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Old 04-20-2006, 08:03 AM   #1
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Some Parents Angry About "Gay Fairy Tale" Book In School

The superintendent says they have no obligation to notify the parents about this book-do they? How can diversity and tolerance be taught without having books such as this one-can it? That is an interesting question-should sexual orientation be added to the list of topics requiring parental notification?

By Tracy Jan, Boston Globe Staff | April 20, 2006

In a controversy with a familiar ring, parents of a Lexington second-grader are protesting that their son's teacher read a fairy tale about gay marriage to the class without warning parents first.

The teacher at Joseph Estabrook Elementary School used the children's book, ''King & King," as part of a lesson about different types of weddings. A prince marries another prince instead of a princess in the book, which was on the American Library Association's list of the 10 most challenged books in 2004 because of its homosexual theme.

''My son is only 7 years old," said Lexington parent Robin Wirthlin, who complained to the school system last month and will meet with the superintendent next week. ''By presenting this kind of issue at such a young age, they're trying to indoctrinate our children. They're intentionally presenting this as a norm, and it's not a value that our family supports."

She complained more than a year after Lexington parent David Parker was arrested for trespassing, because he refused to leave the Estabrook school grounds until administrators allowed him to opt his son out of discussions about families with same-sex parents. The latest incident has renewed the efforts of Waltham-based Parents' Rights Coalition to rid the state's schools of books and lessons that relate to homosexuality, and led the school system to reemphasize its stance on teaching about gay marriage and related issues as part of larger lessons on diversity and tolerance.

Lexington Superintendent of Schools Paul Ash said Estabrook has no legal obligation to notify parents about the book. ''We couldn't run a public school system if every parent who feels some topic is objectionable to them for moral or religious reasons decides their child should be removed," he said. ''Lexington is committed to teaching children about the world they live in, and in Massachusetts same-sex marriage is legal."

Ash, who became superintendent this school year, wrote a memo to parents in September defending the system's philosophy of teaching diversity. His memo, which clarified the state's parental notification law, stemmed from the controversy with Parker. Schools are required to notify parents of lessons on sex education and give them the right to opt out, but in Lexington, sex education doesn't begin until fifth grade, Ash said.

Parker had objected to a ''diversity book bag" that his son brought home from kindergarten. The bag included ''Who's in a Family?," a book that depicted same-sex couples along with other types of families.

In ''King & King," two princes kiss at the end of the book, which was first published in the Netherlands then translated into English and published by the Berkeley, Calif.-based Tricycle Press in 2002. The book was written for children ages 6 and older, the publisher said. Tricycle Press also published ''Who's in a Family?"

''Tricycle Press is proud to have published 'King & King' ," said Laura Mancuso, the company's marketing and publicity manager in an e-mail in response to questions from the Globe. ''It features an unconditional love that ignores conventional boundaries. There are many kinds of families in this country, and the children in these families and their friends deserve to see their situations in a positive light."

Mancuso said the publisher first received complaints about the book in 2004 when a North Carolina couple objected to their first-grade daughter bringing it home from the school library. Last year, an Oklahoma legislator used the book as an example of why children's library collections should have new restrictions. The Lexington teacher borrowed the book from the school library.

The two protests in Lexington illustrate the need for a broader parental notification law in the state, said Brian Camenker, president of the Parents' Rights Coalition. Camenker provided the language for a 1996 Massachusetts law that requires schools to notify parents of lessons on sex education and is pushing for the addition of sexual orientation to the topics requiring notification.

The pending bill would also require all parents to sign forms allowing their children to participate in such lessons instead of asking those who are offended to opt out, said Camenker, a Newton parent whose group is fighting same-sex marriage and opposes what it calls the ''homosexual agenda" in public schools. The Wirthins contacted his group for help in dealing with Lexington schools.
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Old 04-20-2006, 08:16 AM   #2
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Some parents are idiots and should never have been allowed to breed in the first place.

Melon
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Old 04-20-2006, 08:16 AM   #3
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^true that
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Old 04-20-2006, 08:17 AM   #4
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did you do the whole "gay fairy tale" thing as a pun?

anyway do kids really get horrified by this stuff, hard to think back sometimes to that age but kids aren't really the ones with the problem it's parents. parents want to protect innocence I suppose there's nothing wrong with that if you accept the notion that homosexuality ruins their innocence, but most people would say it's wrong to teach children to fear and loathe.
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Old 04-20-2006, 08:28 AM   #5
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Granted most 7 year olds could be quite sophisticated these days-I don't have much contact with kids at all but from what I read,hear, etc. But somehow my gut tells me that the kids wouldn't really even care or notice if it weren't for the parents making an issue out if it. Teaching kids about diversity and respect for others' lives (I prefer that to "tolerance" somehow) is a very good thing, it would be very important for me to do if I had kids.

Would the parents be notified if the school was using a book involving straight orientation?

If you know the history of Lexington and Concord, it's sort of ironic in a way. I have always thought of Lexington as being a more "liberal" place. Of course there are probably many parents there who feel differently about this book and about the whole issue.
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Old 04-20-2006, 08:30 AM   #6
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I remember being taught at school the dynamics of "family". That there was all kinds of family like the nuclear family,single parent family and same sex parent family. There was nothing wrong with that.
Some of these parents have IQ's of a Mars bar!
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Old 04-20-2006, 08:40 AM   #7
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lol
i love how the parents act like a little book about something that happens every day with millions of people is suddenly "indoctrine" them into gay right activists. Its like get OVER IT. It happens, it ain;t going to go away, so instead of pretending it doesn't exist, understand it!

meh. I love how they assume learning about homosexual is something they can choose to tell to their children, because its like some dirty little secret or something.

Some people!
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Old 04-20-2006, 10:17 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally posted by melon
Some parents are idiots and should never have been allowed to breed in the first place.


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Old 04-20-2006, 10:53 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally posted by MrsSpringsteen
said Lexington parent Robin Wirthlin ''they're trying to indoctrinate our children. ......and it's not a value that our family supports."
I just love shit like this.
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Old 04-20-2006, 11:18 AM   #10
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Some people are just living in some sort of dream world, where (they think) morals are perfect and the streets are paved with gold. They're foolish. Get real, homosexuality is out there, it's not going anywhere and you've got to live with that. I was maybe 14 when I first found out what a gay was. I didn't know anything about it but I learned fast. The guy was into drugs, and we were both in the psychiatric ward of University Hopsital. I came to the conclusion that he was into drugs because he didn't fit neatly into the norms for our very conservative neighborhood. Those were dark days.
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Old 04-20-2006, 11:21 AM   #11
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Originally posted by martha


I just love shit like this.
Why is it funny to you when parents have a different way of raising there children. Sure it may not be family value, but how do you know that these parents tell there kids not to hate gay people.

why should people have to live like you?
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Old 04-20-2006, 11:27 AM   #12
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Why is it funny to you when parents have a different way of raising there children. Sure it may not be family value, but how do you know that these parents tell there kids not to hate gay people.

why should people have to live like you?
Quote:
''By presenting this kind of issue at such a young age, they're trying to indoctrinate our children. They're intentionally presenting this as a norm, and it's not a value that our family supports."
You can't be serious? You think preaching to your children that certain people aren't "normal" is a value?
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Old 04-20-2006, 11:30 AM   #13
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ughhhh. They dont support homosexuality but it dosent mean that they dont tell there kids to hate them.
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Old 04-20-2006, 11:36 AM   #14
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Quote:
Originally posted by Justin24


Why is it funny to you when parents have a different way of raising there children. Sure it may not be family value, but how do you know that these parents tell there kids not to hate gay people.

why should people have to live like you?
The funny part isn't the way these people have chosen to raise their children; that's tragic. What's funny about that statement is the use of the words "they" and "indoctrinate." It sounds like the parents think the school is some sort of reeducation camp run by gays and lesbians out to convert their kids to an evil way of life.

And I'm sure these parents subscribe to the oh-so-Christian ideal of "hating the sin, while loving the sinner." Where they find Christ preaching hate anywhere in His teachings is beyond me.
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Old 04-20-2006, 11:37 AM   #15
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ughhhh. They dont support homosexuality but it dosent mean that they dont tell there kids to hate them.
It's not a matter of "support" or hate.

How do you "support" homosexuality?

Do you "support" heterosexuality?

This isn't a cause, you support causes, not someone's sexuality.
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