FISTGATE SPECIAL REPORT

 
'Parents' No Longer Recognized By Schools
Daycare Centers Are Closely Monitored

By Tom Duggan

"One thing that was stressed over and over at Fistgate," said a teacher who has asked not to be identified, "was the importance of eliminating words like 'mother and father' because that disrespects the gay lifestyle. 

"If someone is said to have a mother, that may be offensive to someone who is being raised by two homosexual men, so the word they wanted us to focus on was 'partner.' Most  schools no longer send notes 'to the mother and father' or 'to the parents' but to a single parent as if this is the acceptable norm."   
This is only one of many strategies that are being promoted throughout the schools of Massachusetts, beginning with daycare centers and elementary schools. 

The strategy, according to GLSEN members who taught at Fistgate, is to promote homosexuality in schools through casual conversations between students and their gay teachers. There were two workshops at Fistgate that focused on very young children. 

One was sponsored by four lesbians in Lexington who live with children who attend the elementary schools. The following was the description of their workshop.



13B: It's elementary in your town; getting gay and lesbian issues included in elementary school staff development, curriculum development, and the PTA

Liz Coolidge, Elisabeth Sackton, Meg Soens and Kathie Keagul

How lesbian parents approached and worked collaboratively with school system administration to develop plans for integrating gay and lesbian issues in elementary anti-bias curriculum. How we approached multiple levels, integrated our goals with anti-bias curriculum and explicit core values of the Lexington Public Schools.



Although these workshops were offered as a vehicle to promote "safe" schools for gay children, the real agenda was revealed early in the presentation, according to the teacher who was in attendance.

One presenter told the group that she was a lesbian and had adopted two children. She said that the early education workshop was put together "so that these young children will already be exposed to the gay lifestyle by the time they reach middle school and high school." She said she works with parents at daycare facilities across the Commonwealth and that teaching homosexuality and acceptance of homosexuality must begin at the earliest ages by promoting language in school systems that respects gay and lesbian lifestyles. 

One of the presenters said her main goals were to promote diversity and to prevent gay bias in public schools. She said that the workshops were a blueprint of strategies to get around the curriculum of conservative administrators and parents who are "against us." These strategies included a long discussion on what to do when faced with "those conservative parents and teachers who advocate hate and homophobia to their children." She stressed the need for intervention by the schools when parents were not adequately teaching their children how "not to hate." 

One of those strategies was for gay teachers to engage in personal discussions with young students using biographical information about themselves to stimulate their students' interest and to raise questions about their personal lives. "Informal discussions about your daily activities or your personal life is a great vehicle you can use to gain their trust and connect individually with your students. This personal contact is important because you want your students to relate to you as a person and that makes it much easier to influence their ideas and opinions about how to treat gay, lesbians or persons of a particular orientation."

When children begin asking personal questions, it opens the door for further discussions about the teacher's "life partner situation," being gay, coming out, and exactly what that means. "Since it is so important to give children the most complete and accurate information you can as an educator, you are obligated to teach your students. That means giving them as much information as you can so that they can make their own decisions based on the most complete and accurate information you can provide."

Teacher 'Outed' In Newton
This workshop was held on March 25, 2000.Two months later, a first grade teacher in Newton named David Gaita announced to his young class of five-year-olds that he was gay and that he loved a man "the way your mother and father love each other." The method he used to announce his sexual preference and lifestyle to children followed the blueprint set forth by the Department of Education conference. 

Gaita told Bay Windows that he introduced the word "partner" into his class discussions by reading a story called "The Frog Princess Continued." It told the story of a prince and princess who were married. Gaita then explained to his first grade children that the word partner, though commonly used in a gay context, applied to straight couples as well. When children questioned him on the meaning of 'gay,' Gaita told Bay Windows that he explained it to the children as "a man and a man loving each other like your mom and dad." 

One little boy raised his hand and said, "I don't like girls, So I must be gay." Gaita was quoted in the publication as telling the class that this was different because he was talking about "grownup love." He told the children, "When you get older you may have a partner that is a man, you may have a partner that is a woman." 

"This is so outrageous," said the teacher who attended the Fistgate conference. "The strategy is to teach homosexuality under the cover of 'safe schools' and 'respecting diversity.' If children can't understand the maturity of the situation, why would anyone want to subvert the education system by teaching them something that they are clearly not ready for. If the children have to wait to be adults because it is adult love, as Gaita says, why is this being discussed with a first grade class in the first place? In fact this sort of sexual training only makes kids more confused. I have been teaching for many years and I see these children getting more and more confused by this sort of thing." 

The workshop presenters also advocated that gays and lesbians infiltrate church organizations across the Commonwealth in order to use a well-developed political strategy to force them to be more open and affirming of the homosexual lifestyle. 

"What I want to know from David Driscoll and Governor Cellucci is what any of this has to do with safe schools?" asked the teacher who attended. "They talked about how to teach sexuality in general and particularly homosexuality to children who are three years old and up. They talked about infiltrating churches and supporting political organizations like the NAACP and MCAD, but these topics have absolutely nothing at all to do with stopping a child from being discriminated against or getting beaten up in school for being gay."

One presenter told the workshop attendees, "We are hopeful that inclusiveness and respect for gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgendereds and all those orientations, is achieved through the language used at the elementary level. If elementary kids are familiar with that kind of diversity and respect, the kids will grow up and 'come out' or identify themselves in that way. It means we will have safer schools. It doesn't happen overnight, so we are really looking at this as a long term project for the public schools." 

Works In All Lexington Schools
She also told attendees that her current role in the community was to eliminate anti-gay epithets in the Lexington School System as well as combat harassment in the elementary schools. "We want to have inclusive language for gay and lesbian families in the schools and in the classrooms. We train staff at the elementary level," she said. "You probably know the Mass General Law that supports equal education for all, regardless of sexual orientation and a support system for all. It supports our work and GLSEN as well." 

The Massachusetts law does not support the GLSEN organization by name or intent. It is designed to give equal protection to all based on race, color or creed, and includes sexual orientation. The Governor does support the efforts of GLSEN through a line item in his office budget that funds Gay/Straight Alliances. The Department of Education under Commissioner Driscoll has also supported the efforts of GLSEN and the teaching of sexual material to children both in schools and at conferences like "Fistgate."     

When questioned by a teacher at the early childhood workshop as to what kind of questions a first or second grade child could possibly raise on their own, the presenter answered, "We get asked, 'How do you experience pregnancy if you are a lesbian?' and 'How do lesbians do it?'" The presenter did not go into detail as to how these young children would come to know what a lesbian was in the first place, or how pregnancy could be different for lesbians as opposed to straight women.

Another strategy was to seek straight teachers and administrators who are supportive or "allies" of the gay agenda. The anonymous teacher who attended said, "This is more than just a group of individuals who are looking for friends to support them in their daily struggles with their lifestyle. This is a political agenda. This is how people with an agenda sneak their way into the schools and influence the minds of our children whether we like that or not. And parents have little or no say. What is really baffling to me is that the parents are not more informed about their children being exposed to this stuff on a regular basis. Part of the problem is that the media doesn't pay any attention to what is going on." 

The materials and resources handed out and promoted at the GLSEN conference were widely circulated and are even available on the Internet. The anonymous teacher said, "Writer Rick Gosselin has taken all the classic stories such as Dr. Seuss, and corrupted them. He changed each story so that the parents who are traditionally male and female are now all rewritten to be two men or two women as the parents. Parents don't want their children reading that stuff at school. If anyone is going to teach the children anything about sex, it should be done by the parents. They are the ones who know when their kids are ready to learn this, not the government, not the schools and certainly not David Driscoll."

Another program on young children was titled:



5A: Early Childhood Educators: How to Decide Whether to Come Out at Work or Not
Liz Posinoff, M.Ed., College Instructor and Adult Education Trainer
This is an interactive session for those involved in teaching and working with our youngest children. We will look at levels of safety, what holds us back, how to gain support and the ramifications of this issue when working with staff and families in the child care center.


The early childhood program said that its purpose was to support homosexual teachers at the earliest educational levels on how to "come out" in their classrooms with their youngest students.