|Back to April Ed Reporter|
|NUMBER 171||THE NEWSPAPER OF EDUCATION RIGHTS||APRIL 2000|
Group helping homosexuals comes under attack|
BRANDON, FL - Former gay activist John Paulk, now a policy analyst for the Colorado-based pro-family organization Focus on the Family, is in his second year of conducting "Love Won Out" symposia around the country. During these conferences, he shares the message (based on personal experience) that homosexuality can be treated and even prevented in young people. While stressing that science has not proven a biological origin for homosexuality, Paulk cites a variety of emotional causes, and urges parents to "stay involved in your children's lives" and "get them to open up."
About 700 parents, teachers, pastors, youth group leaders, and interested citizens showed up at the Brandon symposium (near Tampa) in late February. In retaliation, homosexual activists sprayed two area church buildings with pink paint and claimed to have planted a bomb inside one of them. The group telephoned a local TV station to claim responsibility for the vandalism and threatened to disrupt worship services.
Vandalism has not been the only response to Paulk's message. According to the New York Times (11-23-99), a coalition calling itself "Just the Facts," representing organizations including the American Academy of Pediatrics, the National Education Association (NEA) and the American Psychological Association, sent a 12-page booklet to the nation's nearly 15,000 school superintendents claiming there is "no support among health and mental health professional organizations" for the concept that homosexuality is "abnormal or mentally unhealthy."
An NEA spokesman said the coalition was formed "after members heard about the 'Love Won Out' conferences." The publication warns against "reparative therapy" (such as Paulk's) and cautions superintendents that, because of its religious nature, any endorsement of "transformational" ministries "in a school-related context could raise constitutional problems."
Judge orders school board to allow gay club
ORANGE, CA - A Gay/Straight Alliance club began meeting at the El Modena High School in February after a federal judge ordered the local school board to recognize the group. The 31,000-student district's board, with the support of many parents and students, voted unanimously in December to deny the group's application for inclusion as a school club.
According to Education Week (2-16-00), the school board reacted to the judge's order by requiring "written parental permission and a 2.0 grade point average for all students to join clubs." The new policy would prohibit any discussion of sexual activity at all club meetings.