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.