Having been away for the last two days, with my parents in Connecticut, I have been a little out of touch with both local and national affairs. I did a little reading today, however, and ran into this story at Wizbang. Michelle Malkin hits it also. Here's the story in yesterday's Boston Herald regarding the arrest of a Lexington man who protested the reading material presented to his 6 year-old son in kindergarten.
Lexington school calls cops on dad irate over gay book
By Laura Crimaldi
Thursday, April 28, 2005
Police arrested a Lexington father who refused to leave the Joseph Estabrook School yesterday after school officials rejected his demands that his 6-year-old son be shielded from any discussions about gay households.
David Parker, 42, confronted officials after his son brought home "Who's in a Family,'' a storybook that includes characters who are gay parents.
Yesterday, Parker refused to leave a meeting after Lexington Superintendent Bill Hurley rejected his demand that he be notified when his son is exposed to any discussion about same-sex households as part of classroom instruction.
"Our parental requests for our own child were flat-out denied,'' Parker said in a statement.
Parker also asked that the boy be pulled from similar discussions that arise spontaneously, said Brian Camenker, director of the Article 8 Alliance, which supports the ouster of four pro-gay marriage judges on the state's Supreme Judicial Court.
School officials could not be reached for comment.
Shortly after reading the piece at Wizbang I had a very interesting conversation with one of Gwendolyn's best friends - who happens to hold a Harvard Ph.D. and whose family member happens to work at that Lexington school as a teacher.
Despite her Harvard credentials she managed to avoid the Cambridge far-left cant that seems ubiquitous. She and her relative argued over this episode, with the relative spewing invective and accusing her of racism, homophobia and all sorts of politically incorrect thought. She is, of course, none of these things, as I know this person very well. She is quite level-headed, logical and rational - but leans conservative. She held her temper and tried to engage her relative in a rational discussion - having had conversations with her on other topics she's quite good at it. She'd have to be to defend a Ph.D. thesis. Her efforts, however were answered with insults and accusations. And Mr. Parker was dismissed as a "religious nut."
According to this friend the book is sent home in a "diversity bookbag." You can review what's in them online. Check out the front page at the website, including the "Anti-Bias Committee for Diversity" logo at the top left.
We are very excited to continue the project we began in 2002 with the Diversity Bookbags. The bags are intended to strengthen connections among our school population and to build an atmosphere of tolerance and respect for cultural, racial, ability and family structure diversity.
Here's the description of the book in question, from the kindergarten page.
Who's in a Family by Robert Skutch
Shows the various combinations of individuals that can make up a family, emphasizing the positive aspects of different family structures, including grand-parent headed, single-parent, adopted, gay-headed, and mother-father families. Uses examples from the animal kingdom to illustrate how family groupings can differ.
This 'conversation' our friend had with her stepmother is a graphic real-life example of a kind described by Brian Anderson early on in South Park Conservatives.
The Left's position on homosexuality is no longer about winning tolerance for it but about getting everyone to celebrate it as just one more perfectly normal sexual lifestyle, something many religious conservatives adamantly reject. The easy assumptions [Newsweek's Jonathan] Alter makes are illustrative: that conservative criticism of homosexual behavior is "degrading," for example, or that the moral teachings of, say, the Catholic Church, are "homophobic."
Anderson notes that those on the left respond with invective and disregard for the reasonable arguments of conservatives all too frequently.
"Racist," "homophobe," "sexist," "mean-spirited," "insensitive" - it has become an ugly habit of left-liberal political argument to dismiss conservative ideas as if they don't deserve a hearing, and to redefine mainstream conservative views as extremism and bigotry...
Illiberal liberalism undermines two principles crucial to liberal democracy and central to its superiority to other forms of government.
First, democracy requires a willingness to engage the arguments of those you disagree with, recognizing their equality as citizens...But calling someone a racist or a bigot says that his ideas have no place in the democratic public square. It's an annihilating gesture...
And apparently the indoctrination must start early. It would be perfectly appropriate for these teachers to teach respect for all others, sharing, compassion, and other universally desirable traits in a developing child. To do this, however, does not require detailing specifics about homosexual-headed or any other types of families. As Gwendolyn noted that there is no way these teachers would point out economic differences and specify that 'Joey's' family has lots of money and lives in a mansion, but 'Carolyn's' parents rent a tenement apartment, would they? So what is the purpose of this specificity? It is to remove the parents from teaching social mores to their own children. They can't take the chance that you might teach your children something that hasn't received the "Seal of Approval."
Back to Mr. Parker, who puts it just right in the Boston Globe version of the story.
Parker said he wanted to control ''the timing and manner" in which his son learned about ''adult themes."
''This is not about creating a forum for hate . . . for any segment of society," Parker said after his arraignment. ''I'm just trying to be a good dad."
Link to the email exchange between the parents and the school district.