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, April 3, 2008

The Zealots are at it again!

Hey folks, it's been a while since I've posted. Seemed like reason had won the day, but alas the crazies will not give up.

Here is the latest attempt by CoDE to end the Day Of Silence...

To: Randy Taylor, Beth Castle, Greg Hart, Cindy Wilson, Joel Aune, Rudy Edwards, Caroline Loudenback, Kathryn Lerner, Marci Busby, Kristy Sullivan

In reviewing Snoqualmie Valley School District policies that relate to the Day of Silence, policy #3223: FREEDOM OF ASSEMBLY struck us forcefully: Individual students and student organizations may meet in school rooms or auditoriums, or at outdoor locations on school grounds, to there discuss, pass resolutions, and take other lawful action respecting any matter which directly or indirectly concerns or affects them, whether or not it relates to school.

Such activities shall not be permitted to interfere with the normal operation of the school. Peaceful demonstrations are permissible, though they are to be held in designated places where they will present no hazards to persons or property and at designated times that will not disrupt classes or other school activities.

The Day of Silence (DOS) is not an “assembly” in any sense of the word – there is no coherent meeting of students for the purpose of being silent or any other reason. The DOS is clearly a “demonstration” and is subject to the restrictions of the second paragraph. Please note that the policy states that all demonstrations must have a designated place and time in order to prevent hazards and disruptions. The policy does not define certain types of demonstrations that are free of these restrictions. The policy does not exempt certain demonstrations that are somehow “deemed” to be non-hazardous or non-disruptive based on expectations or past experience. If there is any question about whether the DOS is a “demonstration,” consider the following:

1) The definition of “demonstration” is “group display of opinion: a public show as a group for or against an issue, cause, or person.” (Encarta World English Dictionary, 2007.)

2) The DOS is a coordinated action in which more than two hundred students make the same statement about the same controversial issue over the same period of time in the same way. A demonstration does not require picket lines, placards, or chanted slogans. Demonstrations can involve holding a candle in the dark, a group standing in one place, or being silent and wearing an armband.

3) The national organizers of the DOS describe it as “an action” and “a movement” whose purpose is “to protest.” Consider the following from www.dayofsilence.org (emphasis added): What is the Day of Silence? Founded in 1996 by students at the University of Virginia, and currently officially sponsored in K-12 schools by GLSEN, the Day of Silence is the largest student-led action to protest the bullying and harassment of LGBT people and their allies ever. (Day of Silence Organizing Manual, page 2, http://www.dayofsilence.org/downloads/Manual%20Draft%20Final.pdf)

Students will hand out "Speaking Cards" which say: - "Please understand my reasons for not speaking today. I am participating in the Day of Silence, a national youth movement protesting the silence faced by lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people and their allies…" (About Day of Silence web page, http://www.dayofsilence.org/content/getinformation.html)

We cannot see any interpretation of district policy that would allow the DOS demonstration to occupy the entire school grounds for an entire school day. The Coalition to Defend Education has repeatedly suggested that the DOS should take place as a rally or gathering before or after school, which would allow the students their First Amendment right of free expression while conforming to the spirit and letter of this policy.

If the district continues to allow the DOS demonstration, it must allow any school-day demonstration, such as a Day of Prayer, Global Warming Awareness Day, or Young Republicans for McCain. For the last two years, activities around the DOS have demonstrably violated the school’s “zero tolerance” policy against bullying and have arguably disrupted classes. To be fair and consistent, all future demonstrations must be accorded the same level of tolerance for bullying and disruption around those events. We expect Mount Si High School to conform to all SVSD policies, including #3223: FREEDOM OF ASSEMBLY.

We strongly believe that the Mount Si High School administration must
1) explain how previous Days of Silence were allowed to break district policy and

2) make a prompt and clear statement about the upcoming Day of Silence that upholds all district policies.

We request a prompt decision with respect to the appropriateness of the DOS because the scheduled day for this demonstration is quickly approaching. This would also be a courtesy to the Gay/Straight Alliance club, so that they can redirect their planning efforts to organize their protest so that it fully complies with all SVSD policies. We request a response in writing. Thank you for your consideration.

Coalition to Defend Education

When will these religious zealots figure out that the courts have already decided this issue. The district knows that if they cancel the DoS they will face litigation and will lose.

Keep your religion where it belongs, IN YOUR HOME!

We encourage all of you reasonable individuals to contact the District and the MSHS administration to remind them of their legal obligations.

And you folks at CoDE, if you don't like the laws that protect the civil rights of individuals in our secular democracy, we encourage you to seek a theocracy that is more to your liking!

Coercion will get you nowhere, haven't you figured that out yet?

"Millions of innocent men, women, and children, since the introduction of Christianity, have been burnt, tortured, fined, and imprisoned; yet we have not advanced one inch toward uniformity. What has been the effect of coercion? To make one-half the world fools and the other half hypocrites. To support roguery and error all over the earth."

~ Thomas Jefferson, Notes on the State of Virginia, 1781-82

CoDE sent an “open letter” warning GSA members that they should cancel their plans to participate in the nationally recognized Day of Silence or else face “more persecution of gay students” (emphasis in original) based on what they claimed would be a building “resentment” that would “spill[] out in ugly ways,” where “problems experienced will occur again.” Of great alarm, this letter referenced “unstable people [who] sometimes turn their frustration to extreme acts of violence,” including “[s]chool shootings.”

Perhaps they should have their attorneys review the following;

RCW 9A.36.080 Malicious harassment--Definition and criminal penalty.

(1) A person is guilty of malicious harassment if he or she maliciously and intentionally commits one of the following acts because of his or her perception of the victim's race, color, religion, ancestry, national origin, gender, sexual orientation, or mental, physical, or sensory handicap:

Causes physical injury to the victim or another person;

Causes physical damage to or destruction of the property of the victim or another person; or

Threatens a specific person or group of persons and places that person, or members of the specific group of persons, in reasonable fear of harm to person or property. The fear must be a fear that a reasonable person would have under all the circumstances.For purposes of this section, a "reasonable person" is a reasonable person who is a member of the victim's race, color, religion, ancestry, national origin, gender, or sexual orientation, or who has the same mental, physical, or sensory handicap as the victim. Words alone do not constitute malicious harassment unless the context or circumstances surrounding the words indicate the words are a threat.

"The notion that an outside group of adults may make direct appeals to students to refrain from participating in school activities is deeply distressing for these students, many of whom feel targeted and intimidated by this effort. Moreover, the letter makes plain that CoDE misunderstands the nature and purpose of the Day of Silence, and shows why that and similar activities are essential for LGBT students and their supporters at Mount Si. These students selected the Day of Silence activity precisely because it is educational, calm and non-confrontational. It is a low-key way for them to help their fellow students understand that they exist within the school community, though many of them are invisible much of the time. By its very nature, this silent activity avoids confrontation. And, as the CoDE letter acknowledges, only a small percentage of the student body participates. Yet, even with limited participation, this educational exercise encourages the non-participants to recognize errors in their assumptions about others’ identities and/or attitudes about LGBT people.Because members of the GSA now feel targeted and pressured not to engage in the educational activities of their school club, we call on each of you to make clear the school administration’s commitment to allowing students to participate in their club and other free speech activities, free from outside adult warnings of dire consequences or coercion."

-Lambda Legal


Anonymous said...

My tongue-in-cheek thought of the day. If one half of the world is fools and the other half hypocrites (which you've already deemed CoDE to be), what does that make you? :-)

May said...

In response to anonymous above:
what does it make me? An intelligent and reasonable person who sees no reason to give any credence to the "if" portion of your tongue in cheek inanity...

Actually, the anonymous' post a demonstrate the logic used by some of the folks opposed to the day of silence.... If "A" is true (or the correct interpretation or...) then..."B"! ..the problem being, "A" is a misinterpretation, a misunderstanding, a misguided or otherwise incorrect premise; making "B" unrelated, false, misleading and not based on sound reason.

This morning and afternoon I spent quite a while at the Issaquah SD Freshman campus, as a delegate to the 5th District Democratic caucus.

There were prominent signs advertising the Day of Silence, to be observed on April 25th, there.... and I suppose at thousands of other schools nationwide. And small posters up and down the halls advertising this GSA hosted activity at the Issaquah school.

I am trying to comprehend why some of our neighbors and parents find this event, the Day of Silence, so threatening at Mt Si. I will keep trying to understand. Without name-calling or judgment. But I am truly puzzled by the persistent opposition.

Anonymous said...

Food for thought: http://www.pridedepot.com/modules/news/article.php?storyid=540

PeoplesVoice said...

The earth is big enough that you are guaranteed to find a few "King" incidences of any kind of bad behavior you want against any group. Is there systemic persecution here at Mt Si worth all this hubbub? I don't think so - I have, however, seen conservative youth, including my own son, persecuted by a few bad-apple teachers. Is it systemic worthy of broad remedy? I did not demand broad remedy at the time, but I am now persuaded that CODE is right that the liberal persecution and constant pressure had reached the point where systemic remedy is demanded.

The second key point I tried to make was that remedy is generally thought appropriate for a systemic problem against a benign group, but the facts are against this. A great many of people caught up in these abhorrent lifestyles want to end their lives and that is true even in very gay friendly promoting European countries. They are 10 times as likely as a "straight" to end up molesting the next generation of children. They started and perpetuate the global HIV epidemic. Don't bother arguing that philandering heterosexuals are now "helping" perpetuate the problem - 2 wrongs do not make a right - Remember your kindergarten lessons?

Even if some few Homosexuals claim some innate propensity toward that lifestyle, for the sake of the individual and society it should be discouraged. 10% of the population is claimed to have a genetic propensity for alcoholism. Should we encourage and accept drinking and drunkenness for these individuals? Some men desire to have intimate relations with more than one woman – should society legalize and thus sanction forms of polygamy and accept adultery as natural and therefore acceptable?

Should a particular individual be persecuted - of course not, but neither should we have school sponsored coming out parties! Should we have coming out clubs and rallies for American Indians becoming alcoholic just because some one claims they have a genetic propensity for addiction? Come on folks - get some common sense!

A person struggling with same sex attraction needs our loving sincere help not the equivalent of a bottle of scotch.

PS CODE and I separate ways in that they just want the politics out and reading, Math in, whereas I believe we must explain why the school should not be acquiescing to this greasing the skids for the homosexual lifestyle.

Anonymous said...

with all due respect, peoplesvoice,

i noticed that you cited some bad studies. that claim about gays molesting children comes from a man named paul cameron.

amongst other things, cameron made up a story about a gay man mutilating a child in a bathroom. He told this lie in order to help repeal an anti-discrimination ordinance.

Since that time, he has been rebuked, censured or dismissed from groups like the American Psychological Assocation and the American Sociological Association.

and the vague reference about European culture accepting gays, but gays are still "dangerous" do not come from legitimate sources. They are either anecdotes or convenience sample studies distorted by the religious right.

PeoplesVoice said...

Having an open mind does not include dumping my brains out on the floor.

Clever trick Anonymous, I don’t know what you are talking about. There are 76 professional sources sited in just one of my articles and I know of no reference that sites this anecdotal Cameron fellow. Let me know and if there is a bad ref I’ll knock it down to “only” 75.

I avoid anecdotal stories beyond my own prefering to site sources like Journal of American Medical; Journal of Homosexuality. We are not talking about some one individual or some boohoo story of being called, dare I say it, “gay”. These are large studies from the FBI to a host of professional peer reviewed journals that are discussing statistical deviant behaviors in Gay identifying populations– not feelings. See for yourselves at: (remove spaces)

I point out sites that demonstrate that homosexuality is dangerous 5 ways before you get to Sunday.
(remove spaces)

Those giving themselves over to practicing homosexuality are about 10 time more likely than the next guy to molest a child or youth. This is not an opinion it is a fact. It’s ugly and it’s inconvenient but it is a FACT. The gay life is dangerous for the individual and the community. Wickedness never was happiness. There is no getting around that.
However there is hope and change. There is real hope for individuals caught in the trap of homosexuality. They can come out of that dark closet to a healthy heterosexual or celibate life. There is achievable lasting joy on the other side of that dark cloud. (remove spaces)