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, February 7, 2008

Thank You!

Wow! What a crowd!

I am absolutely overwhelmed by the turnout at tonight's School Board meeting. From my estimates well over 200 students, teachers, parents and community members turned out for the February 7th meeting. More than sixty citizens signed up to speak their voice with many more denied due to time constraints. Although there were a few still harping on some kind of 'gay agenda', the vast majority of those in attendence showed their support for equality.

Students, teachers, parents and community members alike pointed out the obvious hypocrisy revolving around the event. The speakers were quite passionate and articulate in their comments to the board.

Emotions ran high, particulary among the students who spoke. Each one of them, straight, gay, lesbian or questioning demonstrated the one common bond that will see them through this difficult time, their love and compassion for one another. This parent has new hope for the next generation. These are some enlightened young adults we have among us!

All of the concerns we have been discussing over the past three weeks were presented to the board. The targeted harrassment, the passive discrimination and the lack of faith in the districts commitment to enforcing school policies and state laws were all addressed by the students.

Some students spoke to the fact that as christians they were being harassed by other students for their personal beliefs. One has to wonder why they would be singled out. Is it because of their faith or their opinions? As I cannot envision targeted harassment against the majority of the student body by the minority based simply on faith, one must conclude that those 'harassed' were actually confronted on the opinions they put forward. We generally call this discourse or debate, not harassment. It may be perceived as harassment by the party that fails to provide a valid argument supporting their position on the issue, it is a defense mechanism. It is always curious to see the vocal majority yelling 'help, help, we're being oppressed!'

It is disheartening to know that there are members of our community that seem truly blinded by negativity and are unable to see the injustice before them. How can any parent listen to testimonials of our children and ignore their cry for support and acceptance? If even one child feels that way, we must all stand together to make sure that one voice is heard and respected.

Throughout the evening I could not help but notice the consternation of the minority who seemed to grow weary and frustrated by the continuous barrage of rebukes against the administration for their lack of judgement. I felt some degree of empathy for Mr. Hutcherson who spent much of the evening with his head in his hands. I wondered if perhaps some degree of self awareness had him in some embrace. For a fleeting moment, could he sense the negative nature of his actions and the consequences they have garnered him? Perhaps for a moment he asked himself, my God, what am I doing to my kids and their friends? Did one of his neighbors say something that struck a hidden moral fiber he conceals? Perhaps just wishful thinking, but his visage was one of defeat bordering on despair. Such wasted emotion. I wish he could just live the idea so many have taught, the one rule!

A special acknowledgement goes out to Alex! Your courage is inspiring. Know that we are all standing with you. If ever you need our assistance, we are but an e-mail away...

A very special thanks is extended to all of you in our community who took the time to stand for up for our students and voice your thoughts and concerns.

And one last special thank you the the very kind folks with

who journeyed all the way from Seattle to show their support!

On a final note, both a student and the Hutcherson family have recieved threats of violence against them. This is unacceptable in our community! If you have any information related to these threats, please contact the police immediately or dial 9-1-1.

If there is one thing the students of Mt Si demonstrated, it's that no matter what your convictions, it is the ties of friendship that you must remain in firm grasp of at all times.


jweathe said...

Wow is right! Bravo to the entire community for taking action last night. AND might I mention what a great response from our ‘host!’ Thank you, “MtSiParents!” You know, I left the board meeting curious about the day of silence. I heard a lot of confusion expressed around this national school event. I've been doing some research, reading over their objective and I would like to encourage readers to visit their site to learn more: http://www.dayofsilence.org/ One quick quote from their site, "The Day of Silence is designed to draw attention to the bullying and harassment faced by LGBT students everywhere." Until Mt. Si becomes a safe place for all students, I feel that we need to keep this on our calendar of events at the school. Maybe we could revisit the way the message is presented to the student body and to the parents. As a business owner I would like to support The Day of Silence in anyway I can, i.e. purchasing educational literature for students and parents or awareness t-shirts for students or something as simple as pens or pencils with a positive GSA message. Anyone else interested in helping? Maybe we could put our heads together and find a positive way to keep The Day of Silence in the school.

Alex said...

The problem with Day of Silence is that the administration does not want to openly condone it, therefore they do not explain the purpose to parents and students. I don't think it would be as much of an issue if parents understood the reasons behind the DoS and could discuss their own personal values with their children.

I would like to thank all the people who supported my statements and who supported me. I have felt nothing but an outpouring of love from students and parents alike. It makes me feel like this whole "controversy" is a great engine for change in our community. And that is what the valley needs. CHANGE.

ConcernedMom said...

From what we heard last night, however, bullying and harassment exist all over Mt Si, not just for the GLBT community. So, why single out just one group for attention and create further division among the student population?

Parent of MSHS students and believer in education said...

Well, apparently the real agenda is out on the table (see below). I found last night very cathartic and hopeful and am very proud of the teachers and the students. The issue is not promoting a 'gay agenda', it is about the law and creating a safe and respectful place for all who enter.

Posted to the Antioch Bible Church web site:
Friday, 08 February 2008

It's time to get back on your knees for a long fight!

Last night at the Snoqualmie Valley School Board Meeting, the teachers supportive of the Gay Straight Alliance drew a line in the sand, and I am stepping over it. I spoke to the Superintendent this morning and he promised, "...it's for the children."

I said I want him to protect my daughter and I want Kit McCormick removed from the classroom.

Another teacher at the meeting last night, George Potratz, said that if I am trying to repeal rights for gays, he thinks we should start a movement to bring back slavery.

Mr. Potratz does not deserve to be on the faculty of the school and should be fired immediately. Over the next few days, I will be talking with the School Board and the school officials.

My theme will be a line from a Pink Floyd song, "Hey! Teachers! Leave them kids alone!"

Keep on Praying,

Pastor Hutch

Anonymous said...

I think it is sad that Pastor Hutcherson wants to stay rooted in the negative and not move forward.
I thought it was sad too that his wife referred to the people that opposed his speaking as the "fringe left." They just do not get it.
I think he thrives on this controversy so perhaps we should not give him more attention.
If he does not feel his daughter is safe then he should call for the safety of ALL students.
I never heard his wife express any compassion in her speech for gay students. They seem so self centered and unwilling to have empathy for others.
If there daughter is not safe or threatened they should call 911 or consider homeschooling her. That way she does not have to be exposed to the world outside of the narrow one her parents live in.
BTW was a bit offended that the "conservative Christians" as Pat Hutcherson called themselves seemed to think they can lay claim to all religion in the valley. One can be a Christian and be on a different side than them.
Many people seemed to miss that last night.

Anonymous said...

My theme will be a line from a Pink Floyd song, "Hey! Teachers! Leave them kids alone!"

Ah the continued irony. The lyrics refer to an education system governed by hypocrisy and twisted morals. They apply to precisely what Rev. Hutcherson wishes to accomplish.

When we grew up and went to school
There were certain teachers who would
Hurt the children in any way they could

By pouring their derision
Upon anything we did
And exposing every weakness
However carefully hidden by the kids
But in the town, it was well known
When they got home at night, their fat and
Psychopathic wives would thrash them
Within inches of their lives.

Perhaps a more appropriate Pink Floyd theme would be;

Are there any queers in the theater tonight?
Get them up against the wall!
There's one in the spotlight, he don't look right to me,
Get him up against the wall!
That one looks Jewish!
And that one's a coon!
Who let all of this riff-raff into the room?
There's one smoking a joint,
And another with spots!
If I had my way,
I'd have all of you shot!

Anonymous said...

I'm a senior at Mt Si, responding to the comment that if Mr. Hutcherson feels his daughter may be in danger she should be homeschooled. You wouldn't tell a kid that just got beat up in the parking lot that if he can't handle the harassment, go be homeschooled. You wouldn't tell any gay or lesbian person if they can't handle any mean comments said to them, then go be homeschooled. So then if everyone is going to be "tolerant" of everyone else's views and opinions, why would it be suggested that Mr. Hutcherson's daughter be homeschooled because he worries for his daughter? These people that want students (among others) to start being tolerant of other people, in particularly gays and lesbians since that's the "hot-button issue" right now, seem to want to expose us students to their knowledge and personal beliefs, but not those of the opposition. It seems as if they're trying to open up the minds of students to their ideas, and at the same time indirectly leading them to disregard anything that they oppose. Is that equality? Is that tolerance? And I'm glad that I haven't had any of my teachers share their views with the class or anything like that. Regarding the day of respect, it is not going to be "pretty" like everyone thinks it will be. If a student chooses not to participate, what do you think others will say to this student? I can almost guarantee that the student will be called a bigot and a hater because he chose not to participate. There's always going to be someone to shoot others down and call them names. It's unavoidable and unpreventable. That's just the way some people choose to act. But right now, everyone is trying to make the unpreventable preventable by setting up a special day devoted to being accepting and exceedingly kind to everyone. But this isn't a perfect world, and no matter how hard people try, the student body will never conform to the idea of accepting everyone for who they are. So please get back to teaching what you're paid to teach us and leave personal issues for discussion outside the classroom.

A Concerned Parent said...

I'm a senior at Mt Si, responding to the comment that if Mr. Hutcherson feels his daughter may be in danger she should be homeschooled.

Right you are!

The idea is preposterous!

Avery is a dear friend of my daughter's. We should and will defend her equal right to be at Mt Si with her friends.

Please refrain from bringing Avery into this discussion, she is a very sweet and descent human being. The cloud of her father's actions should not be a reflection on her.

Dave Eiffert said...

I obviously and strongly disagree with Hutcherson's message. I do agree with the previous writer's opinion that his daughter should be left out of the fray. I don't think it is appropriate to name her. She has been thrust into a terribly difficult situation and should be left alone.
I assume that Hutcherson is aware of his notoriety. If he doesn't want his family associated with his public persona he should refrain from displaying it where they are.

Anonymous said...

I posted the comment that said that if Pastor Hutchershon feels his daughter is not safe at school she should be homeschooled. I have heard from many people that she is a wonderful person. I am not attacking her. I was saying that if he truly feels she is not safe then he should homeschool her or call 911 if she is threatened. I meant it to say that suggesting that teachers be fired and assuming he has more power than he does is wrong and perhaps she would be better served being taught by her parents where they would have sole control over her studies.
I do not want her to leave the school. I am sorry if my comment sounded like I did.
I just think if his daughter really was a priority he would not call for teachers to be fired and speak out so much making things even more awkward for her. I think he likes a lot of attention.
This is not about his daughter.
His wife had a woe is me attitude and looked like a miserable unhappy person. He also acts like he is a victim here. They do not seem like happy warm people.
If you do not feel your child's needs are being met at a school then homeschool them.
If I truly felt that my family was in jeopardy I would do everything to protect them.
I am not trying to attack his daughter though and one compliment I would pay to the Hutchersons is I have only heard excellent things about their children.
I just think that if you feel that your religion needs to take precedence over the separation of church and state then send your children to a school that is private or pull them from a public school.
I am not a member of the "fringe left" either. I will pray for the Hutchersons. I do not wish them or their children ill will.
I was amused at how miserable Pat Hutcherson seemed. So much for Christian love. The true Christians I know seem happy and at peace. I do not get that sense from them. The Christians I am friends with do charity work and lead by showing love not be picking people to hate.
I am sorry if I seemed to be attacking their daughter. She has every right to go to Mt Si. I am sorry if my comments were taken literally.