Quote of the day

"We are shut up in schools and college recitation rooms for ten or fifteen years, and come out at last with a bellyful of words and do not know a thing. "

-Ralph Waldo Emerson

Thursday, January 31, 2008

Snoqualmie Valley Record Chimes In

Things that make you go 'hmmm'

"The whole thing smells of a setup of Hutcherson and, unfortunately, it gave the entire student body of Mount Si a bad name. If, on the other hand, Hutcherson's speaking engagement was objected to by the teachers or the school's "Gay/Straight Alliance" prior to the assembly, the administration of the school should be held accountable"

It was objected to by students and faculty alike as far back as November when the planning started.

The FACTS are out there folks, just look for them!

Furor over assembly draws a crowd at board meeting

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Washington State Senator Ed Murray's letter to Randy Taylor

Principal Randy Taylor Mt. Si High School
8651 Meadowbrook Way S.E. Snoqualmie, WA 98065

Dear Mr. Taylor,

Today, every American is familiar with Dr. Martin Luther King’s great leadership in the fight for civil rights for African Americans.

However, Dr. King’s example was not simply limited to the tireless quest for equality. It was also found in the manner in which he treated his opponents, embracing them with respect and without vitriol – even while they denigrated and insulted him. When we honor Dr. Martin Luther King, we would do well to remember this, too.

One man’s own personal experience of racism, while certainly regrettable, is not enough to qualify him as a spokesperson of Dr. King’s values. To truly uphold Dr. King’s example, one must also uphold his humility and his fundamental objection to derogate those who disagreed with him.

Rev. Ken Hutcherson decidedly does not follow in these footsteps.

Here is a man who, in his battle against equal rights for gays and lesbians has said: “You know how the Bible says, ‘Turn the other cheek?’ Well, I did that. But I’m not giving them the big cheeks.” These kinds of degrading remarks about gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender citizens are simply obscene.

Here is a man who, after viewing the movie ‘The Passion of the Christ’ told a reporter that the Jews were responsible for killing Christ: “The truth is that they did push to have Christ crucified. That’s just plain truth… that’s Biblical truth.” This libel has resulted in the suffering and death of millions over twenty centuries of Western history.

Intolerance and contempt are objectionable enough. Using Christianity to support them – to use, in other words, the tools that Martin Luther King developed not to extent rights but to deny them – is a cynical order of magnitude worse.

History has taught us that we must speak out, and speak out vigorously, against these slanderous attacks. There are many leaders in the African American civil rights movement, including some who oppose my position of sexual orientation, who would have better represented the example of Martin Luther King.

As an agent of intolerance and contempt, Hutcherson should not have been invited to speak at your school’s Martin Luther King Day event. I have no doubt that he has very painful stories of the inequality he has experienced in his life. But his story today is about perpetuating inequality among gays, lesbians and Jews. And that cannot and should not be condoned.

A member of your staff thought as I do, and, at the end of Hutcherson’s remarks, respectfully questioned him about his commitment to the values of acceptance and respect as they apply to gays and lesbians. I was shocked to learn that you issued Hutcherson an apology as a result. This – and your subsequent “fact-finding” inquest into your staff’s actions – only adds insult to injury.

Although a minimal amount of circumspection alone might have helped you determine that inviting a known bigot to speak on Martin Luther King Day may have offended members of your student body, staff and faculty, I am heartened to know that you plan to examine your policies and standards related to speakers and presentations at your school.

However, to not disavow Hutcherson’s presentation at your school will continue to amount to an endorsement of his views and values – neither of which follow in the footsteps of Martin Luther King.


Sen. Ed Murray

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Mt Si High School on the Dave Ross show

Listen to the Dave Ross show as the MLK assembly is discussed. (1/29/2008)

A look at Washington State Law

A key argument in this issue revolves around the question of whether Rev. Hutcherson presents a positive role model in the context of civil rights to the student body. Considering Mr. Hutcherson’s actions, which truly define a role model, of opposing anti-discrimination legislation, hate crimes legislation and civil rights legislation based on his religious beliefs leads one to believe that he may not be an appropriate role model in the current context of celebrating diversity and civil rights.

Although the event was organized by the student organizations it is ultimately the responsibility of the administration to exercise proper discretion in selecting appropriate speakers for a compulsory event such as this. In addition, the administrations primary responsibility is to provide a safe and open learning environment that is free of hate and discrimination to every student without exception.

The Washington State laws against discrimination as well as the policies of the Washington State Office of Public Instruction clearly identify the LGBT community as a community that is vulnerable to discrimination.

Washington Models for the Evaluation of Bias Content in Instructional Materials
Published by the Washington State Office of Public Instruction

Relating to RCW 28A.640.020 Regulations, guidelines to eliminate discrimination--Scope.

Guidelines for Identifying Bias

As we discover how to better teach and apply the principle of equity in our schools, we are learning the importance of perspective in points of view and the need to reflect the participation and the contribution of the various cultures and both genders in our curricula. It means a move toward respecting and appreciating differences and understanding how they contribute to the desirability of the whole. The diversity of race, custom, color, religion, age, physical make-up and lifestyle are positive and essential characteristics of our nation and its heritage.

The schools, of course, play a highly significant role in promoting or negating these points of view. The curriculum by which students learn shares this role with the teacher and other school staff. Attitudes expressed or modeled in materials, as well as by people, work against the development of the appreciation of diverse groups if they relegate groups of people to secondary or inferior status. A curriculum may perpetuate these attitudes and the behaviors they cause if it omits the history, contributions and lifestyles of a group; if it demeans a group by using patronizing language; or if it portrays a group in stereotyped roles with less than a full range of human interests, traits and capabilities.

Included are: Stereotyped views are depicted of gay, lesbian and bisexual people.

Opponents of Mr. Hutcherson support his right to voice his opinion and oppose civil rights legislation if he chooses to do so as a fundamental right provided to him under law. They question however the judgment of school administrators in deciding to invite a speaker whose well publicized actions are directly oppressive to a significant minority of the student body while professing to celebrate diversity as advocates against discrimination.

One has to question which fact presents the greatest irony. The fact that a man such as Ken Hutcherson spoke to the dream of Martin Luther King Jr. who advocated equal rights for everyone or the fact that the Mt Si Administration allowed such a speaker contrary to common sense and state guidelines.

Perhaps the administration hasn't had a chance to read the manual.

Monday, January 28, 2008

DAY OF SILENCE, April 25, 2008

The Day of Silence is an annual event held to bring attention to anti-LGBT bullying, harassment and discrimination in schools. Students and teachers nationwide will observe the day in silence to echo the silence that LGBT and ally students face everyday. The Day of Silence is one of the largest student-led actions in the country.

In light of current events during the MLK celebration and in light of past incidents involving students at Mt Si High School during the Day of Silence, we would like to encourage the following;

1. Remind our community that we are fortunate to have diversity as part of it. That among us and our children is a group that struggles daily to accept who they are in the midst of an intolerant community. Indeed the very well being of our friends and neighbors depends on our acceptance.

2. Remind our community that suicide is the number one killer of our students. Among those, the LGBT community is six times more likely to commit suicide than the heterosexual community. Remind our friends and neighbors that more than 4,000 of our kids choose suicide every year. Remind them that 8 of our children, struggling with their identity, struggling with verbal and often physical harrassment by their peers and often struggling with their parents rejection have taken their lives today.

3. Remind our community that respect is a right of every human being.

4. Demand of the Snoqualmie Valley School District that on the Day of Silence;
- That a zero tolerance policy of harassment will be enforced including the pressing of criminal charges for any incidents.
- That parent volunteers will be permitted to assist in monitoring for illegal activities.
- That a local law enforcement presence will reinforce the zero tolerance policy.
- That the Administration expressly prohibit the display of any anti-gay slogans or suggestions of violence, ie. 'I Love Gays - KILLED'.
- That the Administration will be be held liable for any acts of violence, intimidation or harassment against any student.

5. Talk to your neighbors! It is time for ALL of our children to have a safe and open environment they can learn in!

Sunday, January 27, 2008

Friends of GSA call for help

There has been outrage focused against the school board from two distinct perspectives. Many progressive parents are outraged that the school would invite such a controversial figure to speak on the topic of MLK and civil rights. The other side is attacking the teacher for standing up to the obvious irony and hypocrisy of the event.

Mr. Hutcherson has mobilized his likeminded followers to barrage the school board with sheer numbers in order to force this attack on a teacher that did exactly what Martin Luther King reminds us in the following;

"Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter."

-Martin Luther King Jr.

We need the help of local leaders, the community, the media and national organizations to focus this issue at its core which is bigotry and intolerance within our schools.

Please let us know if you can help.


Saturday, January 26, 2008

ON RELIGION - What would King say today?


Homosexuality was in the closet in King’s day so it’s hard to know for certain. There are, however, a few clues as to what his personal views might have been. Perhaps the most relevant is that his widow, Coretta Scott King, often said that he clearly was supportive of gay rights.

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Hutcherson's school assembly invite causes new controversy

The Rev. Ken Hutcherson, an outspoken opponent of gay rights who last week launched a stock-buying campaign to try to win influence over gay-friendly Microsoft, is apparently creating controversy again.
The administration at Mount Si High School, part of Snoqualmie Valley Public Schools, invited him to speak at a Thursday assembly honoring Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.
But when Hutcherson was introduced, some people booed him. As he wrote in a message to church members, "One of the sponsors stood up and challenged me during the assembly. Then one of the teachers called a gay newspaper."
Mount Si teacher Kit McCormick, who questioned how Hutcherson can support human rights if he doesn't support gay rights, told KING/5 that she thought the students should know the full story about the leader of the Antioch Bible Church in Redmond.
He's not about equality for everyone, she told KING/5, he's about equality for some people.
Mount Si Principal Randy Taylor told KING/5 he's scheduled a Friday morning meeting with McCormick to discuss the incident, but didn't reveal whether she would be reprimanded.
Hutcherson said in his message to followers: "I have been quiet as a parent, but now the line has been crossed. Pray for wisdom as I deal with this situation!"
On another note, Hutchinson is scheduled as a guest on Friday's Rush Limbaugh Show between 2 p.m. and 3 p.m. Eastern time for his annual football discussion. Limbaugh airs locally on KTTH-AM 770 between 9 a.m. and noon.
-- Casey McNerthney, Seattle PI, Jan 17, 2008

Statements from teacher and GSA president

From the Stranger:

I am the teacher referred to above. I was absolutely unaware that Ken Hutcherson had been invited to speak at the MLK assembly before it happened. Had I known beforehand, I would certainly have protested. I stood to ask Ken Hutcherson a question at the end of the assembly because I knew I couldn't live with myself if I let his bigotry (disguised as tolerance) pass unchallenged. I would, and will, do it again if need be. His message has no place in any school. As for timing, if an assembly on equality is not the place to raise the issue of gay rights, I don't know what is. Kit McCormick

Posted by Kit McCormick | January 19, 2008 1:53 AM

From the PI:

As a student at Mount Si High School and the president of this school's gay-straight alliance, I would like to say that I am astounded with my principal's actions. I, as well as the rest of the GSA at school, understand that Rev. Ken Hutcherson is entitled to his opinion outside in the community even if I strictly disagree with it. The issue I am having with this only begins with him being declared as a "warrior" for civil rights while trying to make it clear that gays, lesbians, and other sexual orientations do not deserve the same rights. This is ironic and Rev. Hutcherson shouldn't have been an option as a speaker on a day that is meant to represent Dr. King's message that equality for all is a natural right to every human being, even though during his time was primarily focused on race. To make the truth absolutely known, there was a major misunderstanding between the committee that organized the assembly and the GSA. There was back and forth discussion about having Hutch as a speaker and the GSA's final stance on the matter was that we, as a club, "would prefer that Rev. Ken Hutcherson does not speak at the assembly." Soon after this, we were notified that the idea to have him speak had been dropped and that it was going to be run by students entirely. So, as some could imagine, it came as a bit of a shock that he came out to speak. This brings me to my second issue I have with this whole situation: Kit McCormick, very nervously not to mention, spoke out because she wanted the truth to be known about this man's message and how to have him speak on a day like this would be hypocritical. Her comment was not pre-meditated on any level and was not meant to be malicious towards the family, but was only intended to present the truth about Hutcherson's reputation and stance on other civil rights in society. So, Mr. Taylor, I say to you as one of your students: How dare you trade in your integrity as an administrator and as a leader of your staff and school to lessen an issue that shouldn't have been an issue in the first place? I am shocked with the administration's lapse of judgment to O.K. Ken Hutcherson as a speaker and then to not even back up a teacher's stance on something that we thought we had made clear. The GSA thought that we had made our opinion apparent, and for the record, we did not invite him just so we could bash him on his outside opinions. My name is Jackie Ferland, and I am more than willing to tell the full story to anyone who will listen and how the GSA, as well as myself, feels about this new situation. If you have any questions, comments, or SUGGESTIONS for me or the Mount Si High School Gay-Straight Alliance, my e-mail is jackiemferland@gmail.com.

January 23, 2008 2:50 PM