Today most excellent dominionist awareness blog dark_christian had an entry that got me thinking. The blog high lighted an article from the conservative World Daily Net that headlined with "District gags 14-year-olds after 'gay' indoctrination, 'Confidentiality' promise requires students 'not to tell their parents'".
When I looked into this I found the article to be a case of biased opinion masquerading as 'news'. The article did attempt to insinuate that the students were not allowed to tell their parents that the class took place. This is not the truth. Instead, the students were asked to keep confidential what was said during the class. The text from the confidentiality agreement is:
Every person keeps what comes up in class confidential, unless it is dangerous to do so - that is unless a situation in class requires us to get outside help.A copy of the agreement - along with additional inflammatory materials (sadly)- can be found here.
We do not repeat what someone says in class outside of class except if we have permission of the person that said it.
We will not continue a conversation outside of class without permission from all the people that were involved during the class.
Bottom line: What happens in our classroom stays in our classroom.
Exceptions to the confidentiality in which case (teacher's name) will get outside help are:
If someone in the class reports being hurt;
If someone reports that they are hurting someone else; or
If someone reports that they are hurting or want to hurt themselves.
The district would have really dropped the ball if the confidentiality agreement said, "you can never tell your parents that we met today". It instead said (or at least attempted to say), "you can't/shouldn't tell your parents what your fellow classmates said". In the World Daily Net article the confidentiality angle was presented as 'don't tell your parents we are trying to make you gay'. The true(r) intention was to give the attendees an open forum to ask questions and admit their own feelings/orientations. This was basically an anti-bullying talk, with the need to have the potential bullies attend if any progress would be made.
There is the issue that the parents were not given the opportunity to exclude their children from the class. I believe that the school system did this on the hush, not giving parents to withdraw the students, because they wanted everyone to learn hear what was said. If the District is fighting an environment of intolerance and homophobia, than all could/should hear a constructive message about homosexuality. The message cannot be one of conversion. The irony is that the Dominionists parents live a life of conversion, so it is from this angle that they would tend to believe others are coming from. So says Psych 101. The District was probably trying to convey, "gays are people too, and here are some myths dispelled. Please don’t terrorize your classmates". Those parents who teach their children a contrary message would of course not want this broadcast.
Here's the bottom line as I see it. The school's teachers, faculty, and students have to live with the fall-out of homophobia everyday. The parents don't. I don't wrong the District for attempting to diffuse the homophobia that the students bring with them. I just think there is no easy way to do so while still honoring the wishes/homophobia of the parents. The State, in the form of the school district, was attempting to create an environment friendly (enough) to all students. The dominionist mentality stepped in and spun the situation into something that only fed the distrust and fear in the school. This I cannot abide by. We adults do a good enough job already of mucking up each other's lives. I truly wish that the children would not become victims in the "friendly fire" of the cultural war.