Barack Obama - Safe School Czar-Kevin Jennings

Last Updated : Sep 23, 2010

Summary

On May 19, 2009, Obama administration Secretary of Education Arne Duncan announced the appointment of Kevin Jennings as Assistant Deputy Secretary for the Office of Safe and Drug-Free Schools.  Jennings is the third director of the office, which was established in 2002 during the George W. Bush administration pursuant to the Safe and Drug-Free Schools and Communities Act part of the No Child Left Behind Act of 2001.

Jennings started in that position on July 6, 2009, but even before he did that he came under fire for his involvement with a group which he helped to form called the Gay, Lesbian, and Straight Education Network or GLSEN pronounced GLiStEN.  He has also been criticized for actions he failed to take when  homosexual student reported questionable activity.

 

Background - Kevin Jennings

Kevin Jennings is the son of a Baptist Preacher who passed away when Kevin was 8 years old.  Jennings then grew up in a trailer park in North Carolina in an atmosphere described as intolerant of African Americans and Gays with several uncles and cousins belonging to the Ku Klux Klan.  Despite bullying at the hands of classmates, Jennings did well in school.  He attempted suicide in high school after his first sexual encounter with another male convinced him he was gay.  Despite this, Jennings went on to earn a Bachelor's Degree from Harvard (History, magna cum laude), a Master's degree from Columbia in education, and an MBA from New York University.  Jennings taught high school history from 1985 to 1995 and was the chair of the history department.  Jennings has authored six books on gay rights and education

 

Failure to report possible statutory rape

In his first year teaching at Concord Academy in Concord, Massachusetts, a sophomore student confided in Mr. Jennings that he had engaged in a relationship with an older man.  Mr. Jennings advised the student to use a condom. Supporters of Mr. Jennings claim that he was not aware of any sexual contact between the student and older man, and that the student was 16 at the time of encounter and thus of the legal age of consent in Massachusetts.  Detractors claim that the student was 15 and that Mr. Jennings failed to comply with the law in failing to report a statutory rape. 

Accusatory evidence

In Mr. Jennings' 1994 book, "One Teacher in 10," the teacher boasts how he allayed the student's concerns about the relationship to such a degree that the 15-year-old "left my office with a smile on his face that I would see every time I saw him on the campus for the next two years, until he graduated."

In Mr. Jennings' 1994 book, One Teacher in Ten: Gay and Lesbian Educators Tell Their Stories, Jennings described the student and the result of their conversation as follows:

 

In an undated audio, Mr. Jennings discusses the same interaction with the same student and notes that it was in his first year of teaching at Concord.  The audio is below the transcription and is difficult to discern at times.

 

 

 

Supporter's evidence

 The left-wing website Media Matters.org has posted a statement from the student identified as "Brewser" and a drivers license from what it claims is the same student. The statement is reprinted (in part) here:

The drivers license shows a birthdate of July 31, 1971.  There is obviously no way to prove that this is indeed the license of the student in question, nor that the statement itself came from the student - without compromising that person's identity.  However, no claim has been made by outside sources that this is not a legitimate license and statement.

 

Conflicting Items

 The date of birth on the license and the statements from Mr. Jennings himself indicate that the student in question would be 16 when entering his sophomore year in school.  This would not have happened unless the student had been held back at least one year.  Given that the student was a ward of the school with previous problems, this is not unlikely.

The student recalled the date as 1988.  This conflicts with Mr. Jennings' statements that he started work in 1987 and that he had a conversation with the student shortly after being hired.

Mr. Jennings himself stated that he at least believed the student was 15 at the time, and the suggestion to use a condom is evidence that Mr. Jennings believed that they student and the older man were in a sexual relationship.  Mr. Jennings' own telling of the event states that the two met in a bathroom and that the student went back to the man's house.

 

GLSEN

While teaching high school, Jennings "came out" to the faculty and student body regarding his sexual orientation.  Later that year, he was approached by a student whose mother was a lesbian and in 1988 Jennings started the nations' first gay-straight alliance.  Jennings then co-founded the Gay and Lesbian Independent School Teacher Network (GLISTeN) in Boston in 1990.  The organization was very successful and held conferences and published reports.  Eventually, teh name was changed to the Gay and Lesbian School Teachers Network (GLSTN), and then when Jennings decided to go national with the organization in 1994, he changed the name again to its current form.

The controversy surrounding Jennings' involvement with GLSEN revolves around both the books and publications that the organization recommended to children and several conferences where children were taught sexual acts.

 

GLSEN Recommended Reading List

After the announcement of his appointment to the "Safe Schools Czar" position, a group of independent researchers decided to read some of the books that his group GLSEN had listed on their website.  The books were divided up into three age groups, K-6, 7-12, and books for teachers.  The group read 11 books in the 7-12 category which are listed here:

  • Queer 13
  • Being Different
  • The Full Spectrum
  • Revolutionary Voices
  • Reflections of a Rock Lobster
  • Passages of Pride
  • Growing Up Gay/Growing Up Lesbian
  • The Order of the Poison Oak
  • In Your Face
  • Mama’s Boy, Preacher’s Son
  • Love & Sex: Ten Stories of Truth

In December of 2009, the group went public with what they found in the books on the website Gateway Pundit.  Excerpts from the books were shown to promote sex between children, pedophilia, incest, casual sex in public restrooms, and a wide array of other topics.  Some of these excerpts are shown below.  These books are listed as for kids in grades 7-12, but be aware that the language is very graphic.

"Reflections of a Rock Lobster" page 13 describes the homosexual exploits of a first grader with his fellow classmates.

 

"Queer 13" – Pages 43, 44 + 45 describes (in foul language) a violent random homosexual encounter with a adolescent boy and a random man on a bus.  The pages then describe how this led to a life of random encounters in public restrooms.

 

"In Your Face" page 150 describes a random sexual relationship as stable and denotes an incestuous relationship between a man and his cousin.

 

"Revolutionary Voices" Page 7 describes a young boy fantasizing about castrating himself to become a woman.

 

"Reflections of a Rock Lobster" Pages 25 and 26 describes two 12 year old boys having sex to Christian music.

 

In "Passages of Pride" page 92, a woman describes how a sexual relationship she had with a female teacher boosted her confidence.

 

In "Queer 13" pages 86 and 87, the author recounts a sexual relationship with his cousin at the age of 12.

 

In "Reflections of a Rock Lobster" pages 13-15, the author describes sexual encounters at the age of 6.

 

In "Growing up Gay / Growing Up Lesbian on pages 110 and 111, a man recounts his first sexual experience at the age of 12 and a relationship with a much older man at 15.

 

In "The Full Spectrum" pages 227 and 228, five and six year old girls engage in sexual games:

 

In "Passages of Pride", page 49, two second grade boys have sexual encounters:

 

In "Love and Sex: Ten Stories of Truth" pages 146 - 149, the author recounts an encounter he and another young boy have.

 

Fistgate

On March 25, 2000, GLSEN presented a "Teach-Out" conference at Tufts University to high-school and pre-high-school students as young as 12.  Kevin Jennings was the keynote speaker at the conference.  A parent of a student recorded the conference and brought the recordings local talk radio personalities, and discussed the conference at-length on a website titled MassResistance (The Mass stands for Massachusetts).

The recordings of the conference led to the dismissal of three education department officials were fired.  One employee was eventually rehired after an arbitrator ruled that the department of education was aware of the discussions to be held at the conference prior to the event.  The employee did not take the job back, but sued.  GLSEN sued the parent that taped the conference under a wire-taping provision and he was prohibited from playing the tapes for several years.  Eventually, the suit was settled and the tapes and transcripts are now available.

Workshops

The MassResistance Website describes the workshops and handouts which comprised the conference.  The workshops are listed as follows:

  • Ask the Transsexuals
  • Early Childhood Educators: How to Decide Whether to Come Out at Work or Not
  • Lesbian Avengers: How to Promote Queer Friendly Activism in Your Schools and in Your Lives
  • Strategies and Curriculum Ideas for Addressing GLBT Issues in a High School English Curriculum
  • The Struggles and Triumphs of Including Homosexuality in a Middle School Curriculum
  • Why Gay People Need To Fight Racism: Making The Link Between Homophobia and Racism
  • Youth Coming Out in High School
  • Diesel Dykes and Lipstick Lesbians: Defining & Exploring Butch/Femme Identity
  • It's Elementary in Our Town: Getting Gay & Lesbian Issues Included in Elementary School Staff Development, Curriculum Development, and the PTA
  • The Religious Wrong: Dealing Effectively with Opposition in Your Community
  • Putting the "Sex" Back Into Sexual Orientation: Classroom Strategies for Health Ed Sexuality Educators
  • School's Out: Finding Support After School
  • A Strategy to Educate Faculty: Lexington HS's GSA Presentation to Faculty
  • Creating a Safe and Inclusive Community in Elementary Schools: Supporting Gay and Lesbian Students, Families and Staff
  • From Lesbos to Stonewall: Incorporating Sexuality into a World History Curriculum
  • Starting a Gay/Straight Alliance (GSA) in Your School
  • What They Didn't Tell You About Queer Sex Ed Sexuality in Health Class (A workshop for youth only, ages 14-21)
  • Tired of Knocking on the Administration's Door?
  • The Religious Wrong - In this particular conference, there was a discussion that all religious people are in fact wrong and that there should be no discussion allowed on the topic 

The website describes the purposes of those workshops.

Topics

The topics covered included describing to student (as young as 12) the acts of fisting, the use of hormones, how females have sex with each other, and whether or not it is proper for one male to spit another males semen after oral sex.  The following is a transcript covering a conversation between a student and one of the public employees concerning fisting:

The figure below shows a package that was handed out to students which provides with with a glove and gives them directions on how to use it for the act of fisting.

The following is a discussion concerning how two women have sex with each other:

 

The discussion involving spitting or swallowing is transcribed below along with the audio:

 

 

References

[1] Website: The New York Times Article: PUBLIC LIVES; A Gay Crusader Sees History on His Side Author: RANDAL C. ARCHIBOLD Accessed on: 04/08/2010

[2] Website: GLBTQ.com Article: Kevin Jennings (bio) Author: NA Accessed on: 04/08/2010

[3] Website: Gateway Pundit - First Things Article: Breaking: Obama’s “Safe Schools Czar” Is Promoting Child Porn in the Classroom– Kevin Jennings and t Author: Jim Hoft Accessed on: 04/08/2010

[4] Website: MassResistance Article: The "Fistgate" conference: HERE'S what homosexual activists in schools do with children . . . Author: NA Accessed on: 04/08/2010

[5] Website: Media Matters Article: Smear: Kevin Jennings (And The Obama Administration) Support Statutory Rape Author: NA Accessed on: 04/12/2010

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