Tag Archives: bullying

A Step Forward to End LGBTQ Discrimination

Ayala Sherbow

Ayala Sherbow

Several years ago, Lovettsville’s Ayala Sherbow said she “made a commitment to [herself] and to [her] children (one of whom is gay and one of whom is transgender) to work toward tolerance and understanding.”

Ayala has been part of a coalition of parents and teachers and community leaders to make that difference in our school system where teachers must conceal who they are if LGBTQ persons and students who may be bullied for the same reason.

Ayala is the first to say that many people from Lovettsville and across the County have been pulling and pushing to favor tolerance and understanding.

At the outset of this push to recognize and protect LGBTQ teachers and students, Holly Patterson came before the School Board, waved her iPad, and said her 16-year-old transgender student tried to commit suicide, because the School Board did nothing to protect him from bullying.

The highly regarded “Journal of Adolescent Health,” after a survey of almost 32,000 students, concluded the failure to include LGBTQ persons in an anti-bullying school policy meant a 225% increase in the likelihood that they would attempt suicide.

Another study found that LGBTQ students hear derogatory slurs, on the average, 26 times a day.  Some of this happens in front of school staff who stand by doing nothing. These children therefore can’t trust the staff to protect them.

Finally, last week the Loudoun County School Board approved a new policy – in a 5 to 4 vote – to protect LGBTQ persons as follows:

“The Loudoun County School Board is committed to providing for an equitable, safe and inclusive learning and working environment.

“The Loudoun County School Board affirms a commitment to this principle for all persons regardless of race, color, national origin, religion, sex, pregnancy, childbirth or related medical conditions, sexual orientation, gender identity, marital status, disability, age, or genetic information.

“It is the intent of the School Board of Loudoun County that every policy, practice, and procedure shall reflect this commitment. Behavior that is not unlawful may nevertheless be unacceptable for the educational environment or the workplace. Demeaning or otherwise harmful actions are prohibited, particularly if directed at personal characteristics, including, but not limited to socioeconomic level, sexual orientation, perceived sexual orientation or gender identity.”

Ayala said, “It’s a pretty complete victory, hard fought, and will have to be played out in policy.  But it’s a big step.”

Ayala said, “When I started to work toward this outcome, I had a transgender daughter who was in school system.  The principle that concerned us, however, remains.  What this policy does is affirm the dignity and humanity of LGBTQ persons and guarantee to them the same rights and protections as everyone else.  Without this policy, you could have been fired as a gay teacher.  There have been plenty of Loudoun students who have testified over the years who had heard homophobic statements from faculty as well as students.  Now, with this policy, you can hold people responsible and accountable for any inappropriate remarks.”

As for the objection to such a policy, Ayala said, “It’s mostly fear and misinformation.”

Dave LaRock spreads fear, misinformation

Dave LaRock spreads fear, misinformation

Among the most prominent elected official to object to this policy reform was the Delegate from the 33rd Delegate District, David LaRock.

In 2016, Mr. LaRock introduced legislation against the designation, transgender, in HB 431 and HB 397, insisting a person’s sexual designation was restricted to what a birth certificate said, and the only discrimination, including what a transgender person might suffer, could only be based on that same certificate.

Last year, Mr. LaRock said, “If you create a right for people on the basis of their sexual behaviors, then you are taking away the right of someone like me  … to say, ‘I choose not to rent the place that I have to homosexuals…”  Mr. LaRock added that he thought transgender people have a mental disorder and should not hold “role-model positions” in schools.  Mr. LaRock fears “social contagion.”

This year, anticipating the School Board’s new policy, Mr. LaRock circulated a petition against any change to what was the current policy.

Dave LaRock's petition

Dave LaRock’s petition

Ayala said, “Mr. LaRock has made no effort to hide the disdain he has for LGBTQ persons.”

Dave LaRock at the School Board meeting

Dave LaRock at the School Board meeting

On his FB page, Mr. LaRock objected that the new school policy recognizes “homosexual and transgender behavior as normal and healthy.”

Ayala said, “But it is normal and healthy for LGBTQ persons.”

Candidate Mavis Taintor, hoping to challenge Mr. LaRock in the General Election, has objected that he has “spoke[n] … gainst equity, dignity, and inclusion for all in Loudoun schools.”

We the people

Protest in Richmond (photo by John P. Flannery)

Protest in Richmond (photo by John P. Flannery)

There’s a Chinese curse – “may you live in interesting times.”

We are living in “interesting times,” in fact, in quite challenging times.

We worked our heart and soul to elect the first woman president of the United States.

That’s both interesting and “historic.”

Virginia wanted Hillary.

The nation needed her.

According to the popular vote, the nation preferred that Hillary Clinton be our next president.

But the electoral college is the constitutional measure of such things, and thus we shall have a failed casino operator, Donald Trump, as our President – a crass, disrespectful, cursing, hate-filled, lying, intolerant bully, who pretends to know much about everything, while having little experience at much of anything having to do with public policy and governance.

This man ran down our nation for the last year, picking fights, pushing people around, promising somehow, by these tactics, that he’d make America great again.

Trump doesn’t know what makes this nation great.

It is that we conceived of ourselves as a nation as one united – one from many.

This “got-your-back” promise of unity has been our nation’s North Star, what we have fought to perfect from the very beginning.

We have struggled in fits and starts, not without pain, not without blood and suffering, indeed, not without a civil war, not without women being jailed and tortured for demanding the right to vote.

The French made a gift to this still young nation of a tall statue, a maiden who stands with a flaming torch of liberty uplifted high for the whole world to see, beckoning the suffering masses to our shores to find freedom.  We’re not going to go back on that promise, are we?

What could be a more grievous violation of what makes us great, than to divide our nation.

President Lincoln said – “a House divided cannot stand.”

More than any time in my life since the 60s, have we seen such intolerance by a presidential candidate based on a person’s skin color, gender, religion, nation of origin, and sexual orientation.

Mature citizens who are hardly politically obsessive, who are just plain folk, cannot sleep.  Perhaps you couldn’t either.

Children cry at home and in class because they know and they fear we are re-defining our nation’s social contract; they are being counseled.

Protesters take to the streets, the vice-president elect is booed at a theater in New York, and the President rebuffs an actor’s plea for reassurance, signaling the President elect’s low threshold to strike out at others.

We are also hard-pressed in the history of American politics to find anything like Russia’s intrusion into our presidential election.

FBI Director Comey irreparably intruded into this election in the final days of the campaign.

These compromises of our electoral process eclipses Nixon’s dirty tricks in 1972. Continue reading

Packing a hand gun at Starbucks

gwg01No one likes to caffeinate when somebody is “packing” at Starbucks.

Well, almost no one.

Last Thursday morning, the Purcellville Starbucks had its usual ration of Moms with a well behaved child or two, lines of folk waiting for their small or grande caffeinated drinks, a latte or cappuccino, at least one sweet tasting java chip, some patrons sipping their drinks as they headed out quick step for their daily commute, and an array of others, not so rushed, sitting at various counters and tables pecking away at keyboards, telecommuting or indulging a round of social media, others turning the pages of the Washington Post, a few working their cell phones, and chatting up the latest gossip and personal news.

I was sitting at a table revising a memo for court when a broad-hipped large-bellied man in baggy Cami-shorts with a holstered firearm came by, wearing a loose light-green t- shirt with a full size skull on the back, a backwards flag all in red on his shirt’s short cuff, and the word, “Infidel,” in large red letters on his chest.

Eyes noted and averted.  Continue reading

“God” is alive! His office is in the NVTA

[Update 2013-09-14 - Edited for spelling, grammar and clarity]

The Leesburg Town Council apparently stepped out of line by considering opposition to the Tri-County Parkway, a North-South corridor connecting I-95, Manassas, and Route 7 via Route 659.

Loudoun BoS Chairman, Scott York asked his aide, Robin Bartok to read a letter to the Town council at their June 25 meeting. The Washington post reports that Bartok read:

“The chairman asked me to ask you: Do you support roads? And that’s a really important question,” she said to the council members. “Because if you oppose this road, it appears that you don’t support roads.”

And if the council opposed the road, she warned, the Northern Virginia Transportation Authority would “keep that in mind” when determining how to allocate funds from the landmark transportation funding bill passed by the General Assembly this year.

York is on the board of the NVTA. Continue reading

THE VULGARITY OF OUR PUBLIC DIALOGUE

A stoic Roman Senator once said, “It is the easiest thing in the world to slide imperceptibly into vulgarity.”

I don’t know that our national dialogue has “slipped” into vulgarity.  It has felt to me more like a down-hill flat out run into vulgarity.

Let’s consider one example that covers the waterfront.

Back in March 2012, the Georgetown University President, John J. DeGioia, said that the foul language used to characterize student Sandra Fluke’s sincere objections to HHS regulations affecting contraceptives, especially what Rush Limbaugh had to say, was “misogynistic, vitriolic and a misrepresentation of [her] position.”
Continue reading

How to bully a girl into having an abortion, by Keith Deltano

Keith Deltano, a self described “Christian comedian“ is back.  On October 3, 2011, he’ll appear at Smarts Mill Middle School in Leesburg for anti-bullying assemblies and a parent meeting.  According to his secular anti-bullying web site,  “no workshop is complete without teaching parents how to protect their children form online porn and gambling as well as bullying.”  Why he discusses porn and gambling in an anti-bullying program is a puzzle.  He may not have any real bullying expertise, like this, or he may believe that these things;  bullying, gambling and porn are somehow related.  I hope somebody asks.

Deltano first visited in 2007 and caused a controversy when he humiliated students and provided inaccurate information and horrible parenting advice.  He told parents not to trust their kids.  He said that kids will lie to parents, so parents have to spy on them.  If I recall, he said “you know that cute Nemo toy?  Your kid will hide an SDRAM full of porn in there“.  He also instructed parents to humiliate their kids.  “If your daughter is listening to raunchy music, make her repeat all the words back to you.” Authoritarian instruction is a Deltano theme.  His methods don’t help parents open communication channels.  They close them down.

On his Christian Comedian web site, Deltano explains a bit more about himself (emphasis mine).

“Christian comedy is rarely used for its entertainment value alone. Event organizers have used Christian comedy as a tool for outreach, fundraisers, gospel presentations, youth events and to deal with specific issues that are important to the body of Christ. A short list of these issues would include sexual abstinence, overcoming drug and alcohol abuse, strengthening marriage, singles issues, and scriptural inerrancy and apologetics. The list is as long as the topics that challenge us all….

Or, one could look at the fruit of Christian Comedy to determine if it is a valid and God honoring evangelistic tool. I have witnessed, as have many others, thousands come forward at the end of a comedic presentation. (The presenting comedian is more serious during the conclusion of a gospel presentation.)  Am I a comedian or a funny Christian youth speaker?  Can I be both? Many Christian comedians have used their abilities to raise funds for Crises Pregnancy Centers throughout the country.”

This time around, Deltano will address bullying.  He’s well aquainted with the topic.  In his abstinence gig, he shames and humiliates students.  At one point he holds a cinder block over a prone male student’s crotch.  The Smarts Mill PTA and administration seem to think he’s a good investment.  Maybe we should trust them give him a second chance.  His bullying routine has some good content.  In Mean Girls, he describes bullying by exclusion.

“how do you decide who’s in and who’s out…that’s bullying…my value comes from who I am…I’m a Wal-Mart shopper and i’m proud…You cannot judge people by clothing and appearance you should never pick on people for their clothing and appearance”

He’s on to something.  Exclusion – making a person an outcast – is a form of bullying.  If I had one question for Keith Deltano, it would be:

If a student is told that she doesn’t or shouldn’t exists, is that bullying?”

Ask yourself that question as you watch Deltano’s Pregnant In The USA: Sex Sells video.  The featured photo shows Deltano imitating a girl’s unintended pregnancy.  “Sex sells” he says but the “result of sex“; pregnancy and disease, doesn’t.  His message is that a pregnant girl isn’t sexy.  She’s rather ugly.  Nobody wants her.  She has nothing to be proud of.  She’s not like a ”Wal-Mart shopper”.  She’s an outcast.  She’s in a shameful state.  She shouldn’t exist, at least not in his secular context.

If he switched to his ”Christian” context, she would no longer exist as an independent person.  She’d be a ward of the state, a vessel for the “most vulnerable member of society“.  But this is his secular show, so she’s just fat, ugly and shameful.

What message is Deltano sending to a real-world pregnant girl?  She’s a person who shouldn’t exist.  She’s going to get fat and ugly.

What option does she have to avoid the shame?  What’s the path of least resistance?

Abortion?

Thanks Keith!