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

Friday, February 29, 2008

Coalition calls for an end to the Day of Silence at Mount Si High School:

February 27, 2008

An open letter to the Gay/Straight Alliance at Mount Si High School:

The Coalition to Defend Education is a group of parents, students, and community members that are working to ensure that our schools are safe, that they provide an excellent education in academic subjects, and that the learning environment is free of bias.

We feel strongly that the Day of Silence works against the GSA’s goals of acceptance and inclusion. We appeal to you to not request the Day of Silence at MSHS. Please know that we are not trying to silence you or minimize your experiences. We just don’t believe that the Day of Silence helps your cause.

The basic problem is that the Day of Silence doesn’t have a positive message, only a message of protest. We expected the goal to be acceptance, but the stated purpose is “to bring attention to anti-LGBT bullying, harassment and discrimination in schools.” The Day is motivated by anger at unfair treatment. It excites strong emotions and heightens resentment for all students, with no positive resolution for those feelings. The end result is increased tension, and ultimately more persecution of gay students.

We know you are angry at real prejudice and mistreatment. We know it is emotionally satisfying to vent your anger. If your true goal, however, is understanding and acceptance for the long term, not just feeling better for a day, you should abandon the Day of Silence as it is currently planned. Gordon Hinckley wrote “A wise leader starves the problems and feeds the opportunities.” The Day of Silence is a clear case of feeding the problems. It focuses 100% on problems and 0% on opportunities. One thing that separates adults from children is the maturity to give up what feels good when it isn’t in your best interests, and the Day of Silence is not in your best interests.

Coalition members have had students at MSHS for many, many years. We have never seen tension as high as it is today. It is very clear that tension has steadily increased since the first Day of Silence two years ago. As it is based on anger, the Day of Silence fosters a culture of anger that highlights differences between students and sets friend against friend.

On the Day of Silence, each student must choose from three possible actions: 1) to join with you, wear an armband, and be silent; 2) to oppose you, not wear an armband and not be silent; or 3) to not participate at all, not wear an armband, and not be silent. Over 80% of students chose #3 last year. How do you (and your supporters) tell the difference between opponents and the vast majority of neutral students? You can’t, and you don’t. Every student is judged to be “pro-gay” or “anti-gay” in the angry climate of the Day. Neutral students tried staying home, only to be harassed as “anti-gay” the next day. Of course, emotions run hot when the theme of the day is anger. If you don’t believe this happens, consider this girl’s experience: She wanted to be neutral, but was severely criticized by her close friends (your supporters) for days after the Day of Silence because they saw her non-participation as “anti-gay.” Hers is not an isolated case; we know many other students with similar stories.

When persecuted, do you feel sympathetic to your tormentors? Are you surprised that students aren’t sympathetic to you when bullied on your day of protest? Many students are afraid to say anything against the Day (not against gays, but against the event) for fear of being branded homophobic or anti-gay. Neutral students can’t opt out, and they can’t say they don’t like it. Resentment builds and then spills out in ugly ways, such as the “Adam and Steve” skit and more private harassment of gay students.

Please note that we do not in any way defend or justify the abuse of gay students. This sort of anti-gay behavior is inexcusable. The administration must prevent it and to punish anyone who does it. Period.

We have heard GSA members will be trained to respect non-participants. This will have minor impact, at best. Acting kindly while protesting is difficult, and the GSA has no control over the scores of participants and the hundreds of neutral students who have been through two years of frustration. The Day of Silence is a high-tension event. Emotions will run high, and the problems experienced will occur again.

To understand what the Day of Silence is like for most students, imagine a day of protest for religious persecution. Students would have to choose whether to be “pro-religion” when they came through the school door and then wear a sign all day declaring their choice. Not wearing a sign or staying home would be considered “anti-religion” and hostile to people of faith. The “pro” and “anti” groups would call names, push each other in the hallways, and hold grudges. Other than the subject, the events, feelings, and results are not fundamentally different than the Day of Silence.

We believe that you want to be accepted, to be respected as individuals, and to have happy high school years. Anger will not help achieve any of your real goals. There are many ways that you can work for change without polarizing the students. Look for opportunities to build connections. Look for ways to reach out, not to vent. You can’t fight anger and prejudice by giving out anger and prejudice.

There is great danger these days in provoking tension and resentment. Sadly, we live in a world in which unstable people sometimes turn their frustration to extreme acts of violence. School shootings continue to be in the news. We hope and pray that Snoqualmie Valley will never see anything like that, but there has never been a greater need for calm, rational thought and for a united and respectful student body.

Please choose to not spread anger this year and do not request the Day of Silence during the school day.

Coalition to Defend Education

Our Reaction...


We strongly disagree with this request.

Indeed, I personally find it vile and repugnant!

What you suggest is that the LGBT community and their supporters remain silent. That is unacceptable. If there is a problem at Mt Si with bigotry and bias it should be addressed and NOT ignored.

What's next? Should we get rid of black history month to appease the racists?

We strongly encourage the GSA to go forward with the Day of Silence and hold the memory of Lawrence King close to your hearts on that day.

And I encourage the Coalition to Defend Education (CoDE) to seek a more appropriate name.

Perhaps... the Coalition Ranting Against Poofer's

"Please choose to not spread anger this year and do not request the Day of Silence during the school day."


It is not the GSA that brings the anger, it is the angry minded who choose ambivalence over the pursuit of equality and justice.

Just how many Catholics are bullied on Ash Wednesday for sporting ashes on their forehead? Do the Atheists wear 'I Love Catholics ... Dead!' t-shirts?

Do we see skits openly denegrating christians for their belief in Genesis and creation? Are classes in biology, physics and astronomy not openly challenging the validity of Genesis with facts and reason?

There is a good reason religion is not allowed in school. If your anger is fueled by your religion, perhaps you should seek another, more peaceful one.


Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Tolo chaperones needed for Mount Si

Hello Mount Si Parents,

Tolo is next weekend – Saturday March 8th at Mount Si High School.

Chaperones are always needed in order to ensure a safe, fun event.
Perhaps a request for Chaperones could be placed on the MtSiParents Blog? Sure!

I think parents and community members who are accepting of all students would be the perfect chaperones and help our students feel safe.

The duties of a chaperone are simple – and as varied as the interest of the adult. Some adults prefer to be on the perimeter, “guarding” so to speak, the various exits.

This is a fairly low key way to be involved. When students approach, just turn them around. If they persist, tell them you’ve been instructed by Ms. Castle and they’ll need to bring Ms. Castle over with them if they want to pass through.

Then there’s the bathrooms to periodically walk through and the front door to monitor. These roles are a bit more interactive.

For those very comfortable in the high school arena, there’s the area closer to the dance floor; which does take a little more active individual to monitor. A simple headshake with a smile will tell most teens that their behavior is pushing the boundaries. They don’t want to be publicly embarrassed, or insulted . . . and really don’t need that sort of active monitoring. Mostly, the presence of adults provides the checks and balances needed just to maintain the type of behavior that the students already know is appropriate. On that rare occasion that you may suspect a student looks or smells like they’ve had a controlled substance, there are school administrators and local police officers on hand to talk to the students personally.

Folks interested may email class adviser, Elaine Harger at hargere@svsd410.org

Cindy Sattler

Monday, February 25, 2008

Clinton and Obama Speak About Lawrence King

Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama have released statements regarding hate-crime slain Lawrence King. King was murdered in his Oxnard junior high classroom for being openly gay. All of the country has been outraged over the incident, and the two Democratic presidential candidates have finally spoken about the atrocity.

From Senator Hillary Clinton:

"I was deeply saddened by the recent death of 15-year-old Lawrence King who was killed at his school in Oxnard, CA. No one should face intimidation or violence, particularly at school, because of their sexual orientation or the way they express their gender identity. We must finally enact a federal hate crimes law to ensure that gay, lesbian and transgender Americans are protected against violent, bias-motivated crimes. We must send a unified message that hate-based crime will not be tolerated."

From Senator Barack Obama:

"It was heartbreaking to learn about Lawrence King’s death, and my thoughts and prayers go out to his family. King’s senseless death is a tragic example of the corrosive effect that bigotry and fear can have in our society. It’s also an urgent reminder that we need to do more in our schools to foster tolerance and an acceptance of diversity; that we must enact a federal hate crimes law that protects all LGBT Americans; and that we must recommit ourselves to becoming active and engaged parents, citizens and neighbors, so that bias and bigotry cannot take hold in the first place. We all have a responsibility to help this nation live up to its founding promise of equality for all."

Friday, February 22, 2008

"God hates effeminate men."

Articles of Faith: Getting men involved in church doesn't require gay bashing



But Hutcherson goes beyond reasonable, at least to judge by the report of Seattle psychologist Valerie Tarico. Tarico, a former staffer at Children's Hospital and Regional Medical Center, was raised in a fundamentalist church. In recent months, she has made it her business to attend services at many of the large, conservative churches in the Seattle area, including Hutcherson's, to see what's going on.

On a Sunday when Tarico was present, Hutcherson was preaching on gender roles. During his sermon, Hutcherson stated, "God hates soft men" and "God hates effeminate men." Hutcherson went on to say, "If I was in a drugstore and some guy opened the door for me, I'd rip his arm off and beat him with the wet end."

"That was a joke," Hutcherson said Friday, when I asked him about the comment. But it's not really funny, is it?

What it sounds like are the kind of words that have paved the way for atrocities in such places as Serbia, Kosovo and Rwanda. You have to dehumanize somebody before you beat them up. Labeling some men as "soft" and "effeminate" and saying "God hates them" does that.


See Complete Story

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Oxnard Shooting Sparks Call For Changes

By Catherine Saillant, Los Angeles Times Staff Writer

February 20, 2008

Hundreds of parents filled an Oxnard gymnasium Tuesday night to ask hard questions about why school officials didn't intervene more aggressively in an escalating feud between two students, which ended last week with the shooting death of 15-year-old student Lawrence King.

In orderly fashion, one parent after another asked for metal detectors on campus, more programs dealing with bullying and for stricter enforcement of the district's uniform policy.

"There were probably weeks of this student being subjected to harassment," said Joe Gonzales, parent of a student at E.O. Green Junior High in Oxnard, where King was killed Feb. 12. "We need to know what was done, or not done, so we can prevent something like this from happening again instead of reacting to it."

Details about events the days before the shooting also trickled out as a panel that included school officials, mental health counselors and Oxnard Police Chief John Crombach responded to questions.

One parent said her daughter told her that several students exchanged text messages the day before the shooting that talked about what the suspect planned to do.

Crombach acknowledged that several students told police they heard about "comments, statements and threats" that were made but that they didn't take the chatter seriously and that there was no evidence that it was reported to school officials.

The police chief said the alleged shooter, Brian McInerney, 14, has refused to talk to investigators so it is unclear why King was shot.

His actions that morning, however, made it clear he planned an attack, Crombach said. The classroom teacher had little time to react, he said.

"It's pretty clear our suspect was focused on his victim and what he planned to do," the chief said. He later said that the suspect apparently got the small-caliber handgun from his home.

Crombach and school officials told parents that they are reviewing safety procedures and considering installing metal detectors.

A school assembly is planned next month to talk to students about bullying and what they should do if they see it on campus.

The killing last week has sparked anguish not only in Oxnard but across the nation as worried parents and gay rights advocates ask whether school officials should respond more aggressively to schoolyard bullying.

King's classmates said he had proclaimed himself gay in recent weeks and began wearing feminine accessories with his school uniform.

The boy endured frequent taunting but appeared to be holding his own, students said, refusing to change his appearance.

Prosecutors have charged McInerney with premeditated murder and added an allegation that it was a hate crime. Witnesses said McInerney pulled out a handgun in class and shot King in the head before fleeing.

He was apprehended by police a few blocks away from the school, and is being held in Juvenile Hall. Prosecutors are trying him as an adult.

On Saturday, 1,000 students marched through downtown Oxnard to plea for peace and tolerance on their school campuses.

At least a dozen candlelight vigils and memorials are scheduled this week for King, including events in San Francisco, Fresno, Sacramento and Ukiah, Calif., and in Massachusetts, New York and South Carolina.

A memorial service for King is scheduled for 3 p.m. Friday at Westminster Presbyterian Church of Hueneme, 755 Bard Road in Port Hueneme. King's family said they scheduled an after-school time so that students may attend.

A private burial will also be held Friday, according to Camino del Sol Memorial Center and Funeral Home in Oxnard, which is handling the arrangements.



Times staff writer Gregory W. Griggs contributed to this report

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

APRIL 11–15, 2008, SEATTLE, WA

From one of our community members;

Dear Friends:

Due to the reactions among students, teachers and parents caused by an incident occurring during the recent Martin Luther King Assembly at Mt. Si High School, many people feel aggrieved, including people with very different perceptions of what happened that day. Such people include teachers, students, parents, persons who were present, persons who were not present, and even the speaker himself.

Sometimes, we learn more from our failures than from our successes. I would like to suggest a process and an event, which might help bring healing to all involved in this incident. For five days in April, 11th through 15th there is an once-in-a-lifetime event coming to our Puget Sound area. “Seeds of Compassion,” an event sponsored by the Kirlin Institute, is bringing the Dalai Lama and other leaders in education, business and youth leadership to ask the question: “What does it look like to lead a compassionate life?” Events during these days are for everyone, but with a special emphasis on youth and their parents. The events will take place at Quest Field, at Seattle Center and on the University of Washington campus. All events are free, but one must obtain tickets. The organizers are especially reaching out to schools, community youth organizations and church youth groups. Another aspect of these days is a Youth Initiative, in which youth will develop and carry out environmental care events, which will occur over the following Earth Day weekend, April 19th-20th.

Leading up to this event, youth from 4th graders through high school are enjoyed to submit photographs, stories, films, drawings, illustrating specify acts of compassion. Such works can be submitted to Seeds of Compassion organizers and many will be displayed on their web-site, www.seedsofcompassion.org. My question to the students, parents, and teachers of this Valley, is this: “What would a compassionate resolution of this recent controversy at Mt Si High School look like? What would deep, compassionate listening by all involved result in? What if, youth from the GSA group and other groups/clubs at Mt Si sat down together and truly listened to one another in a non-judgmental, safe environment? What if, despite their differing viewpoints, these youth went out together to restore and heal some place in our Valley or region as part of the Youth Initiative on Earth Day weekend? I am sure many of you could suggest other excellent ideas to bring healing to those involved in this recent incident. Leading a compassionate life means bringing compassion into the bad as well as the good times of our relationships. Especially during the difficult times!

Rev. Mary Brown
North Bend resident and retired United Methodist minister

P.S. Singer Dave Matthews is doing a concert at the Key Arena in April as a fundraiser for the Seeds of Compassion events.

Seeds of Compassion

Slaying of Gay teen prompts diversity education bill

A 14-year old Ventura County boy has been charged with premeditated murder – with enhancements for the use of a firearm and commission of a hate crime.

By Gregory W. Griggs, Los Angeles Times Staff Writer
February 19, 2008

Prompted by the fatal classroom shooting of an Oxnard student that prosecutors allege was a hate crime, a state legislator Monday announced plans to introduce a bill to expand diversity education in California schools.

Assemblyman Mike Eng (D-Monterey Park), chairman of the Assembly Select Committee on Hate Crimes, said his bill would supplement existing criminal statutes regarding crimes against victims based on their race, religion, ethnicity or sexual orientation.

"My bill is focusing on [hate crime] prevention," Eng said after a news conference at his El Monte district office. "We already have bills on the books about proper punishment; mine will focus on dealing with hatred in a school setting."

Eng hopes to create a pilot program by allocating up to $150,000 to establish a diversity and sensitivity curriculum at a few school districts. The pilot program would serve as a model to be used to develop lesson plans statewide.

Prosecutors said Lawrence King, 15, was shot Feb. 12 by classmate Brandon McInerney, 14, in front of other students at E.O. Green Junior High School.

McInerney was charged last week with premeditated murder with a special allegation of a hate crime. He will be tried as an adult. He remains in custody at Ventura County Juvenile Hall and faces up to 50 years to life in prison if convicted.

Prosecutors have declined to discuss the motive in the case. But several students said that King had argued with other boys, including McInerney, the day before the shooting in a dispute concerning King's sexual orientation.

Students said King had recently revealed that he was gay and had begun wearing makeup and feminine accessories with his school uniform.

On Saturday, more than 1,000 students and parents staged a peace march in Oxnard to pay tribute to King.

Supporters of Eng's bill said they hope that the notoriety of the case may help get legislation passed in 2008.

"Race and religion are more readily acknowledged as unacceptable reasons for treating someone in a negative way, but when you talk about sexual orientation it's more commonly seen that there will be fear, harassment and, oftentimes, violence," said Robin Toma, executive director of the Los Angeles County Human Relations Commission.

"All students need to feel like they're safe," Toma said.

Eng said his bill would help develop a procedure for teachers and administrators to notify counselors or law enforcement when they learn of student harassment that suggests a potential hate crime.

"We need to look at protocols to make sure that students are protected from violence," Eng said.

"Current law requires teachers, physicians and counselors to report possible sexual impropriety with youth, but we don't have protocols dealing with hate crimes that could possibly result in violence," Eng said.

State Sen. Sheila Kuehl (D-Santa Monica), California's first openly gay legislator, helped pass a state law nine years ago that banned discrimination against and harassment of gay students.

Kuehl, whose district includes Oxnard, said Monday that numerous programs exist to teach faculty and students about celebrating differences among students and embracing tolerance and diversity.

If Eng's bill helps get such programs adopted statewide, then schools may become safer, Kuehl said.

Monday, February 18, 2008

Pastor opposes 'sex club' at daughter's high school

Follow. But! Follow only if ye be men of valour, for the entrance to this Sex Club is guarded by a creature so foul, so cruel that no man yet has fought with it and lived! Bones of full fifty men lie strewn about its lair. So, brave knights, if you do doubt your courage or your strength, come no further, for death awaits you all with nasty, big, pointy teeth.

Pastor opposes 'sex club' at daughter's high school
Jeff Johnson - OneNewsNow.com - 2/18/2008 11:00:00 AM


Ken Hutcherson, a pro-family pastor near Seattle, is objecting to the activities of what he calls a "sex club" in his daughter's public high school -- and to the fact that the club is allotted a whole day on the school calendar to promote its agenda.


See Complete Story - WARNING Site includes comments with hate speech.

Open Letter To the Mount Si High School Community

We have received an open letter from one of our parents;

February 18, 2008

To the Mount Si High School Community

We have more in common than that which separates us.

We all have children in the Snoqualmie Valley school system and want the best possible education for our children.

I trust we can all appreciate the difficulty of being a teacher and respect those who have chosen this as their profession and who work with our children every day.

We need to teach our children respect, we need to teach our children reason, we need to teach our children personal responsibility, and we need to teach our children to think for themselves.

A public school is just that, public. They receive public funds, as we all know, and as such they are bound by laws which seek to create a level playing field and which insist that all children in our society are welcome and are treated equitably. I believe that Mount Si High School as been reasonably successful in meeting this high standard. Obviously there is room for improvement and there clearly exists a diversity of opinion about exactly what sort of improvement is required or what shape or form it should take.

Some of us, including myself, want the school to be respectful and welcoming to those who are questioning their sexual orientation, which it is not. Others are declaring a ‘culture war’ and seeking to stop the ‘indoctrination of our children’ on the basis of a teacher asking a question and the perception that there is an ‘agenda’ being foisted on students.

Our country was founded on the principle that ‘all men [sic] are created equal’. At the time our country was founded this laudable goal did not include people of color, nor did it include women. It pretty much included those who were making the rules. It is to the credit of our country and its people that we have seen fit to change the rules over time, to be inclusive and to respect diversity. In short, the whole is greater than the sum of its parts. We are now at a time when the gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender population has gained some legal protection. As such public institutions, such as Mount Si High School, are legally obligated to not discriminate against members of this community. Like it or not it is the law, just as they can not discriminate against students based on their sex, or race, or religious beliefs.

Clearly this creates a rather challenging environment in which to work and in which to teach.

I would encourage us all to support our teachers, to provide constructive criticism when it is warranted but to also respect the difficulty of the challenge. It is important that we base insights and opinions on the reality that exists. All children are, and should be, challenged to think for themselves, to form opinions, and speak to them. It does not mean they should be indoctrinated by particular political or religious beliefs. Some children are agnostic. I am certain there are times they feel indoctrinated by the majority of students and teachers who are Christian. We need to be tolerant. We need to be supportive. We won’t all agree all of the time but we should remember that we share more in common than that which separates us. I firmly believe we all seek a safe, respectful, engaging, and tolerant environment dedicated to learning and preparing young adults to find their way in the world. It is a world that contains many more challenges, opinions, and diversity than those that exist within Mount Si High School.


Mark Joselyn
Parent of three students in the Snoqualmie Valley School District, 2 at the high school

Sunday, February 17, 2008

Who is responsible for Lawrence King's death?

And who is responsible for the ruined life of Brandon McInerney? What is the source for the hate and evil that rose in the hand of a 14 year old child? No one is born with hate. Hate is taught. Hate is indoctrinated. It manifests itself in many forms and all too often hides in the guise of morality and family values. Where is this hate taught?

It's time that we stop ignoring the 800 pound Gorilla. We know the source of this hate but we're too polite to say it. Talking about religious fundamentalism in a negative light is always countered with cries of oppression. But who cries for their victims? Who will stand up for those they have destroyed? Who will try to stop them from doing it again?

How can we as a society watch a bully pulpit spew vitriol and intolerance without condemning it in the loudest of voices? How many children must die or have their lives destroyed before we stand up and call upon them to stop?

Stop preaching hate to children! Stop hurting children!

We condemn Islamic fundamentalist indocrination of their children with seeds of hate and violence, yet the fundamentalists among us are allowed to do the same with impunity.

Freedom of speech is one of the greatest rights we all share, but where is the voice of religious moderates to condemn these fundamentalists? If you stand by and do nothing to counter this evil, you are equally complicit in allowing it to spread.

Remember these great words of Martin Luther King, Jr.

"He who passively accepts evil is as much involved in it as he who helps to perpetrate it. He who accepts evil without protesting against it is really cooperating with it."

"In the End, we will remember not the words of our enemies, but the silence of our friends."

"Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere."

It's time that we demand as a society that these fundamentalist stop spreading their hate, just as we demanded society to acknowledge the KKK as the evil that it was, so must we do with these fundamentalists. This kind of indoctrination is nothing short of child abuse. To take a soul born in the light and twist it towards darkenss is the greatest sin possible in man.

Who is responsible?

A 14 year old child pulled the trigger but bigotry loaded the gun.


Saturday, February 16, 2008

California Middle School Student Murdered in School Because of Sexual Orientation

Students pass by a makeshift memorial honoring fifteen-year-old Lawrence King which lies beneath the flagpole at E.O. Green School Thursday, Feb. 14, 2008.

Media Contact:
Daryl Presgraves

NEW YORK, Feb. 14, 2008 – Ten years after Wyoming college student Matthew Shepard was brutally murdered because of his sexual orientation, a 15-year-old gay California student is brain dead after a student allegedly shot him because of his sexual orientation and gender expression.

Lawrence King, an eighth-grader at E.O. Green Junior High School in Oxnard, was being kept alive today for organ donation after being shot Tuesday morning in class. The 14-year-old attacker, among a group of students known to bully and harass King because he sometimes wore makeup and jewelry and told classmates he was gay, will be charged with murder and a hate crime.

“This incident of senseless violence is truly horrifying, and our hearts go out to the student’s friends, family and the E.O. Green School community,” said Kevin Jennings, Executive Director of GLSEN, the Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education Network. “As a nation, we’ve had our heads in the sand for far too long. We need to do everything we can to prevent something like this from happening again.

“In doing so, it’s absolutely crucial that we name the problem of anti-LGBT bullying and harassment and address it directly to find a solution to the everyday fear that keeps countless youth from feeling safe in school. We must confront the fact that LGBT students are much more likely to be threatened with a weapon and much more likely to feel unsafe at school than other students.”

The 2001-02 California Healthy Kids Survey for the California Department of Education found that California students who were harassed because they are, or are perceived to be, gay or lesbian were more than five times more likely than other students who were not harassed to report being threatened or injured with a weapon (28% to 5%).

“I am deeply saddened by the terrible news about the shooting of Lawrence King. My prayers go out to all of Lawrence's friends and family,” said Judy Shepard, Executive Director of the Matthew Shepard Foundation. “This terrible incident underscores the fact that we cannot let hate go unchecked in our schools and communities. Our young people need our direction and guidance to prevent this type of crime from happening. I urge all parents and teachers to educate their children and students about acceptance, understanding and compassion.”

Two of the top three reasons students say their peers are harassed in school are actual or perceived sexual orientation and gender expression, according to From Teasing to Torment: School Climate in America, a 2005 Harris Interactive report commissioned by GLSEN. The top reason is physical appearance.

As was the case at E.O. Green Junior High, what begins as bullying and harassment too often escalates to violence. In GLSEN’s 2005 National School Climate Survey, nearly a fifth (17.6%) of LGBT students reported being physically assaulted at school in the past school year because of their sexual orientation and over a tenth (11.8%) because of their gender expression.

California is one of only 10 states that protect students from bullying and harassment based on sexual orientation and one of only five that protect students from bullying and harassment based on gender identity/expression.

“Safe schools laws and policies are vitally important, but simply having a law is not enough,” Jennings said. “Schools need to implement staff development and trainings to address anti-LGBT bullying and harassment. Schools also need programs that teach young people respect and tolerance. Every student deserves to feel safe in school. We must take action and take responsibility for our inaction.”

Another crucial intervention to protect students and all Americans is to pass the Matthew Shepard Act as an appropriate and measured response to the unrelenting and under-addressed problem of violent hate crimes committed against individuals based on actual or perceived sexual orientation, gender, gender identity and disability.

GLSEN, or the Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education Network, is the leading national education organization focused on ensuring safe schools for all students. Established nationally in 1995, GLSEN envisions a world in which every child learns to respect and accept all people, regardless of sexual orientation or gender identity/expression. For more information on GLSEN's educational resources, public policy agenda, student organizing programs, research, public education or development initiatives, visit www.glsen.org.

See story in the LA Times

Nearly 1,000 gather to remember Lawrence King

Lorri L. Jean's remarks on the killing of Lawrence King (Must See!)

WAR is declared against LGBT students


Saturday, 16 February 2008

This poster is hanging in the window of a classrom at Mt. Si High School!

It's time we wake up and realize we are in a culture WAR!

When teachers are allowed to hang posters like this in our local school, we've got a big problem. It's time to take back our schools.

Pastor Hutch

Parents we must be vigilant. War has real meaning to this man and particularly to his more fanatical followers;

This Is War, Anti-Gay American Preacher Hutcherson Tells Europe

March 28th, 2007 thomas c jackson

LONDON, March 26, 2007 – As news emerged that a new “anti-gay” group had been registered in Latvia, the plot thickened as to the involvement of an American preacher with religious groups in the country who told an American newspaper: “this is a war”, referring to his anti-gay campaign in Europe.

Ken Hutcherson, the former NFL linebacker and now Dr. Hutcherson, the founder and senior pastor of the Antioch Bible Church near Seattle, claimed to have been a special envoy of the White House when he visited Riga earlier this month.

“I come to you representing the White House”, Dr. Hutcherson told the Riga conference, organised by the New Generation Church.

“In my country, people will know how Latvia responded to anti-Christian statements. We need to stand for righteousness not only morally, but also physically and financially. It’s a great battle for righteousness and no one can stop it. I promise to stand with you.”

This was from a speech he gave in Latvia to a group of anti-homosexual fundamentalists associated with his Watchmen on The Wall cult. Joining Mr. Hutcherson on stage was Dr. Scott Lively, co-author of The Pink Swastika: Homosexuals and the Nazi Party.

Dr. Lively claims that that Hitler and other Nazis were secretly homosexuals, and that indeed both the Nazi regime and the Holocaust were products of a homosexual conspiracy.

Four months later members of this cult made headlines;

Sacramento authorities charge two men in killing of Satender Singh

by JewsOnFirst.org, August 8, 2007
The Sacramento District Attorney has charged two men involved in last month's fatal assault on Satender Singh. One of the suspects faces a manslaughter charge and both are charged with committing a hate crime, confirming witness accounts that the assault was motivated by hatred of gays.

This hate group advocates physical violence to further their cause. We cannot underestimate the potential danger of these hateful fanatics.

On a footnote, Mr. Hutcherson's claim as "Special Envoy of the White House" as been denied by the Bush Administration. An FBI complaint was filed against Mr. Hutcherson to investigate his fraudulent claim.

Friday, February 15, 2008

Washington pastor says public school is 'going to pay' for accepting them Gays


Washington pastor says public school is 'going to pay'
Jeff Johnson - OneNewsNow.com - 2/15/2008 8:00:00 AM


However, a letter of reprimand will not satisfy Hutcherson, who is asking that they be fired. The outspoken pastor also met with school officials over alleged harassment his daughter has suffered since the incident. "If it was a homosexual student, every one of you would be calling because you think that the gay community would sue you," Hutcherson says he told school administrators.


See Complete Story - WARNING Site includes comments with hate speech.

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Letter to Dr. Terry Bergeson, Superintendent of Public Instruction

We received an open letter from one of our parents;

14 February 2008

Dr. Terry Bergeson
Washington State Superintendent of Public Instruction

Dr. Bergeson,

You may or may not be aware of a situation involving the Snoqualmie Valley School District and Mount Si High School. The school administration invited Rev. Ken Hutcherson to speak at the MLK day assembly last month. This invitation was extended over the objections of faculty and the student GSA due to Mr. Hutcherson's notoriety both nationally and internationally related to his fight against civil rights for the LGBT community. Indeed, the faculty and students were mislead by the administration when they were assured that Mr. Hutcherson would not be invited to speak. This was not the first time Mr. Hutcherson was invited, nor the first time his presence generated controversy and complaints from the faculty, students and parents of Mt Si. He was invited three years ago for a similar event.

On the day of the assembly, many were shocked to see Mr. Hutcherson appear at the podium. One teacher, Kit McCormick who is the faculty advisor to the GSA, asked Mr. Hutcherson a question, with permission and after his speech. That question basically asked how Mr. Hutcherson could reconcile his fight against civil rights for the LGBT community with his presence here to honor Dr. King's fight for civil rights for all. Mr. Hutcherson did not answer and Principal Randy Taylor decided to reprimand the teacher for asking her question while publicly apologizing to Mr. Hutcherson for the incident.

We in the valley have been struggling with this issue since the day it happened. We believe the majority of parents in the valley support equal rights for all and are confused and angered by the schools decision to invite Mr. Hutcherson as well as their bad decision to reprimand the teacher for her actions. Put simply, this is unacceptable. We have voiced our concerns to the administration and the school board both in writing and in person at the school board meeting. In fact one student stood up to speak at the last board meeting who is a member of the LGBT students at Mt Si. She was very poignant in illustrating the abuse she has suffered within the school because of her sexual orientation. She was also very clear about how offensive she found the schools actions in subjecting her to listen to a well known bigot during a compulsory assembly.

Meanwhile, with apology in hand, Mr. Hutcherson has mounted a national campaign against two teachers at Mt Si who dared to stand up for their students. Mr. Hutcherson continues to press for the removal of these teachers with the help of national organizations like Focus On The Family as well as his own parishioners.

To date no actions have been taken to apologize to the student body for inviting Mr. Hutcherson in the first place. This invitation, along with last year's senior skit entitled 'Adam and Steve' which completely denigrated the LGBT students in attendance was not only not discouraged, but the skit won first place. In addition to this travesty, on the Day of Silence some students wore hate t-shirts like "I Love Gays – DEAD" while the administration turned a blind eye. In addition, we have testimonials to the effect that when a student complained to Mr. Taylor about verbal and physical harassment on the Day of Silence he responded; "That's just part of the game isn't it?"

As parents we don't like this game. We feel our schools should be safe and accepting of all students in our community. We are not so naïve as to believe all students will embrace equality as they come to school with their own bias and points of view. We do however expect our educators to at least minimize the presence of bias and discrimination in our schools by using good judgment. The school administration in this case has failed repeatedly to protect all of our children.

The School Board and the MSHS administration seem unable or unwilling to find a proper solution to this issue. At this time, I would like to request that your office begin a formal investigation into this matter and provide guidance to the board.

There are many parents that are talking about taking legal action against the district for bias and discrimination, but we are hopeful that the State can step in to help us find a resolution to this matter.

As Senator Murray put it in a letter to Mr. Taylor;

"…, 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."

There is a web site where parents are collaborating in finding a solution to this matter. There is a good deal of background information here, as well as numerous reports in the media surrounding the event. The web site is http://mtsiparents.blogspot.com/

Thank you in advance for your attention to this matter.

Dan Ferland, MSHS Parent

Dr. Bergeson can be contacted at Terry.Bergeson@k12.wa.us


Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Who was that gay man who organized the 1963 Civil Rights march on Washington?

By Nick Gier. Professor Emeritus, University of Idaho

As a politically active black man in 1950s and 1960s, Bayard Rustin had, in addition to his race, three strikes against him: he was a pacifist; he was a Communist; and he was openly homosexual.In 1936 Rustin became a member of the Young Communist League, but he broke with the party when it decided to deemphasize civil rights in favor of supporting the Soviet Union in the war.During World War II he began his long association with the Fellowship of Reconciliation (FOR), a pacifist organization founded in 1914 by an English Quaker and a German Lutheran. His grandmother, who raised him, was a Quaker, but she and her grandson attended a local African Methodist Episcopal Church.From 1944 to 1946 Rustin served 28 months in a federal penitentiary for refusing to report for military service. While in prison he worked diligently to end segregation in the prison dining hall.Rustin was an all-inclusive civil rights worker. He traveled to California to protect the property of Japanese Americans who had been interned during the war. While in prison he established the FOR's Free India Committee, and he later convinced Martin Luther King, Jr. to follow Gandhi’s principle of active nonviolence. In 1947 Rustin led a FOR attempt to integrate the interstate bus system. In Chapel Hill, North Carolina, he and his associates were set upon by a mob, but it was he, rather than his attackers, who served 22 days of hard labor for "inciting" this incident.In 1953 he was arrested for having sex with two other men. Thanks to a recent Supreme Court decision decriminalizing sodomy, no one can be arrested for consensual sex of any sort in today's America. The Texas law that was truck down was particularly discriminatory in that it did not outlaw "unnatural" sex acts between heterosexuals.Because of the gay sex charge, Rustin was fired from the FOR staff. Even though under this dark cloud, King nonetheless took him on as an adviser in 1956. As a seasoned civil rights worker, his experience was crucial to the success of the Montgomery bus boycott.Rustin biographer John D’Emilio writes that Rustin "was the perfect mentor for King at this stage in the young minister’s career. . . and in the ensuing months and years, Rustin left a profound mark on the evolution of King’s role as a national leader."Rustin convinced King that he needed a permanent organization to stabilize his movement, so together they founded the Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC). When black Congressman Adam Clayton Powell threatened to expose him as a gay man, Rustin was forced to resign his SCLC leadership position.Working behind the scenes, Rustin was the main organizer for the 1963 March of Washington, the venue for King’s “I have a Dream” speech. The other organizers made sure that Rustin was not given any public credit for this historic event.Supplied with FBI wire tap information and dirt from segregationist legislators, Senator Strom Thurmond gave a speech in the Senate in which he called Rustin a "Communist, draft-dodger, and homosexual." For the very first time someone came to Rustin’s defense. Labor leader A. Philip Randolph attested to Rustin’s integrity, and the fact that Thurmond's attack fizzled produced a glimmer of hope that equal rights for gays and lesbians might be possible.Rustin advised King not to speak out against the Vietnam war, but King did it anyway. Friends were puzzled why this fervent pacifist did not join the anti-war movement. His response was that he was against a precipitous withdrawal of troops because the Communists would set up a brutal dictatorship.Rustin also reminded his supporters where his duty ultimately lay: "To those who have urged me to switch from civil rights to peace, let me say: Someday, God help us, this war will be over, and my job is to help see to it that when the black soldiers come home, they will have something decent to come home to." Rustin preferred to keep his "eyes on the prize."Rustin's last civil rights battle was for his gay brother and sisters: "The barometer of where one is on human rights questions is no longer the black community, it's the gay community, the community which is most easily mistreated."Nick Gier taught philosophy and religion at the University of Idaho for 31 years. Read his other civil rights columns at http://www.class.uidaho.edu/ngier/civil.htm

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Valley benefactors step up to help Mt Si students

Hi Friends,

Want to let you know what is happening with our grant offer in regard to fostering diversity, tolerance and respect at Mount Si particularly among the student body. We met with Principal Taylor last Friday and suggested that he contact the Snoqualmie Valley Community Network about the idea of assessing the students to find out their issues and ideas surrounding inclusion. How do we know what the kids are thinking unless we ask? Gathering data using an effective assessment tool could be very helpful in planning future programs and assemblies based on what the students need and want.

After doing some research about what assistance might be available, we believe that the Network is an excellent community resource and can best work with the student leadership, student representatives and staff and parent representatives to determine the best approach for conducting a student assessment. The Network has also recently helped to reemploy the Natural Helpers program and are familiar with the lay of the land at Mount Si.

We are very encouraged by Principal Taylor's enthusiasm about our suggestion and are hoping that the staff will support this effort with the students as it takes shape. Principal Taylor plans to contact the Network to see if there is interest in working with the students at Mount Si. It is possible that an assessment is not the best approach but we are confident that if the Network offers its assistance, they can engage the students in developing an effective action plan.

Principal Taylor also outlined plans for working with the staff on issues of teaching controversial subjects...another good, positive idea. He was genuinely appreciative of our offering our assistance and ideas. We assured him that a grant from Dane's memorial fund is available if it would be helpful in fostering a more inclusive culture at Mount Si.

It's an awesome responsibility to be a teacher. We believe teaching is the most challenging AND rewarding of all professions. Both of us started out our adult lives as teachers at the secondary level so we know.... We deeply appreciate your good work. Contact us if there is anything else that we as patrons can do to support Mount Si other than vote in favor of the up-comingbond proposal.

Best regards,

Jerry and Charlotte Rempfer

Monday, February 11, 2008

Is Ken Hutcherson on a mission from God or a Witch hunt?

We found a Witch, may we burn her?

Monday, 11 February 2008

Please get on your knees again!

Please pray for Pat and me as we meet tomorrow morning at 10:30 am with the Principal and two Assistant Principals to ask why those teachers are still in the school.

Pastor Hutch


Wednesday, 13 February 2008

The meeting at Mt. Si High School went extremely well. Pat and I were very truthful, and made our expectations clear. We will now wait to see what the results are, and decide whether or not we will take action.

Another praise...Carl Kelly will be coming on staff as the choir director. He comes to us with much experience, training, and giftedness! Get your voice ready to join the choir!!!

Pastor Hutch

"Take Action"? Hmmm, what could THAT mean?

Sunday, February 10, 2008

Remembering Brandon Myers

Death by bullying

The Associated Press
Kim Myers holds a photograph of her son, Brandon, on Aug. 31, 2007, in Lee’s Summit, Mo. Brandon killed himself in February 2007. For Kim Myers, her son’s death is the result of what she calls incessant bullying that his teachers and other administrators at Voy Spears Elementary School failed to stop.

Feb 09, 2008 @ 12:35 PM
By Alan Scher Zagier

The bedroom bears the telltale signs of a typical boy on the cusp of his teen years: discarded food wrappers, video game consoles, clothes scattered on the floor.

The disarray hides tragedy inside the suburban Kansas City home. The room is a memorial to 12-year-old Brandon Myers, who killed himself in February 2007.

For Kim Myers, Brandon’s death is the result of what she calls incessant bullying that her son’s teachers and other administrators at Voy Spears Elementary School failed to stop.

“He was teased in class on the day he died for acting depressed,” said Myers, a single parent. “He was screaming for help. If he had got the help he needed, he would still be alive.”

Teen suicide has long been considered one of the greatest risks faced by vulnerable adolescents. But an increasing number of mental health experts are warning that younger children, such as Brandon, are also susceptible.

A nationwide survey of more than 15,000 students in grades six to 10 showed that 30 percent reported experience with bullying — 11 percent as targets, 13 percent as bullies themselves and an additional 6 percent who said they had been both aggressor and victim. The survey was published in 2001.

Nationally, more than 3,000 children ages 10-14 committed suicide from 1995 through 2004, according to the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. In Missouri, 34 children in that age group took their own lives from 2001 through 2005, state records show.

Many of the details of how Brandon was harassed — and the school’s response — are incomplete. Myers has hired an attorney and said she plans to sue the Blue Springs School District for her son’s wrongful death. She and her ex-husband, Brandon’s father, don’t want to jeopardize the pending lawsuit by discussing it publicly.

A lawyer for the School District said officials would discuss only Brandon’s “educational experience” with The Associated Press, and then only with his parents’ permission.

The case is not without precedent. In 2005, a teenager from Tonganoxie, Kan., who was bullied for years by classmates who believed he was gay was awarded $440,000 in a settlement against his school district. The young man, who said he is not gay, was harassed with homophobic slurs from seventh grade until he quit school his junior year.

Social pressure
The direct effect of bullying on self-inflicted deaths is impossible to determine. But as in the case of Megan Meier — a 13-year-old suburban St. Louis girl who committed suicide after receiving cruel messages on her MySpace page — the social pressures that drive some children to suicide are immense, said bullying expert Hilda Quiroz.
“Schools are social settings,” said Quiroz, a former teacher who now works for the California-based National School Safety Center. “And in social settings, there are kids who wield power.”

Bullying victims direct their anger in two directions, Quiroz said: at themselves or toward others, including their tormentors.

“Children sometimes turn inward and hurt themselves, or they turn outward and bring weapons to school,” she said.

For Brandon, life didn’t come easy. Born with a cleft palate, he endured several corrective surgeries that improved his smile but didn’t get rid of a pronounced speech impediment.

His parents divorced when he was 5. Diagnosed with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder in the third grade, and later depression, he took a daily chemical cocktail to combat those impulses and regularly saw a counselor outside school.

In the days and weeks leading up to his suicide, Brandon dropped several hints to classmates and teachers that his troubles may have grown life-threatening, Kim Myers said.

She didn’t learn of those warning signs until it was too late.

The day after Christmas would have been Brandon’s 13th birthday. His absence made the holiday a painful one for his older brother and sister and his parents, too.

“This is the first year he’s not been around,” said his father, Randy Myers. “We’re struggling.”

Suicide note
Down the block from Brandon’s house, a solitary plaque marks his shortened life, a tribute to the passion that drove him to awaken in the pre-dawn darkness each morning so he could fish at the neighborhood lake before school.

“Forever Fishing,” the plaque reads. “Brandon Myers.”

Fishing was an escape for Brandon. He would go fishing with his buddy Trystyn, or with his mother’s boyfriend at nearby Lake Lotawana. Summertime meant bullfrog hunting trips with his grandfather in southwest Missouri.

Inside Trystyn Wagner’s home, toy frogs of all shapes and sizes surround a hallway display of baseball cards, fishing photos and other reminders of his late best friend.

A few days before Brandon’s death, the two friends argued over a girl. They quickly patched up the dispute, but guilt from that encounter and its proximity to Brandon’s suicide hangs over Trystyn, his mother said.

“He said he wanted to be next to Brandon,” said Amy Wagner, who said she has since moved Trystyn and his younger sister to a private school as a result of what she calls her son’s own bullying experience.

“It’s just been a nightmare,” she said.

During an investigation of Brandon’s death, Trystyn told police that Brandon drew a picture of himself hanging from a rope. The drawing was found by another student and turned in to a teacher, according to a police incident report.

Another classmate later shared a note from Brandon that further hinted at his risks of suicide.

I “have had enuf of this crap (p) y life,” the note reads. “I will hang myself tonight so if you have anything to say to me I suggest you tell me before 4:35 p.m. tonight.”

The note, a copy of which was provided to the AP by Kim Myers, asked the unknown classmate to tell other students in Brandon’s class and listed the phone numbers for two students he wished to alert.

Kim Myers said she first learned of the warning note in May, nearly three months after Brandon’s death, from a Lee’s Summit police officer. The note was given to school officials on March 2 by a student’s parent.

The unidentified student’s mother told police and school officials that she found the note folded on a table in her home two days after Brandon’s death, and brought it to school later that week.

Brandon’s unkempt bedroom isn’t the only reminder Kim Myers carries of his brief life.

She wears a frog ring on her right hand, a Mother’s Day gift to commemorate her son’s amphibious passion.

She keeps a jar of green BB gun pellets in his honor — tiny memorials that have mysteriously turned up in the most unlikely of places, from the doctor’s office where she works to the beaches of Puerto Vallarta, Mexico, where she and her mother traveled to seek peace after Brandon’s death.

“As soon as I picked it up the tide came in and washed everything away,” she recalled.
“I think it’s him talking to me ... letting me know he’s around. He’s watching over me.”

Source: Rockford Register Star

Saturday, February 9, 2008

KOMO Story Retracted

I'm not sure if anyone noticed, but KOMO TV was at the School Board meeting. The story they filed was so off target to the message presented that they were pressured to retract their piece. DEAD LINK

I of course saved the piece before it got pulled down, here was their report;

Hutcherson's wife says family is being harassed

Story Published: Feb 7, 2008 at 11:48 PM PST
Story Updated: Feb 7, 2008 at 11:50 PM PST

By KOMO Staff
Watch the story

SNOQUALMIE, Wash. -- The family members of pastor Ken Hutcherson say they have been under attack ever since the pastor made controversial comments during a school assembly.

Hutcherson's wife addressed the school board on Thursday night.

"In the three weeks since the assembly, our life has been anything but back to normal," said Pat Hutcherson.

It was standing room only at the school board meeting as Pat discussed the harassment that has followed the couple and their four children since her husband spoke at an assembly at Mount Si High School on Martin Luther King, Jr. Day.

"My family is boldly called names like 'bigot', 'homophobe' and we've been permanently branded in the valley," she said.

The pastor, who is known for his anti-gay stance, was booed and publicly questioned by two teachers during the assembly. The incident has raised numerous concerns and issues, including bad manners and the acceptance of gays and lesbians. Some students are even concerned that teachers are imposing their personal beliefs on the students.

"I have six classes a day. I know the personal beliefs of all six of my teachers and I don't want to," one student said at the meeting.

"I also think that to invite an anti-gay person was sending wrong message to students at Mount Si," another said.

"We shouldn't cast blame..but rather learn from this and accept diversity," a third said.

Mount Si's principal said the two teachers involved in the incident were dealt with appropriately, but refused to discuss the details of the school's personnel matter.

Where is the focus on our children? Dozens of students spoke out, some spoke of their ongoing harassment and abuse because of their orientation. This is all about our kids. Why are their voices not being heard?

Contact KOMO and urge them to report the REAL issue. They have all the footage available to them. E-mail KOMO

Or contact Ken Schram to help us get the focus of this issue on our kids where it belongs.

The Seattle Times has a more accurate report of the events.

Thanks to a contributor who sent this;
FYI: Pam Spaulding has the KOMO news video on her website:
Hutcherson's wife: we're being harassed because of Ken's views

Friday, February 8, 2008

Hutcherson's Latest Distortions

POSTED TO: Antioch Bible Church Web Site

This would sadden Dr. King so deeply.

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

Mr. Potratz never suggested that we should start a movement to bring back slavery, what he actually said, paraphrasing a contributor was;

"yes, Hutcherson has a right to his views...just as someone who believes in reinstating slavery has a right to theirs." What Potratz went on to say, and what Hutcherson has idiotically and selfishly twisted is the part where Potratz continued with the idea that: "just because someone has the right to these ideas, it does not make them acceptable in a public school"

Hutcherson has now engaged Focus On The Family to pressure the school with his twisted interpretation of last nights events; CitizenLink

Randy Taylor should be expecting a barrage of homophobic mail this weekend.

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.

Wednesday, February 6, 2008

February 6 - to all Mount Si High School students and parents.

February 6, 2008

Dear Mount Si High School Students and Parents,

As you know, events at this year’s Martin Luther King Jr. assembly have sparked questions and concerns from students, parents, and community patrons. Once again, I want to apologize for the impact of these events on our students.

A letter sent home with all Mount Si High School students on Friday, February 1,2008 from Superintendent Joel Aune is posted on our school website at www.mountsihighschool.com and on the district website at www.svsd410.org. The purpose of the letter today is to provide for you an update on these matters and communicate our next steps.

Concerns regarding the actions of a few staff as well as questions pertaining to administrative oversight of the assembly planning have emerged. A thorough review of these concerns and questions has been completed. First, appropriate action was taken with staff and school administration to address behavior, oversight, supervision, communication, and decision-making concerns. Please note that personnel matters are confidential and will not be discussed.

Second, the following plan is being developed to improve our practices, enhance our skills, and strengthen our school as we turn our attention to the future. It is our intent to learn from this event and use those learnings to strengthen Mount Si High School.

• Staff development activities are being planned to reinforce with staff members their responsibilities to uphold Mount Si High School’s mission to help students:
  • identify and realize their academic and personal potential;
  • respect individual differences;
  • develop skills and motivation for life-long learning;
  • be knowledgeable, active and responsible citizens.

    In bringing staff together around our common goals and purpose, we will work to reunite following what has been a divisive time for many.

    • We are in the planning stages of creating a task force comprised of teachers, students and parents. This task force will review guidelines and make suggestions for the teaching of controversial subjects. This committee will convene in early spring.

    • We are reviewing and revising our procedures around special programs and assemblies at the high school. The intent is to define and/or clarify approval processes, expectations for behavior, communication guidelines, and opportunities for teaching and learning prior to and following a special program or assembly.

    • Lessons for students will continue around tolerance and respect for varying opinions, beliefs, and backgrounds, while we maintain a safe environment for learning. Tolerance and respect will continue to be the foundation of our school’s celebration called “Day of Respect.” This event has been a positive focus for Mount Si High School students over the past seven years and provides an opportunity to honor cultural diversity and the freedoms of speech and thought that our society enjoys.

    Finally, on behalf of all of us at Mount Si High School, we want to re-emphasize that we remain committed to offering all students an education that is stimulating and challenging, in a nurturing environment. We value the partnership between parents, students, teachers and community members that is vital to effective teaching and learning of our students. We are honored to be entrusted with the education of your children and continue to take very seriously this enormous responsibility and privilege.

    Thank you for your many emails, letters, and phone calls that have helped us learn from this event, and for your support to help us remain focused on your child’s education.


    Randy W. Taylor

    Related Story - Seattle Times
  • Monday, February 4, 2008

    School Board Meeting This Week

    The Superintendent released this letter on February 1, 2008.

    Join us at the next School Board meeting on Thursday February 7th at 7:30 pm
    8001 Silva Ave SE,Snoqualmie (map)

    Let's find out

  • What the district plans to do to make sure controversial speakers are not invited that may offend students and/or provide a negative role model.

  • What steps the district will take to alleviate distasteful student activities that may offend or make some students feel isolated and unsafe. For example last years 'Adam and Steve' skit.

  • What steps the district will take in providing anti-harrassment training to all faculty and staff?

  • What steps the district will take to make sure students feel safe and un-threatened during the upcoming Day of Silence.

  • What if any action the district intends to take with any of the faculty members involved.

    All students have a federal constitutional right to
    equal protection under the law. This means that
    schools have a duty to protect lesbian, gay, bisexual
    and transgender (LGBT) students from harassment on
    an equal basis with all other students. If school
    officials failed to take action against anti-LGBT
    harassment because they believed that the LGBT students
    should expect to be harassed; or because they
    believed that LGBT students brought the harassment
    upon themselves simply by being openly LGBT; or
    because the school was uneducated about LGBT
    issues and was uncomfortable addressing the
    situation, then the school has failed to provide equal
    protection to the student.