When President Barack Obama wanted to speak to schoolchildren about the importance of staying in school, working hard, and washing your hands, the school sent out four separate notices to parents.
When the Boy Scouts of America — with their history of discrimination against atheists and members of the GLBT community — want to use class time to recruit new members, the school said nothing to parents.
That prompted Jennifer Burks to write this letter-to-the-editor:
On the second day of school, a representative from the Boy Scouts of America came to my son’s school to recruit new members. My son came home so excited, and cried when I had to tell him no. I feel he is too young to understand BSA’s homophobic and discriminatory policies, so I told him we already had too much on our plate. The BSA is prejudicial (it doesn’t accept atheists or agnostics) and homophobic (no gays allowed). My son will never be a Boy Scout and I wish that I had been notified that valuable learning time was going to be spent promoting a homophobic hate group.
From now on, I expect notifications of future speakers at my son’s school and the topic of discussion. I expect a verbal message from his teacher, a letter from the principal and two auto calls. I would also like the opportunity to send in a signed note to excuse him from said speaker.
Right on. If the BSA reps were honest about their positions, they wouldn’t be allowed in any good school.
Matt Comer at QNotes shares the response given by the district’s superintendent.
Donald Martin, Winston-Salem Schools superintendant, responded to the mother’s email: “The boy and girl scouts are allowed to advertise meetings — typically they have a back-to-school fall recruitment meeting that is held in the evening. We also have a special facility use arrangement with both the boy and girl scouts.”
Martin added, “There should not have been a meeting with representatives of the boy scouts held during the school day that required students to attend. I’m sorry that this happened and we will review this topic at our next elementary principals meeting.”
If I were a girl scout, I’d be offended at being lumped into the same group as the BSA.
Comer doesn’t think this is good enough and he’s absolutely right:
For schools, working with the Boy Scouts is dangerous and obviously wrong. Their partnerships will inevitably lead to some of their students being discriminated against — something that should never happen in public schools. Secondly, their Boy Scout partnerships could very well open schools to other discriminatory groups seeking equal access.
The Boy Scouts’ anti-gay and religiously-exclusive policies are tarnishing their sterling history and the honored place they once earned — but lost long ago — in American society and culture.
The way to correct this problem and reverse the policies of an otherwise excellent organization is for more people to complain. Expose the discriminatory practices of the BSA. If they’re allowed at your child’s school, give the administration hell. Ask them why they’re allowing an anti-gay, anti-atheist organization free rein in the school. Direct them to Scouting For All.
Jennifer set a wonderful example with her letter. The only way to be even more effective is to stop the BSA ahead of time.
(Thanks to ungullible for the link!)