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, March 13, 2008

Ken Hutcherson threatens local high school librarian for defending the school's "Sex Club"

Snoqualmie Valley Record

March 12, 2008

The Snoqualmie Valley School District Board of Directors heard more about the perception of bias at Mount Si High School at its March 6 regular meeting.

Mount Si librarian Elaine Harger said she had received an e-mail from Rev. Ken Hutcherson that referred to Mount Si's Gay-Straight Alliance as a "sex club" and asked if Harger wanted to be added to the list of Mount Si teachers he was pushing to have fired."What had I done to justify that he would try to get me fired from my job? This is intimidation, pure and simple," said Harger.


JC said...

Ken Hutcherson, CoDE member. At least according to the anonymous poster in another thread, who seems to be quite knowledgeable about the inner workings of CoDE.

Anonymous said...

CoDE shares the endorsements of Defend the Family International (Scott Lively, President). This group believes that homosexuals were the true cause of the Nazi Holocaust. They are militant and violent.

This CoDE group knows how to pick their allies...

"Phillip Garding, CoDE's vice president, said at the meeting that allegations that his group had an anti-gay agenda were false. "

Actions speak louder than words!

JC said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Diane Garding said...

Okay, let's all get this straight. Point your finger at me. Call me names. Call me a Nazi and a homophobe and whatever else you want to brand me. The letter you quote from Elaine Harger is, of course, leaving out my name from the first line. I wrote a letter to Ms. Harger and a few other teachers over a month ago as a PARENT over some concerns I have. (We have 17 different teachers teaching our children at the moment) The answer she sent to ME- not CoDE- got to Mr. Hutcherson UNBEKNOWNST to me. I should NOT have shared the letter with anyone. I realize that it was a mistake. I didn't know of Hutcherson's email to Ms. Harger until a week after it happened. I have appologized to Ms. Harger (prior to the last board meeting), Mr Taylor, and have let the school board also know. Mr. Hutcherson removed the letter from his "case" when we contacted him.

This letter had nothing to do with CoDE. Ask Elaine Harger. Though she stated it came from "a CoDE member," she knows she could have just as easily have stated "from a parent and volunteer at the food bank" or any other group I belong to. I'm sure she will back me in stating the letter I sent her had nothing to do with CoDE. CoDE didn’t even exist when the original correspondence took place.

As far as CoDE being endorsed by Defend the Family International that is new news to me. We have received mail asking us to join and support "anti-gay" groups, but we have not, and will not.

And no, CoDE did not violate any privacy policy. So go ahead, blast me, blast my husband, but please, ask Ms. Harger the truth of the matter and she will tell you the letter did NOT come from CoDE or refer to it in any way.

I have learned my lesson about the internet and email. You never know what may get out. You could always ask Ms. Harger for a copy of the letter she sent to me that prompted the very unkind response from Mr. Hutcherson. You could paste a clapping picture by it and say unkind things about me and my husband. Maybe you could put a photo of Phil and me together and we would be a better target for everyone. Guess I'm getting bitter about all the false accusations. Go ahead, have fun on my account.

unicyclist317 said...

Hey Garding! (yes, I'm frustrated)

Why not "blast you!?" You and your ridiculous coalition have no problem "blasting" some of the best teachers I have ever had...and that your kids have ever had. I should know, since I've shared classes with your daughters. Your group is threatening the careers and reputations of educators like McCormick, Harger, Goldhammer, Potratz, and every other teacher that does more than just teach from a book. For what? ...asking your sons and daughters to think for themselves? For challenging someone's beliefs? For pointing out that the world contains diverse opinions!?

...the way I see it, that's healthy. That's a part of education. And, if you opened your eyes, you'd realize that the exact thing your coalition is so scared of could actually strengthen your child's personal beliefs and faith. Give your kids some credit...don't think that they can't think for themselves and stand by what they've been taught by you and your husband and your religion. Most Mormons and religious-fundies I am friends with think these are some of the best teachers in the school.

Quit pretending the coalition is about "preserving education" ...it's only about limiting it. If you and your husband and your group were really about making Snoqualmie schools safe for all students, then you'd be the first ones supporting the Day of Silence and the GSA...

You and your coalition are the scariest thing I have seen in the Snoqualmie Valley...ever.

Anonymous said...

Ken Hutcherson is a dangerous bigot.He has clearly harassed and threatened teachers and staff at Mt. Si.

He should be arrested, tried and upon conviction then somewhere where he can no longer threaten educators.

It's only a matter of time before this lunatic loses it and actually physically attacks someone. He keeps talking about it...he *will* do it.

Anonymous said...

CoDE is clearly a self identified extreme right wing christian organization. They do not speak for the majority. I doubt their "members" even know who they are affiliating themselves with.

Maybe it is a code...

Overreacting and

Anonymous said...

Diane Garding said...

As far as CoDE being endorsed by Defend the Family International that is new news to me. We have received mail asking us to join and support "anti-gay" groups, but we have not, and will not.


JC said...

Diane, really come on now Diane.
I have pointed no fingers at you, nor have I branded you or Phil Nazis or homophobes. In fact, I checked all the posts on the front page of this blog, as well as all the comments. No one has called you, Phil, CoDE or even the odious Mr Hutcherson such in any of these posts or comments. So let's just ratched the hysterical persecution complex down a notch or two, OK?

Although, I can't help thinking there is a lesson here, if you are willing to learn it. I made comments about a group you belong to CoDE, based upon the information available to me about that group both on their website, in news media and on blogs. Since these comments were negative towards your group and its goals, you took personal offense and perceived it as an attack upon you personally. Now, if you a grown woman with high school age kids reacted that way, perhaps you can put yourself in the position of a gay student at Mt. Si. How do you think seeing their work on the DoS called into question, and the responsiblity for bias at their high school (including anti-gay bias) placed firmly on that project? Do you think they might just have felt that there were being branded and attacked by adults in their community?

Now, as to Hutcherson's attempt to intimidate Ms Harger. I'm perfectly willing to accept your explanation as to how it come to be in Hutcherson's possesion. If it makes you feel any better, I'll delete the post and repost the letter without the conclusion that CoDE may have violated their own privacy policy. Not that it was an unjustified conclusion, just that I am willing to take your word on the situation. For the record, I read the email on The Stanger's blog (http://slog.thestranger.com/2008/03/the_mount_si_saga_continuespart_3246) and got my explanation of how it came to Huterson here (http://www.zwire.com/site/news.cfm?newsid=19386160&BRD=965&PAG=461&dept_id=141396&rfi=6). As an engaged citizen, I chose to derive opinions from these publically available site and exercise my right to express those opinions on this public forum. I don't see why I should have to contact each person involved before commenting on this story any more than I should when commenting on the Governor's race. It does make me wonder, however, to what extent did CoDE reach out the GSA and attempt to work with them before issuing a open letter attacking the DoS and dismissing any attempts by the GSA to stop any reverse-harassment of non-participating students. I certainly don't see any evidence in CoDE's

I am deeply sorry if you have received any harrassment for your activities, but it certianly hasn't been on this forum. Surely neither of you were unaware that making yourself a public figure on either side of a devisive issue often leads to such harassment. I myself have had people find my identity and contact my employer (luckly to no avail) over blog posts, so I imagine the blowback over the degree of publicity Phil has sought is intense. Just make sure direct any return fire to the correct parties.

I still maitain that CoDE's association with Hutcherson does call their commitment to being neutral into question. In my experience neutral parties in debates don't embrace extremist partisans, they renounce them. I will still continue to comment on this issue as I see fit and support the GSA, even though I am not a valley resident. Since 26% of CoDE supporters aren't parents (with 9% being from out of district) according to your website. I must say I do find it interesting that a group opposed to school distric employees expressing personal or political opinions proudly announces the member of six of them.

JC said...

Here's the actual text of the threatening letter that CoDE member Hutcherson sent to the school's librarian :
Dear Elaine Harger,

I want the teachers Kit McCormick and George Potratz fired and I will not stop until they are gone. Do you wish to be added to that list? I want the day of silence silenced and it will not happen during school time anymore. I have never said that the GSA should not be a club but have asked why a sex club is pushed on campus.

You have the right to invoke my name for being an invited guest, and as an invited guest that was treated very poorly, I demand that all students have a safe environment and not just the students of the GSA.

Do you think my daughter feels Mount Si is a safe environment for her? Do you think that conservative, ultra-patriotic, pro-war, Bible-stumpers as one administrator has said feels safe at Mount Si? Do you think Christian, Mormon, and any other religious groups of kid think Mount Si is a safe environment for them?

You and others may have wished I was never invited but I was so now you have to deal with me and how I was treated. I am here for the long run and I am not going away, even if letters like yours are continued to be written. Please do continue to write because I am collecting them for my case of a hostile environment for me as a parent, for me as an invited guest, for me as a Christian, and for me as a resident of the Snoqualmie School District.

Dr. Ken Hutcherson
Senior Pastor Antioch Bible Church

parent of 4 mshs students said...

Thank you for taking down the false link between Hutcherson's letter and CoDE.

I've takled with Mrs Garding, and I know that a big part of her frustration is how Mrs Harger is trumpeting all over town that the letter was from "a CoDE member" in an attempt to smear CoDE for something it has no relation to. As Mrs Garding points out, she wrote a personal letter as a PARENT to the teachers of her children and to the librarian (who affects all students) before CoDE even existed. The letter concerned the personal experiences of her children and how recent events at MSHS have affected them. Mrs Harger has given the Hutcherson letter and her allegations about it to lots of teachers at the MSHS, said this at the school board meeting, and its now in the newspaper. Mr. Potratz read the letter to his Language Arts class!

As for Mr. Potratz, the excellent teacher claimed by unicyclist317, his actions show his complete lack of professionalism and judgement. Over several weeks, he showed what a high-class act he is by anonymously booing a speaker, he swore at students in class when they mentioned Hutcherson, he read the letter from Hutcherson to his entire class, told his class he has two letters of reprimand in his file, told them that the administration was out to get him, and then rounded it off by asking his students if they thought he should be fired! He doesn't need Hutcherson working to get him fired -- he is working on it very nicely all on his own.

The core problem is at MSHS isn't the MLK assembly or the Day of Silence. The core problem is that teachers feel at liberty to give their personal opinions as fact. They do NOT identify their personal opinions as such, they do NOT attempt to present all sides of the issue so that students can learn to think for themselves. (Thinking is good - why don't these teachers encourage it by giving information about the entire debate?) Instead, they present their opinion as fact and students walk away thinking it must be true because the teacher said so. THAT IS NOT THINKING FOR YOURSELF. THAT IS INDOCTRINATION.

Diane said...

JC, since I have the email sent to Ms. Harger sitting here in front of me I will give you the opening paragraph that has been left out of yours. To answer your next question, no, Ken Hutcherson did not email it to me, a wonderful person I barely knew handed it to me in town last week.

Dear Elaine Harger,
I see that my name was used many times in your letter to Mrs. Garding,(names removed). These are concerned parents, in which I am one, and not Hutcherson supporters as you have said. I could disappear at this very moment but the parents are not going away.

Publishing the letter from Ms. Harger would certainly put this all into better perspective.

Unicyclist317- I'm interested as to why you put Goldhammer in the list? And since you know my daughters, I'm sure you know they do think for themselves and they like their teachers quite well. And yes, I'm aware Ms. McCormick is one of the favorites- she is an excellent teacher.

JC said...

Thanks for the info Diane, alhtough I really don't see how it changes anything. In fact, it seems to me that it puts CoDE in a worse light. After antics like this attempting to intimidate a school employee, CoDE still welcomes him with open arms as a member. According to an anonymous poster in another thread, "CoDE has certain rules and limitations governing its conduct, but Mr. Hutcherson has not overstepped those boundaries.". If threats and intimidation don't overstep CoDE's boundaries, then those boundaries are shockingly low.

CoDE's contintued silence on Hutcherson's activities, and ther acceptence of him as a member also, in my opinion, puts the lie to their claims of seeking to end divisiveness in the schools as well as their claim to not be anti-gay. As my grandma used to say "If you choose to lie down with dogs, you shouldn't be surprised when you wake up with fleas". Well, Hutcherson is the big dog in these parts when it comes to attacking and demonizing the LGBT community and CoDE has chosen to lie with him.

Also putting the lie to CoDE's claims of neutrality, is the fact that CoDE members are all over correcting any misperceptions (labelling them as attacks) here in this forum, no one has seen fit to correct the listing of their group as co-signators to a open letter from the IFI (http://laiglesforum.com/2008/03/11/just-say-no-to-celebration-of-sin/) There are comments there as well, nothing is stopping CoDE from correcting the record there, just as they are so zealous about doing here, yet they choose not to, why? Being neutral takes more than just claiming it, actions need to reflect it as well. Or to quote Laura Schlessinger "People are what they do, not what they say". What CoDE has done to this point is objectively anti-gay.

Sandy Juenke said...

JC - I'm working on getting more information as to how that blog got our information and why we're listed either as an endorser or an endorsement (it's hard to discern from the list).


Anonymous said...

Hmmm... why might Mrs. Garding think someone would call her a name here? Perhaps its because the moderator previously suggested CoDE should be renamed "Coalition Ranting at Poofers"? Perhaps because people suggest CoDE has a secret meaning of "Christians Overreacting and Doing
Evil"? Perhaps because postings are full of innuendo and opinion presented as fact? (Wow, that sounds like some MSHS teachers I know, except they don't do that in a blog, they do it in their CLASSROOM.) The tone of postings on this blog are hardly calm and rational.

If you want to "turn the hysterical persecution complex down a notch," I suggest you ask Mr. Eiffert why his open letter to the school board compares CoDE's effort to move the Day of Silence out of the school day to genocide in Darfur and the Jewish Holocaust? Hysterical persecution was the tone long before anything Mrs. Garding said.

JC said...

All these folks pro or con DoS (although it seems to be mostly con) need to pluck up the courage to pick at least a screen name to identify comments as their own. I'm tired of trying to have a reasonable discussion with anonymous cowards hurling accusations.

JC said...

That's all well and good, Sandy.

But as I pointed out in my earlier post, if CoDE wants to live up to their claims of neutrality, they need to be as willing to correct misinformation on anti-gay sites as they are on pro-equality sites. I see a very zealous correction of misinformation by CoDE board members in comments on this site, yet still no comment on the anti-gay site correcting the record. Seems to me CoDE is being very scrupulous about avoiding any possible offense to anti-gay folks, but rather cavalier about offending those of us on the pro-equality side.

Sandy Juenke said...

JC - then maybe you shouldn't be so easily offended... :-)

JC said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
JC said...


I'm certianly not offended by CoDE's failure to renounce the bigots in their midst, nor am I offended by their unwillingness to live up to thier rehtoric and correct misinformation on both sides. All I am doing is pointing out the disconnect between CoDE's rhetoric and their craven capitulation to anti-gay bigots.

I will again point out that CoDE embraces the leader of a known hate group, and an extremist anti-gay bigot. In my experience most decent, moral people of character are offended by the sort of extremism Hutcherson espouses and seek to distance themselves from such figures. The good folks at CoDE instead embrace the extremists and place the blame for any bias and divisiveness squarely at the feet of the targets of this bigotry, I'll leave it to the readers to draw any conclusions as what this says about the decency, morality and character of CoDE..:)

Sandy Juenke said...

Hey JC,

Check it out.


At our request, we've been removed from this website. Now if you can't say something positive, we'll know what YOUR agenda is. :-)

Frustrated Mom said...

JC's agenda is clear--find whatever negative angle he can and hold onto it for dear life.

I'll take a moment and state some the facts (from my perspective at least):
1) CoDE is not after anyone's job. However, we do expect teachers to be professional and do their jobs according to district policy. Personally, I'm grateful the vast majority of teachers at Mt Si seem to do this quite easily. I wonder what the problem is with a mere handful. I hope they can pull their acts together because I have heard wonderful things about several of them.

2) We are concerned with bias in the classroom that is coming from teachers. Mr Hutcherson is not a teacher, and so I'm not worried about him. IF he were a teacher and IF he was teaching anti-gay propaganda to our children then CoDE would be all over it. But, he's not and so that's the end of the Ken Hutcherson discussion as far as I'm concerned.

3) CoDE members are from all walks of life in this community. Many are Republican, some are Democrat. Many go to church, some do not. Many hours each month are spend by our members volunteering in the community and in the schools. So don't try and pidgenhole us as a right-wing ultraconservative religious bunch of fanaticals that aren't in touch with reality. We're your neighbors and we just might have more in common that you could ever imagine.

4) If you find any anti-gay site USING CoDEs name as one of their supporters, I hope you'll continue to let CoDE know through feedback on the CoDE website. I don't want an affiliation with them because that is not what we are about. We don't want the endorsements of some of these crazies and are not looking to be endorsed by anyone.

Now, I hope that you realize I'm speaking from my point of view. I also hope you won't waste your time trying to pick my comments apart and twist them to "score a point." Please show some leadership and use your blog to to build people up instead of trashing groups and individuals just because you THINK you know all about them.

JC said...

Great Sandy, you got it removed from the site without any correction posted nor indication that CoDE ever objected MISSION ACOMPLISHED! Honestly, it's a step in the right direction, but CoDE remains every bit as biased a group as this blog.

Like I said CoDE's eagerness to attack their opponents as extremist acvistists, while ignoring the leader of a hate group in their own midst, puts the lie to any claims of neutrality on their part.

JC said...

Frustrated Mom,

Attack me all you wish, that isn't going to stop me from keeping an eye on things and commenting as I see fit.

Lets look at some other facts:
1)CoDE itsself doesn't call for any teachers to be fired, but the embrace an extremist leader of an anti-gay hate group, who threatens and attempts to intimidate school employees.

2) Ken Hutcherson isn't a teacher, but he spoke to the entire student body despite being the leader of an anti-gay hate group. While this assmbly was student planned (by a group that includes his daugher), it was also teacher approved. To pretend that this event doesn't represent bias just as much as a teacher's pro-equality statements is pure sophistry on CoDE's part. Additionaly CoDE claims in their open letter to wish to lessen the divisiveness in the school community around the "gay issue", but embraces one of the leading sources of that divisiveness. I'm sorry, but if Hutcherson and the theacher's and administrators didn't realize his speaking, on equality of all things, would be divisive they are idiots.

3) I have not pidgenholed CoDE members as anything. For your information I am aquainted with some of your board members, and held them in the highest respect. Honestly though, CoDE's embrace of an extremist like Hutcherson is starting to call that judgement into question for me. They way I look at it they are either Hutcherson's useful idiots (which I still believe they are far too intelligent to be) or they are willing to ignore the violent extremism in their midst to further their political goals. And yes these are political goals, were they not CoDE would feel no need to seek publicity on friendly media outside the community as they have.

4) You don't want to be associated with any anti-gay site, yet you openly accept the support and membership of the leader of an anti-gay hate group. Do you not see the disconnect there?

I am not trying to "score points" anymore than you are. I am trying to make a point about current events, just as you are.

BTW: This isn't my blog. But perhaps you and CoDE should consider taking your own advise and try something positive. This far all I have seen from them is negative and directed towards the GSA's Day of Silence. Who is CoDE building up with thier activities?

I also don't even pretend to know all about anyone, from what I see that's your specialty. You have claimed to know all about me and my motives, yet you don't know the first thing about me.

Laura K said...

I have to say, I think it's pretty telling that the only student who has commented here has had perhaps the most thoughtful and useful things to say in this debate. This certainly isn't the first time I've thought high school students have a smarter perspective than their parents and teachers. And no, I'm not a high school student, but I do think it might be worthwhile to hear what they have to say about all this. After all, they are ostensibly who you are arguing about, right?

Anonymous said...

being a student at mount si, ya'll just need to stop intervening in our lives. we run the school, let us work it out in between ourselves. shut up you overbearing liberal parents.