By: Scot Bear To: Jim Staal Re: Letters re: Teacher THE DETROIT NEWS 615 W. Lafayette,Detr
By: Scot Bear
To: Jim Staal
Re: Letters re: Teacher
THE DETROIT NEWS
615 W. Lafayette,Detroit,MI,48226
-(Fax 313-222-6417, print run 481,766)
Wednesday, January 10, 1996
LETTERS TO THE EDITOR
GAY TEACHERS DESERVES BETTER TREATMENT
It must be tough being a school board member these days.
Serious problems abound. Perhaps we are burning out those
who volunteer to oversee our public schools.
How else can the actions of the Byron Center school board
be explained? Was it to deflect attention from real problems
that it put high school music teacher Gerry Crane on "watch"
because he "married" his male companion ("School board lets
gay teacher keep his job," Dec. 19)? Or was it ignorance?
We baby boomers were never taught that homosexuals exist.
We never considered that our music teacher or football coach
might be gay. We never heard how gay people have contributed
to our culture and society. It's only with hindsight that
I appreciate how much of my education I owe to teachers
and coaches who went home invisibly each night to their
We got shortchanged. Let's not allow that to happen to
another generation. Thank goodness for all the Byron Center
people who turned out to support teacher Crane when their
school board conducted its ridiculous inquiry.
--Todd K. Jennings, Greenwich, Conn. [Crazy4Ewe@AOL.COM]
The school board firmly believes that homosexuality violates
the dominant moral standard of the district's community,"
the Byron Center school board said. "Individuals who espouse
homosexuality do not constitute proper role models as teachers
for students in this district."
If I hadn't been told otherwise, I could have sworn this
statement came from some KKK literature cranked out by some
yokel on his hand-me-down mimeograph, thrown onto lawns
to terrorize "them people what don't belong here."
I don't think that the bigotry demonstrated by the school
board is proper for role models. Somehow it would seem that
anyone in a committed, loving relationship would be a better
role model than many elected officials.
My experience has been that those quickest to judge the
"morality" of others are those who would fail such judgment
--Brent Yaciw, Seminole, Fla.
I must take issue with a statement made by the Byron
Center school board that "individuals who espouse homosexuality
do not constitute proper role models as teachers for students
in this district." What homophobic nonsense!
The teacher is an upstanding example of decency and honesty.
It is the school board, reacting to homophobic parents,
that prefers dishonesty about sexual orientation.
Many heterosexuals wrongly believe honest discussion
of sexuality will "convert" their children into homosexuals.
It is precisely because the schools will not allow truthful
teaching on sexuality issues that this ignorance is so abundant.
The fact is that gay and lesbian youth do exist. By denying
them role models such as Mr. Crane, the school board is
doing a disservice to its gay and lesbian students. I thank
God for people like Mr. Crane who believe that honesty is
the best policy.
--Daniel Jenkins, Boston, Mass.
I would like to respond, as an educator, parent of a
lesbian daughter and member of PFLAG (Parents, Families,
and Friends of Lesbians and Gays) to the controversy surrounding
the "coming out" of a gay teacher in Byron Center. I applaud
Crane's courage and honesty in making public his commitment
to the person he loves; it could not have been easy.
The larger question remains whether Crane's personal
life should be subject to the "investigation" the Byron
Center school board says it will continue to impose on him.
As Americans, we traditionally respect achievement, protect
the privacy of our citizens and honor diversity. None of
these values is served by the kind of scrutiny the board
is calling for.
I would urge the Byron Center school board and the citizens
of the town to recognize and treasure Crane's presence in
their children's lives.
--Judith A. Nardacci, Lee, Mass.
E-Mail Fredric L. Rice / The Skeptic Tank