Estabrook School in January, after his son brought home a book called "Who's in a Family?", which included pictures of same-sex households. He was arrested after a meeting Wednesday in which school officials refused to notify him whenever homosexuality was discussed and remove his son from class.

Parker spent the night in a cell at the Lexington police station.

And here’s the Christian extremist coverage, from the agape press:

Report: Christian Parent Arrested After Being Denied Say-So in Son's Education

By Jody Brown
April 28, 2005
(AgapePress) - A Massachusetts group battling judicial activism and the advancing homosexual agenda in their state is reporting that the father of a kindergarten student was arrested on Wednesday during a scheduled meeting with the principal of his son's school. Since January, the father of the six-year-old had been attempting to get his son opted-out from discussions portraying homosexuality as acceptable.

According to reports by the Article 8 Alliance, David Parker and his wife Tonia had been in e-mail contact with Joni Jay, principal of Estabrook Elementary School in Lexington regarding material brought home by their son from school. The "Diversity Book Bag" included a book titled Who's in a Family, which portrays same-sex parent families as morally equivalent to traditional families. The Parkers, over the course of several e-mails with Principal Jay, attempted to make it clear they wanted their son removed from the classroom any time discussions or displays dealt with homosexuality -- and they sought a commitment from the principal that their desires would be accommodated.

"You are not permitted to infringe upon our religious beliefs and parental rights or obviate our freedom of choice, to exclude our son from material that would expose him to beliefs contrary to the Word of God in our Christian faith," the Parkers wrote in a March 4 e-mail to Jay.

After attending an "anti-bias meeting" in early April, David Parker again requested a meeting with Jay, which occurred yesterday (Wednesday, April 27). Article 8 Alliance reports that during that meeting, Mr. Parker reiterated his demands: that the school inform him when the topic of homosexuality was to be discussed with his son, and that the school permit his son not be included in those discussions. Parker's requests were reportedly denied by the principal, the director of education, and the superintendent.

Parker refused to leave the school unless his requests were granted, says a press statement -- and then police were summoned, who informed the father he would be arrested if he did not leave the school. When he did not, school officials had Parker arrested for trespassing.

Article 8 Alliance says Parker spent the night in jail, and was scheduled for arraignment Thursday morning. Brian Camenker of the Alliance is a friend of Parkers. "This is an unbelievable outrage," Camenker states. "It's where last year's same-sex 'marriage' ruling has brought us."

Camenker's group is seeking to remove the four judges on the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Council whose vote imposed homosexual marriage on the Bay State. The Alliance contends those four jurists unconstitutionally changed state law.

The group also is seeking to strengthen the state's "Parental Notification and Consent Law" so that parents would no longer have to "opt-out" their children in cases like the Parkers', but instead would have to choose to "opt-in." The Article 8 Alliance says homosexual activists are opposed to the move because they "know that this will stop the homosexual agenda in the public schools by giving parents the power."

and this guy has the unmitigated GALL to be on the anti-bias committee at the elementary school! i guess he just wants to make sure there’s no bias against intolerant ignorant stupid people.

Lexington Minuteman Online

Parents upset with silence day
By Bethan L. Jones
Thursday, April 28, 2005

The effects of the Day of Silence held at Lexington High School two weeks ago is anything but quiet.
     At the School Committee meeting Tuesday night, several parents and community members spoke out against what was called by one Lowell Street resident as the "homosexual agenda of Lexington High School."
     LHS was the location of adult protestng and students battling out agendas inside the school. The Day of Silence is a national effort to recognize those who feel disenfranchised because of the social bias against their sexual orientation.
     In the public comment section of Tuesday's meeting, several stood up to speak against the actions of school system.
     Parent David Parker of Bedford Street and a member of the anti-bias committee at Estabrook Elementary School said he was unhappy with the planned distribution of school books depicting homosexual parents.
     "[Schools] have unfettered ... access to children's psyches," he said, adding he resents being denied the role of gatekeeper of the information his son is exposed to.
     Parker said the accepting of homosexuality is inextricably linked to the sexual element of the lifestyle, something he felt the schools should not foster.
     Lorraine Fournier of Cedar Street said she finds "what's happening in the school system appalling," attributing the efforts to the "liberal agendas of the school system."
     She protested that words which demean students who are homosexual are banned from the schools but other words like "bigot" and "homophobe" are still used, making students who are exercising their rights feel threatened.
     "You have no right to do that to any student who walks through that door," she said.
     The School Committee and LHS Principal Michael Jones did not comment.

BTW, dontcha just LOVE that stupid woman’s comment in the last article, where she protests that it’s OK to use words like “bigot” and “homophobe” but it’s not OK to use demeaning words about homosexuals. This, of course, is an interesting First Amendment argument; theoretically maybe she has a point. Technically, realistically, and in context of creating an atmosphere of fear and fomenting hatred and perhaps violence, let’s just say we don’t see too many groups uniting to promote diversity and tolerance practicing HATRED and BIGOTRY in the name of religion or freedom. Hate speech is more likely to come under the 1st amendment exception of yelling “fire” in a crowded movie theatre for no reason.

All righty, this leads to the following, contacts for the school administrators if you feel like writing notes of support:

For the first story about the arrested bigot:
Estabrook Elementary

117 Grove Street
Lexington, MA 02420
(781) 861-2520
Joni Jay, Principal

superintendent of schools
William Hurley, Superintendent (781) 861-2550

for the second story about silence day:
Lexington High School

251 Waltham Street
Lexington, MA 02421
(781) 861-2320, ext. 1000
Dr. Michael Jones, Principal

as for the lexington minuteman online, the only thing i could find for letters was a general “contact us” form for the herald, the parent company:

there are pulldown menus to indicate where you would like your comment to be directed.

Tuesday, April 19, 2005

I should be ranting about Time magazine's abhorrent neocon pandering . . .

. . . but it's too close to bedtime. Instead, another delightful news brief from The Onion.

New Tech-Support Caste Arises In India

NEW DELHI—Thanks to widespread outsourcing of telephone-service jobs, a sixth caste has blossomed in India: the Khidakayas, a mid-level jati made up of technical-support workers. "I am happy to be a Khidakaya," said technical-support agent Ranji Prasat, who speaks English with a flawless American accent and goes by the name "Ron" at work. "While we rank below members of the reigning order, those of us responsible for helping Americans track their online purchases and change their account PINs share many privileges not enjoyed by the merchant class below us." Prasat said he expects to marry another tech-support worker.