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A blog that takes a look at West Chester area government, politics, and community events.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

A protest that never happened

The American Sheepdogs, a local right-wing group, issued a call last week for people to come to the Feb. 23 West Chester School Board meeting to speak out against the "Day of Silence" the West Chester East Gay-Straight Alliance plans to observe on April 17.

While the school board meeting attracted a larger than usual audience, no one spoke about the Day of Silence.

A number of audience members did applaud after a woman from West Chester requested that her home-schooled son be allowed to participate in the Henderson High School band. I'm not sure that there's a connection. Some local Republicans and Democrats, however, believe that conservative activists from the school district are beginning a push to promote home schooling and charter schools, the eventual goal being to greatly shrink the role of traditional public education.

In any case, the American Sheepdogs' call to protest contained some rather strong wording. Before I take a look at it, I should explain what the "Day of Silence" is.

It's a day, observed nationally, during which participants keep silent in order to protest discrimination and violence against gays, lesbians, and the transgendered. The West Chester East Gay-Straight Alliance plans to end its observation of the day with a coffeehouse-style open-mic event. This event will symbolically "break the silence," according to a press release the from Alliance.

The Sheepdogs argued that while bullying is bad, the it's also bad for students to take day-long vows of silence. This seems reasonable. If I were a teacher (and I have taught in the past) I would be irritated if several of my students refused to answer questions or verbally participate in class. But the Sheepdogs' criticism was rooted in something other than a desire for effective teaching.

According to the call to protest, which first appeared at,

"[T]he real mission of this movement [the Day of Silence] is to indoctrinate public school students with the radical agenda of the left by teaching that being gay is an acceptable behavior. What’s worse is that all of this is done on school time in taxpayer funded school buildings. Make no mistake that bullying is wrong and kids who bully other kids should be punished accordingly, but clearly the leftists are hiding behind the bullying idea to push their radical agenda through the public schools across America. It’s time to take a stand for core conservative Christian values by demanding that schools teach our children, not indoctrinate them."

Other criticisms aside, I don't think it's only the radical left that believes "being gay is acceptable behavior."

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