By: Scot Bear To: Jim Staal Re: Letters re: Teacher THE DETROIT NEWS 615 W. Lafayette,Detr

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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) (E-MAIL: Letters@detnews.com) 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 same-sex companions. 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 themselves. --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. [From GayNews...]

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