Inappropriate Fliers Upset Students’ Parents

Inappropriate+Fliers+Upset+Students%27+Parents

--Graphic by Chelsea Martin

A couple weeks ago, a controversial group called Parents and Friends of Ex-Gays and Gays (PFOX) circulated filers to Albert Einstein High School and other MCPS schools stating that homosexuality can be cured by therapy or self-determination.

Although the fliers were not sponsored by the Board of Education, the superintendent or the schools, many parents and students began to question the regulation which states that non-profit organizations can distribute information that is not “hate speech.”

Not only did the fliers present information that caused outrage to parents and students, the information being presented challenged the MCPS sex education curriculum. The sex education curriculum for MCPS, which went into effect in 2007, describes homosexuality as innate. PFOX, however, claims that homosexuality is not innate and that no person can be born gay.

Groups like PFOX, which have a legal right to circulate fliers and other sources of information, should not be allowed to distribute controversial information to high school students and their parents if it is potentially malicious.

Especially with the rise in bullying against homosexuals, it is imperative that the fliers approved for distribution should not have the potential to cause harm to any students. While these groups have the legal right to distribute, the schools should draw the line as to what can and cannot be distributed and what is appropriate for the school environment.

Fortunately, school principals can send materials to the Office of School Performance if there is reason to believe that the material being circulated is inappropriate for distribution. The material is then sent for legal counsel and review and the executive staff makes a decision. Giving the schools the decision to circulate controversial information is a proper course of action in order to prohibit hurtful information from being distributed. We can only hope more principals take this step in the future.

There are a growing number of bullying prevention programs, such as RHSa�� Gay-Straight Alliance (GSA) which emphasize the importance of acceptance. Groups like the GSA play an important role in helping homosexuals and heterosexuals support each other and provide a safe place to socialize. After all, school is supposed to be a safe place where students do not feel persecuted for their beliefs, values, or sexual orientation. A flier should not jeopardize a student’s safety and security.