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Scotts Valley Parents Protest Gay Tolerance

More than 300 students, parents, teachers, and administrators turned out Scotts Valley High School last night for a special board meeting to address charges that the school promotes a "Gay Agenda." Board members determined that Scotts Valley High is acting in compliance with AB 537, The California Student Safety and Violence Prevention Act of 2000 which prohibits discrimination and harassment on the basis of actual or perceived sexual orientation and gender identity in California public schools. FSRN correspondent Vinny Lombardo has our story.
1_svh_queer.mp3
svh_queer.mp3 (2800 k)
The controversy at Scotts Valley High first flared up more than two years ago, when one parent, Don D'Andrea, raised an eyebrow at posters hanging in the classroom with slogans like "Safe person, Safe space" and "Respect for all families."

DD: "It depicts lesbian mothers with children, gay fathers with children, other non-heterosexual families with children. It calls for RESPECT for homosexuality." :09

D'Andrea says the display of these posters is a de facto endorsement by school administrators, of a lifestyle that runs counter to some students' moral and religious values. The students are a captive audience, and the poster's do not belong he says, because they unfairly single out one group of people.

DD: "In captive audience classrooms, parents expect teachers NOT TO TEACH, verbal, written or posted support for homosexual practices, but instead teach apporopriate behavior towards all persons." :12

Michelle Smith, a junior at Scotts Valley High, thinks high school should be more than learning about math, science, and grammar

MS: "...its neccesary to learn about life outside of the classroom. The classroom is where you learn what you need in life and what we need in life is tolerance. Theres too many examples in this school of people being.... of.... discrimination and intolerance...." :13

KW: "Um, kids would call me faggot, um..." :03

Eighteen year-old Kyle Wehrman, is a gay student who came out in the eighth grade. Now a senior at Santa Cruz High,Wehrman transferred because of what he termed an "oppressive atmosphere" at his old school. In his freshman year at Scotts Valley High, Wehrman helped start Unity Through Diversity, a Gay/Straight student club. He says while the group's focus is on queer students, they try and give voice to all who are discriminated against.

KW: "We have religious tolerance days, we have education and awareness for all sorts of diversity, Unity Through Diversity does this." :08

D'Andrea and a vocal minority of parents, think the Unity Club should be disbanded. They're also upset that a lesbian couple, who both teach at Scotts Valley High, are raising a child together, and last year revealed to students they are gay.

RO: "Parents that I work closely with at this school have told me that their child should not have to respect all families. What they mean is they should not have to respect families like mine." :13

Rene Ohana, an English teacher at Scotts Valley High, is one of the women at the center of the controversy. Her registered domestic partner, Jill Ohana also teaches there. Two years ago, Rene gave birth to the couple's son. Like most new mothers, Rene was enamored with her baby, but unlike other moms, she was chastised for being a lesbian.

RO: "Apparantly the very mention of my family was a political act and not appropriate for the classroom. How do I tell my son that according to some people, he's not supposed to exist, our family is not supposed to exist?" :12

While no litigation is currently pending, D' Andrea last night threatened to sue the Scotts Valley School Board.

Vinny Lombardo. FSRN. Santa Cruz.
 
 


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Comments

Re: Scotts Valley Parents Protest Gay Tolerance

"D'Andrea and a vocal minority of parents, think the Unity Club should be disbanded. They're also upset that a lesbian couple, who both teach at Scotts Valley High, are raising a child together, and last year revealed to students they are gay. "

Im sick and tired of the fundis ramming their primitive beliefs down everyones throat. there is even a conservative show on Community TV. Its not like the religious right doesnt own TV stations and have satellites to broadcast their BS—now they even hog time on Community TV

Of course if anyone complained about this, they would yelp about their "freedom of speech" being curtailed—as they trample on the speech and reproductive rights of others.

The ACLU even supports the rights of Nazis and KKK to have freedom of speech.

So the question is How do we tolerate the intolerant without their boots in our faces?

Or , WHY should we tolerate the intolerant? A persons freedom ends where another persons begins.
 

Insecure Fascists

I think it's funny, in a way.

D'Andrea is jumping up and down, yelling hateful ideas, making it clear to everyone that he is a nasty, close-minded bigot.

Listen to him: he is actually complaining that the children are being taught "respect" for others. His ideas are hateful and ugly.

At this meeting, was there any clarification as to what this hatemonger is actually threatening to sue FOR? What is the LEGAL basis of his claim? I don't think there is one.

Poor Don, just can't stop thinking about homosexuality... just can't stop thinking about those taut-bodied high school boys. It must be painful to be so deeply in denial.
 

Re: Scotts Valley Parents Protest Gay Tolerance

audio file isn't working!!!
 

Re: Scotts Valley Parents Protest Gay Tolerance

"The ACLU even supports the rights of Nazis and KKK to have freedom of speech."

Are there any posters of Nazis and Klansmen in the classrooms with the message to respect their freedom of speech?
 

Re: Scotts Valley Parents Protest Gay Tolerance

H comes before I, and the sentence you need to read comes before the one you quoted...

"they would yelp about their "freedom of speech" being curtailed—as they trample on the speech and reproductive rights of others."
 

Re: Scotts Valley Parents Protest Gay Tolerance

ne@nderthal, you have made a good point about D'Andrea. Yes, he [D'Andrea] is actually complaining that the children are being taught "respect" for others.

However ne@nderthal, it seems that you are teasing D'Andrea by saying:

"Poor Don, just can't stop thinking about homosexuality... just can't stop thinking about those taut-bodied high school boys. It must be painful to be so deeply in denial."

It is true that homophobes are often homosexuals themself and in a stage of denial, but teasing people about their sexual preference(s) is a major concern for students at Scotts Valley High School.

Students at SVHS, and many people for that matter, say things like, "that's so gay" and "you're a fag." Please don't add to the problem.

 

Re: Scotts Valley Parents Protest Gay Tolerance

Great audio peice good balanced coverage heard it on Free Speech Radio News
yesterday..
 

Re: Scotts Valley Parents Protest Gay Tolerance

To Ne@nderthal

I hope you're right! An upside to all this religious blather from D'Andrea would be for him and all the fundi wahoos to reveal themselves for the ridiculous, fearful pitiful little woo woos they are and thus, shoot themeslves in the foot.

However, primitive fearful people can be dangerous. Christian reconstructionists want a literal return to the old testament, with stoning to death for disobedient teenagers, and those who commit "adultery"!! They have several powerful men in congress and are supported by various millionaires!

Google "Christian reconstructionist." They make George Bush look progressive.
 

Re: Scotts Valley Parents Protest Gay Tolerance

Dear @ndy,

I generally agree with you, of course, that teasing someone about their sexual preference is hurtful, etc.

However, I view my particular ribbing of D'Andrea as somewhat of an exception for the following reasons:

1) D'Andrea is the one disrespecting and demonizing GLBTQI folks, not myself. I love them. Thus, I say it not because I think there is anything wrong with being queer -- I don't -- but because I know that such suggestion would bug that hateful, self-righteous fascist to no end.

2) Though I'm not very nice about it, my use of preference in this particular instance is directly relevant; I'm really just trying to point out that I think that D'Andrea is a hypocrite and/or self-hating.

= = = =
"Quick to judge
and quick to anger,
and slow to understand.

Ignorance and Prejudice
and Fear walk hand in hand."
 

Great job Vinny, the Ohanas, and Scotts Valley HS

I think there's been a real silver lining with this debate, which is basically a tempest in a teapot. I mean its only one parent complaining.

The benefit has been the dialogue that has been generated about gays students and lesbian students, sexual preferences, sexual diversity, and how any of this is "taught" in a classroom setting.

It is very damaging to have to live in a closet. It harms ones psyche, ones spirit, and sense of well-being. And face it, 10% of the students at Scotts Valley HS (and every OTHER high school across the country) are either GLBT or otherwise not monogamous heterosexuals.

Schools are very special places. Teachers can and do accept every kind of student into their classrooms as our nations resources have empowered them to do. We want our teachers to guard, guide, and help our young men and women to build that inner confidence which will sustain them throughout their adult life.
How can they do this if they must ignore 10% of their students? How can we ask 10% of our teachers to be vague about their personal lives?

As the mother of a gay son, who came out in the 8th grade, I was greatly cheered when I saw Rene Ohana's posters on the wall of her classroom (I've substituted in her class). You see, a few short years ago I agonized when my own son decided he was not going to live in a closet anymore. He was going to tell the truth about his gayness to anyone who asked from that point on. I was terrified for what might happen to him.

Foremost in my mind was the real possibility that he could get the shit beat out of him by other students, expressing a dangerous homophobia. The Ohanas "Safe Place" inverted pink triangle is no joke to me either. It is a real benefit that my son would have appreciated, and many other mother's sons and daughters might have need of someday.

My son not only survived, but he thrived in an atmosphere of openess and truthfulness.

Lastly, since teenagers learn best by example, I cannot fully express my gratitude for the Ohanas own courage in "coming out". Gay and lesbian students need to see that most of all. They need to see real life gay and lesbian role models fully participating in the life of our community.
 

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