BOSTON, May 18 -- Parents rally at the Statehouse in Boston Thursday to demand the state stop funding homosexual student organizations in schools.
The Parents Rights Coalition says it wants the "homosexual agenda" removed from public schools in Massachusetts, the Boston Globe reported Thursday.
Spokesman Brian Camenker said the coalition is demanding that $1.5 million for homosexual programs be removed from the budget for 2001, and that the Governor's Commission on Gay and Lesbian Youth be disbanded.
"Children are being victimized by these groups and their parents don't even know it," Camenker said.
He said the group also wants state Education Commissioner David P. Driscoll removed from office for failing to fire two employees who "crossed the line" with sexually explicit language during a March forum at Tufts University run by the Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education Network. Some 30 students as young as 14 attended the "Teach Out" seminar, titled: "What They Didn't Tell You About Queer Sex and Sexuality in Health Class."
GLSEN is contracted by the state to run educator-training sessions to promote tolerance in public schools for gay and lesbian students.
GLSEN national executive director Kevin Jennings said in Thursday's Boston Herald that his organization is as "troubled by some of the content that came up during" the workshop as are the Parents Rights Coalition and the state Department of Education.
The parents' group had planned to sell copies of a tape-recording of the session that included graphic descriptions of sex acts, but attorneys for a student and one of the Education Department staffers won a temporary restraining order barring release of the tape or transcript.
The session was "illegally taped" by a member of the coalition, said Mary Bonauto, an attorney with Gay and Lesbian Advocates and Defenders.
"There were 30 students present who were relying on the assurance of confidentiality of the workshop proceedings to ask the questions they needed to ask," she told the Herald.
It is against state law to record someone without consent.
Even so, excerpts from the tape have already been aired over local talk radio shows and has been posted on the Internet.
Camenker told the Globe that the rally and sale of the tape were to make public what he said are the "evil" outcomes of the state-sponsored Safe Schools and Gay, Straight Alliance in-school programs.
Driscoll defended those programs as necessary to teach tolerance and prevent anti-gay violence, but he emphasized that graphic sex talk will not be tolerated in schools.
"Our role should be training students to be safe against AIDS and HIV, and we do that well," Driscoll said, "but we cannot have our staff involved in prurient conversations."