Erie, Illinois Mayor Marcia Smith now has said on the record that elementary-school-aged children being raised by same-sex parents are welcome in the town.
Previously, Mayor Smith would not say whether or not such families were welcome. In the interim, David Giuliani, a reporter for SaukValley.com, became agitated over the initial New Civil Rights Movement report, which said that Mayor Smith’s refusal to comment suggested that such families would not be welcome in the town. Giuliani published an article criticizing this reporter, but he did not get Mayor Smith to answer the question of whether elementary-school-aged children of same-sex parents are welcome in Erie.
“I have not had a chance to look at the book yet to understand what the controversy is about,” Mayor Smith told me in a telephone interview. The controversy was triggered by one page in Todd Parr’s The Family Book, which simply says that some families have two dads, and some, two moms. “I have a lot do as mayor,” the mayor said, “and the school board’s activities are separate from mine. I think you have a misunderstanding of what people are like in a rural community in Illinois. We do have minorities here. And children of same-sex parents of course are welcome in our community. You are welcome to come visit us here, too.”
As happened, the local anti-gay theocratic tyrants of the Erie Christian Church held prayer vigils for all GLSEN materials to be banned, and banned they now are; No Name-Calling Week and the Ready, Set, Respect! anti-bullying program fell victim to the tyranny.
Erie schools Superintendent Bradley Cox is on a warpath along with with the theocrats, to make sure that sexual minorities remain stigmatized in the town. Asked by Chicago Pride what would happen if a teacher attempted to make their classroom a more accepting place for children of nontraditional families, Cox said that this “would be insubordination,” and that the teacher’s specific punishment “would be determined on a case by case basis.” Cox previously has spoken out both sides of his mouth, by saying that tolerance will still be taught in the school, but that there is to be no mention made ever of same-sex-headed families. The ban of the GLSEN materials including No Name-Calling Week implies a harsher and broader crackdown on the mere mention of the existence of certain minorities, as well as an elimination of protections for certain minority students, if they are harassed in the school, as teachers hearing from the superintendent that they will be punished for teaching minority acceptance likely have been intimidated into silence, for fear of losing their jobs.
Cox’s behavior appears to contradict legal requirements for safe schools and the teaching of acceptance values as described in The Prevent School Violence Act, passed by the Illinois General Assembly in 2010, as well as in the Illinois State Board of Education’s Learning Standards for Social Emotional Learning. Moreover, Cox’s behavior appears to contradict the welcome that Mayor Smith gives to elementary-school-aged children of same-sex parents.
In November, 2011, in rural Ridge Farm, Illinois, the 10-year-old Ashlynn Conner hanged herself after being relentlessly bullied in a public school. She was mocked for “looking like a boy,” and when she would report the harassment to school officials, the officials would call her a “tattletale.”
New York City– based novelist and freelance writer Scott Rose’s LGBT– interest by– line has appeared on Advocate .com, PoliticusUSA .com, The New York Blade, Queerty .com, Girlfriends and in numerous additional venues. Among his other interests are the arts, boating and yachting, wine and food, travel, poker and dogs. His “Mr. David Cooper’s Happy Suicide” is about a New York City advertising executive assigned to a condom account.
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