Understanding The Banning Of Depraved(!) Todd Parr Children’s Books About Families

by Angie [A Whole Lot of Nothing] on June 8, 2012

in Book Recommendations,Farts and Other Stuff,Observations,Pictures

Families are weird, yo.

In my family, my girls and I are unabashedly focused on our “different” hair. Anna (right) was born with a stray curl that didn’t go away until her hair turned into un-baby hair, and Claire (left) was born with a full mop on her head.

And my hair is pretty much just plain Awesome. Sorry, it is.

In our weird 1 dad, 1 mom, 2 kids family, we are all kinds of weirdness, hair included.

Even my niece and nephew have weird hair, or no hair.

One of the first books I bought for Anna when she was a baby was This Is My Hair by Todd Parr. Because, obviously.

This Is My HairThe day I bought the book is the day I fell in love with Todd Parr. It was a natural progression, really. It’s un-possible for me not to love the author of a book about hair that is written with intelligence and funnies, illustrated with bold colors that nearly blinded my eyes. I’ve bought several more Todd Parr books since then for my kids and as gifts for other people’s kids. One of my favorite mom moments is sitting on the germ-ridden public library floor, reading Todd Parr book after Todd Parr book. The Mommy Book is one of my very favorites, durr.

Cut to March 27, 2012, and Todd Parr and I became BFFs when he tweeted to me:

All of this is really to tell you that my love for All Things Todd Parr is exponential. 

So when I heard that some jackwagon Superintendent in Illinois was banning one of Todd Parr’s great works of fiction from public schools in his district because “those are issues that shouldn’t be taught at the elementary school level,” my protective Mama Bear side roared to attention.

The Family BookIssues in one of Todd Parr’s books shouldn’t be taught in elementary school? The only “issues” I know of in his books are issues of “Awesomeness,” and to me, that doesn’t seem like it would be a problem to teach to kids.

But then I saw exactly what book was being pulled from elementary school library shelves in the Erie School District in Illinois: The Family Book.

What, pray tell, could be SO controversial in this seemingly family-friendly book as to cause its removal from schools so that the minds of the young children could not be molded ever further into depravity?

[WARNING: Hide yo kids! Hide yo wife! The following image (credit) could be dangerous to your children. Proceed with caution.]

This page in The Family Book by Todd Parr is an illustration of two pretty lady heads next to one another, and below, two fine gentlemen  heads next to one another. The caption reads:

Some families have two moms or two dads.





Because some families have two moms? Or two dads? WHAT WILL OUR CHILDREN THINK OF THIS BLASPHEMY?

Is it unnatural to have two moms or two dads?

Clearly, the confusion in children’s minds is incalculable when they see families such as these:

The Federlines: 1 Dad, 3 Moms, 5 Kids

The Duggars: 1 Mom, 1 Dad, 19 Kids

This 33-Year-Old Dude With 24 Kids

The Browns: 1 Dad/Step-Dad, 4 Moms, 14 Birth Children, 3 Step Children

The Cromarties: 1 27-Year-Old NFL Dad, 8 Moms, 10 Kids, 6 Different States

The Jolie-Pitts: 1 Dad, 1 Mom, 2 Adopted Boys, 1 Adopted Girl, 1 Birth Child, 2 Birth Twins

So NOW we can see how having just 2 moms or just 2 dads can be SUPER confusing for young children.

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{ 32 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Allison Zapata June 8, 2012 at 12:27 pm

I love you.


2 Angie [A Whole Lot of Nothing] June 8, 2012 at 3:31 pm

I love you more.
An Awesome post on Angie [A Whole Lot of Nothing]´s blog … “Magic Mike” Leaves Open A HUGE, MASSIVE, THROBBING Hole


3 Jenni Chiu June 8, 2012 at 12:53 pm

I am appalled. You know what other book by him should be pulled – The Feelings Book. You know that page that says “Sometimes I feel like celebrating my birthday, even though it’s not today”? That’s just sketchy.


4 Angie [A Whole Lot of Nothing] June 8, 2012 at 3:32 pm

Let’s look at how he draws Christmas ornaments in kid’s hair. DESECRATING JESUS, I TELL YOU.
An Awesome post on Angie [A Whole Lot of Nothing]´s blog … “Magic Mike” Leaves Open A HUGE, MASSIVE, THROBBING Hole


5 Rachel June 8, 2012 at 1:42 pm

I heart you


6 Angie [A Whole Lot of Nothing] June 8, 2012 at 3:32 pm

I heart you back.
An Awesome post on Angie [A Whole Lot of Nothing]´s blog … “Magic Mike” Leaves Open A HUGE, MASSIVE, THROBBING Hole


7 The Sweetest June 8, 2012 at 1:44 pm

Did he write Yummy Yuckie Illustrations look similar. Why can’t schools/libraries/institutions-of-the-like just make everything available and let parents and ids decide for themselves? if they don’t like it, they don’t have to read it. So annoying.


8 Angie [A Whole Lot of Nothing] June 8, 2012 at 3:33 pm

Not the same author, but similar.
An Awesome post on Angie [A Whole Lot of Nothing]´s blog … “Magic Mike” Leaves Open A HUGE, MASSIVE, THROBBING Hole


9 JustinRHoffman June 8, 2012 at 1:52 pm

Would totally have a threesome with the two dads in that book. But I’ve always had a thing for dudes with blue skin and seven strands of hair.

An Awesome post on JustinRHoffman´s blog … (Almost) Wordless… Smashed on Stage


10 Angie [A Whole Lot of Nothing] June 8, 2012 at 3:34 pm

Trolling in the kiddie books. Awwwwyeahhhh…
An Awesome post on Angie [A Whole Lot of Nothing]´s blog … “Magic Mike” Leaves Open A HUGE, MASSIVE, THROBBING Hole


11 chrisinphx June 8, 2012 at 2:11 pm

oh noes! Its the weird and scary gay family…run, their parents actually want them and dont abuse them OH THE HORROR OF IT ALL!!!!
This whole gay parenting thing is stupid. I don’t mean to offend any of the straight parents out there, but they make all the hubbub and noise over gay parent not being fit or unhealthy for kids to be raised by. When was the last time you read anything about gay parents abusing or killing or abandoning their kids somewhere? I can’t find anything like that, it’s always the “Normal” families you read about where mommys new boyfriend is beating or raping the kids while shes working or mom and dad are locking them into a closet for acting up. And the gay parents are the monsters? Really?


12 Angie [A Whole Lot of Nothing] June 8, 2012 at 3:35 pm

You’re exactly right.
An Awesome post on Angie [A Whole Lot of Nothing]´s blog … “Magic Mike” Leaves Open A HUGE, MASSIVE, THROBBING Hole


13 Yo Mama June 8, 2012 at 2:21 pm

Amen! Great post!


14 Angie [A Whole Lot of Nothing] June 8, 2012 at 3:35 pm

An Awesome post on Angie [A Whole Lot of Nothing]´s blog … “Magic Mike” Leaves Open A HUGE, MASSIVE, THROBBING Hole


15 Val Payne June 8, 2012 at 4:39 pm

I am hopping all over the “I LOVE ANGIE” bandwagon today!

I just bought “The Family Book” and “…And Tango Makes Three” yesterday because Lily (while watching inappropriate episodes of Glee with me) asked me if two boys were allowed to kiss. Ding Ding Ding…teachable moment. She has one friend with two mommies but I guess it has never occured to her that a kid could have two daddies!


16 Angie [A Whole Lot of Nothing] June 8, 2012 at 5:55 pm

Brava, mama!
An Awesome post on Angie [A Whole Lot of Nothing]´s blog … “Magic Mike” Leaves Open A HUGE, MASSIVE, THROBBING Hole


17 Erin June 8, 2012 at 7:17 pm

I wish I could make out with you for this post. Also? Thanks for hooking me up with another great author. Now on my to-buy list for all the kids in my life…because I enjoy filling childrens lives with as much “BLASPHEMY” as possible.
An Awesome post on Erin´s blog … How To Not Get Hired For A Job.


18 Angie [A Whole Lot of Nothing] June 10, 2012 at 5:53 pm

I’m thinking of putting a funnel into my kids’ ears straight from Todd Parr to get all of the blasphemy possible in their brains.
An Awesome post on Angie [A Whole Lot of Nothing]´s blog … Shopping? Click It And Forget It!


19 Sylvia Eilers Korver June 9, 2012 at 12:43 am

THANK YOU! THANK YOU! THANK YOU! I wish that you and I could be friends.


20 Angie [A Whole Lot of Nothing] June 10, 2012 at 5:54 pm

I’m always accepting new Friend Applications.
An Awesome post on Angie [A Whole Lot of Nothing]´s blog … Shopping? Click It And Forget It!


21 Gary June 9, 2012 at 9:15 am

This is a fantastic post! You really made a strong argument here in a fun, visual way. I love your humor and your outrage. Todd and his books are both amazing and now I have added you to the amazing list too.


22 Angie [A Whole Lot of Nothing] June 10, 2012 at 5:55 pm

An Awesome post on Angie [A Whole Lot of Nothing]´s blog … Shopping? Click It And Forget It!


23 Christina June 10, 2012 at 9:55 pm

I, too, love the amazing Todd Parr. Our entire family (we happen to be one mom/one dad/2 kids) fell in love with him the minute we read “Otto Goes to Camp.” We are a mixed race family with (gahhh!) 2 ferocious (NOT!) pit bulls. We see our family and our pets all throughout Todd’s books and especially at the end when we see Todd and Bully (his pit) on the back. TODD PARR RULES. I wish I could hug him right now.


24 Angie [A Whole Lot of Nothing] June 11, 2012 at 9:27 am

I think he needs to write a book that he delivers personally with a hug.
An Awesome post on Angie [A Whole Lot of Nothing]´s blog … Shopping? Click It And Forget It!


25 Heather Steele June 11, 2012 at 2:28 pm

Oh lordy – why are people so dumb? Are same-sex parents in Erie, Illinois allowed to attend functions with their elementary aged children? I mean – you wouldn’t want to expose the other kids to real life blasphemy of 2 moms or 2 dads, would you? I bet they sensor Sesame Street in that city too – I mean, some of those Bert & Ernie scenes can get pretty saucy.
An Awesome post on Heather Steele´s blog … 10 Things Every Beginner Should Know About Spinning


26 Heather Steele June 11, 2012 at 2:32 pm

Hey – that is really cool how it pulls my most recent blog post! Love your blog even more now!!


27 Angie [A Whole Lot of Nothing] June 11, 2012 at 8:34 pm

Totally ridiculous.
An Awesome post on Angie [A Whole Lot of Nothing]´s blog … 5 Reasons You’re Sadistic For Going To Disney World In The Summer


28 Zoeyjane June 12, 2012 at 2:23 am

Dood. They should definitely ban It’s Okay To Be Different, too. It says, specifically, “It’s okay to have two moms.” Or dads. Or both? I forget.

While he’s at it, the super-intendant should make sure that The Peace Book’s ultimate message of getting along and drinking a coke is boycotted, as well as the Create Your Own Planet workbook. Heaven forbid these impressionable minds question, consider or create.


29 Angie [A Whole Lot of Nothing] June 12, 2012 at 4:49 pm

I’m still waiting to hear if they take Good Night, Gorilla off the shelves. The beastiality undertones are haunting young minds.
An Awesome post on Angie [A Whole Lot of Nothing]´s blog … Not Sure If The Kid Is Mine


30 Scott Rose June 13, 2012 at 8:22 pm

Erie, Illinois’s Gay-Bashing Superintendent Cox — and the School Board — Have Broken Laws
This article explains how Bradley Cox — the gay-bashing Superintendent of the Erie, Illinois Community School District — has broken, and is breaking, Illinois anti-bullying law SB3266.

Cox’s violation of SB3266 also puts him in violation of the Code of Ethics for Illinois Educators.

There is an appearance that Cox’s behavior violates the Illinois Human Rights Act, too.

This article, additionally, calls on the Illinois State Booard of Education to step in and enforce the law — and the Code of Ethics — that Cox is violating.

A little background is in order, but first we really must point out that in November, 2011, in rural Ridge Farm, Illinois, a public school failed to protect the 10-year-old Ashllyn Conner as legally required in SB3266. Ashllyn hanged herself when she could no longer bear the barrage of bullying directed against her at the school.

Cox’s violations of the law, and of the Code of Ethics for Illinois Educators ***must*** be taken seriously, and corrected, in order to prevent additional child suicides in Illinois.

That is the raison d’être of this article. Good laws are in place to protect all students in Illinois, but those laws have to be enforced, and can not be compromised by the stupid caprices of fatuously self-righteous anti-gay bigots.

Be it additionally noted, that a student need not commit suicide, for objective observers to be able to verify that as per a written law in force, an individual student’s rights — and/or the rights of a particular class of persons — are being violated by bigots and bigot-enablers.

Some of the criminal harassment that Ashllyn suffered stemmed from her getting her hair cut short; she was taunted for “looking like a boy.” The language that specifically prohibits such bullying regards “sex” and “gender identity and expression.” These are classes of protection that Cox says he will not insure, because they involve gender non-conformity, which his friends, the gay-bashing religious bigots at the Erie Christian Church refuse to tolerate. Illinois’s anti-bullying law, SB3266, is comprehensive, and must be entirely enforced. A superintendent may not pick and choose portions of the law to enforce, or not, based on the anti-gay malice of local church groups.

Aaron Sweeney, youth pastor of the Erie Christian Church, led a theocratic cabal to get Todd Parr’s The Family Book banned from his town’s elementary school specifically because one page of the children’s book says “Some families have two moms, or two dads.” Illinois’s civil union law grants same-sex couples the rights of marriage under state law. The Family Book has sold over 2 million copies, won an award, and has been available for ten years.

Subsequent to the church-led anti-gay pressure — which included allegedly Christian “prayer vigils” — the school board and Superintendent Bradley Cox imposed a ban of Parr’s book and all GLSEN-recommended teaching materials, including No Name Calling Week and Ready, Set, Respect!, an anti-bullying program plan.

According to GLSEN’s Andy Marra, the Erie school district first used these materials after a series of anti-gay name-calling incidents in the Erie elementary school.

As reported on SaukValley.com, the National Association for the Education of Young Children released a statement saying that the prohibition of the materials “directly undermines efforts to reduce bullying and name-calling and to foster a culture of respect in schools.”

Erie Mayor Marcia Smith has said that elementary-school-aged children of same-sex parents are welcome in the town. So what sense does it make — in light of the mayor’s welcome — not to mention, the anti-bullying law — for Cox to stigmatize nontraditional families and to place a gag order against the simple acknowledgement of their existence?

What sense does that make?

The church-led anti-gay pressure, and the public school superintendent caving to that pressure — despite state laws stipulating that “sexual orientation” and nontraditional families are protected classes — suggests that Cox could be violating the constitutionally-mandated separation of church and state in public schools. Theocratic propagandists characteristically seek to deny that separation of church and state is mandated; courts do not agree with them.

Sweeney and his church appear to understand that they have overstepped their bounds, by far, and are now trying to contain the public relations damage. Refusing an interview with Chicago Phoenix, Sweeney said that his church’s leadership forbid him from talking to “anyone who is not local,” because they feared it would draw negative attention to the church. That is conspicuously a scoundrel’s refuge. Having very negatively stigmatized — in violation of state law — certain classes of protected persons in the public schools — the sniveling theocrats are trying to kick the dust of silence over their dirty deed, like a dog that has defecated on the front lawn. Superintendent Cox, with his statements in defense of the theocratically-motivated gay-bashing, is a second neighborhood dog, coming along, sniffing eagerly, as best it can at the other dog’s rear, while it is kicking the dirt over its stinking deed.

Let’s repeat this: “Sweeney said that his church’s leadership forbid him from talking to “anyone who is not local,” because they feared it would draw negative attention to the church.”

I’ll bet those cowardly anti-gay theocratic bullies do not want negative attention drawn to their bigot church.

They have no inhibitions about stigmatizing minorities locally, but then attempt to mount a wall of silence to escape rightfully negative notice for their illicit — and as happens — illegal stigmatization of minorities in public schools.

If what Aaron Sweeney and his Erie Christian Church have done is not wrong — (it absolutely is) — why are the anti-gay bigots worrying about drawing negative attention to their church?

The church’s initial behavior — praying to eliminate a book that says “Some families have two moms, or two dads” — was shameful; attempting now to hide from the shame that the church has brought upon itself only compounds the disgrace. The church leaders have as good as admitted that they understand how malicious and irrational they look in other people’s eyes.

Again: “Sweeney said that his church’s leadership forbid him from talking to “anyone who is not local,” because they feared it would draw negative attention to the church.”

When SB3266 was passed into law in 2010, tyrannical theocratic anti-gay bullies took notice. They militantly did everything in their power to gay-bash in propagandizing against the anti-bullying law. The severely anti-gay Focus on the Family’s Citizen Link editorialized against the anti-bullying legislation by putting anti-bullying between scare quotes, and bitterly inveighing against Illinois Governor Pat Quinn for signing the bill. In Focus on the Family’s view, although the SB3266 is a comprehensive anti-bullying bill, the mere inclusion of sexual orientation, and gender identity and expression — among many other protected classes — makes the entire bill “nefarious.” Focus on the Family says that this and similar laws “are being used across the country as tools to promote homosexuality in the classroom.” Take a moment to reflect on how these unjustifiably self-righteous, paranoid, sociopathic anti-gay bigots twist the actual purposes of school anti-bullying legislation to their own hate-driven ends. They deny that the anti-bullying legislation is about stopping bullying, violence, and student suicides, in order to fraudulently allege that anti-bullying legislation is “used across the country as tools to promote homosexuality in the classroom.” The very same legislation which, had it been enforced, would have spared Ashllyn Conner from suffering gender-identity-based bullying, gets described as being a tool to “promote” homosexuality in schools. FoF also poisoned already paranoid, anti-gay bigot minds by alleging that the law “erodes parental rights.”

Cry me a river!

Children are committing suicide because of being bullied on certain specific actual or perceived characteristics, but gay-bashing bigots think they have some right to put children at heightened risk of bullying and suicide. Bigot parents can teach their children all the bigotry they want at home, but have no right to insist that their bigotry not be countered by enlightened education and policies in the public schools. And that is not just opinion; in Illinois, it is the law! Bigot parents who want to micro-manage every aspect of their children’s formation have to home school their children. There is no “parental right” for a particular bigotry not to be countered in public school education.

By caving to the demands of Sweeney and his cowardly, gay-bashing bully church, Cox has sided with Focus on the Family, against all the language in SB3266, which is a state law. The Code of Ethics for Illinois Educators requires school administrators to follow state law.

While Cox has been obnoxiously misleading with some of his quotes announcing an intent to continue breaking SB3266, he has been impudently unambiguous with others.

For example, he alleges that tolerance and anti-bullying will continue to be taught in the school, yet he has said that there is to be absolutely no further mention of same-sex-headed families or related topics in the school, an illegal edict — (in a state with civil unions for same-sex couples). He told a local TV news reporter that he personally thinks this is correct policy; but as happens, it violates SB3266, which law states that he, as a school administrator, is responsible for understanding it.

Asked by Chicago Pride what would happen if a teacher attempted to make their classroom a more accepting place for children of nontraditional families, Cox said that this “would be insubordination,” and that the teacher’s specific punishment “would be determined on a case by case basis.”

If anybody is being insubordinate though, it would be Cox, who is violating the Illinois State Legislature’s Anti-Bullying Law, SB3266, passed in 2010.

SB3266 is a law; applying it is not optional. The law applies to public and non-public schools, and to elementary and secondary schools.

Additionally, the Illinois Human Rights Act prohibits retaliation against a person because he or she has opposed that which he or she reasonably and in good faith believes to be unlawful discrimination . . in elementary education.

In Illinois, it is unlawful to stigmatize nontraditional families to, and in public schools. To retaliate against a teacher for attempting to correct an unlawful stigma, is unlawful.

The law protects teachers against Cox’s threat to punish them for teaching acceptance.

Whereas Cox told a reporter that if a teacher attempted to make their classroom a more accepting place for children of nontraditional families, that “would be insubordination,” SB3266 specifically prohibits bullying and incivility on the basis of, among many other characteristics, “sexual orientation.”

Banning all discussion of children of same-sex parents and threatening to punish teachers who teach acceptance of such families obviously is against SB3266. Claiming that one is carrying out adequate anti-bullying efforts — when one has just stigmatized same-sex-headed families to the whole community, and threatened teachers against teaching acceptance of same-sex-headed families — in violation of SB3266 — is a height of lying-mouthed hypocrisy.

Cox’s public statements clearly indicate a strongly negative stigmatizing judgement against all members of a same-sex-led household. The very fact that the offending sentence that set Sweeney on his theocratic anti-gay crusade is — “Some families have two moms, or two dads” — demonstrates the severity of the stigmatization that has been illegally imposed on protected classes. Cox’s threat to punish teachers who would protect protected classes is insane.
Cox has actually said that if a teacher follows the law on teaching acceptance of same-sex-headed families, the teacher will be punished. SB3266 specifically forbids “intimidation” related to “sexual orientation,” yet there is Superintendent Cox, brazenly intimidating teachers out of teaching acceptance of same-sex-headed families.

To be absolutely clear about this, SB3266 and its provisions regarding same-sex-headed families applies to elementary schools. And because it can not be said too many times in the context of Cox’s behavior, Illinois’s civil union law grants same-sex couples the rights of marriage under state law. Pastor Sweeney’s and Superintedent Cox’s negative judgments against same-sex-headed families are not relevant to the requirements of SB3266, except that the law, along with several Illinois Board of Education policies, require the teaching of acceptance.

The absurdity of Sweeney’s demands and of Cox’s breaking the law to cave in to those demands is jaw-dropping. Apropos of the sentence “Some families have two moms, or two dads,” Sweeney has reached the false, propagandistic, anti-gay-hate-mongering conclusion that that is a “sexual” topic, whereas talking about heterosexuals divorcing is not. To say that “Some families have two moms, or two dads,” absolutely, positively is not a “sexual” topic. Cox in that same interview, says that talking about “sexual orientation” with elementary school children is not acceptable — but, of course, he is not banning all mention of heterosexual couples, so what he actually means, is that he thinks that even to suggest — in any non-sexual way whatsoever — that gay people exist is totally off-limits. Sweeney and Cox are demonizing all gay people to their school community, and to their wider community, in a clear violation of SB3266.

Here is how the anti-gay bigot mind works: to say in a public school that George Washington was married to Martha is not a sexual topic. To say that some families have two dads, however, all of a sudden is a forbidden “sexual” topic. How is Bradley Cox worthy of the title of “educator” if he is enabling adults in his community to push such asinine thinking? And he is not ashamed to tell reporters he agrees with that asinine thinking. Educator? Really? “Some families have two moms, or two dads.”

Heavens, no! We must not tell that fact to children!

With Cox’s gay-bashing friends at the church fully aware of how asinine they look, and afraid of drawing (any additional) negative attention to their church, no less.

Part b(4) of SB3266 prohibits, among other things, “public humiliation” based on any characteristic.

Clearly, with their ban on discussing all matters pertaining to 1) same-sex-headed families; 2) sexual-orientation; 3) gender-related identity or expression, and 4) children’s associations with their own same-sex parents — all of which are mentioned in SB3266 — Cox and the school board have humiliated and intimidated eventual students involved — in whatever ways — with such minorities. Cox’s threat to punish teachers who attempt to make the classroom more welcoming for children of nontraditional families is outlandish, in view of the language in SB3266, which requires all school personnel to be aware of the requirements of the law. The text of SB3266 elaborates on who is considered “school personnel.”

“”School personnel” means persons employed by, on contract with, or who volunteer in a school district or non-public, non-sectarian elementary or secondary school, including without limitation school and school district administrators, teachers, school guidance counselors, school social workers, school counselors, school psychologists, school nurses, cafeteria workers, custodians, bus drivers, school resource officers, and security guards.”

The 10-year-old Ashlynn Conner hanged herself after being relentlessly bullied in a public school in a town very similar to Erie, Illinois in November, 2011. She was mocked for “looking like a boy” after getting a short haircut, and when she would report the harassment to school officials, the officials would call her a “tattletale.” The GLSEN materials Cox has banned in Erie — particularly Ready, Set, Respect! — address how to stop exactly the kind of gender-identity-related taunting and bullying — “You look like a boy!”– that led to Ashlynn’s suicide. Anti-gay bigots like Pastor Sweeney — eager to bar any and all favorable mention of homosexual human beings — could care less about saving children’s lives. When an Ashlynn Conner dies of suicide, they say “Oh that’s terrible!” but then they turn around and ban the very school anti-bullying programs that will help to prevent future tragedies of that nature. The GLSEN toolkit was developed in partnership with the National Association of Elementary School Principals (NAESP) that serves elementary and middle school principals in the United States, Canada, and overseas and the National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC), the world’s largest organization working on behalf of young children.

An anti-gay bigot pastor like Aaron Sweeney does not know better than all of those educational professionals how to stop specific forms of bigotry-based bullying in a public school, and in any event, Sweeney has no authority to demand that the superintendent not follow the law. Interviewed by CBS4qc’s Concetta Callahan, Sweeney said that (some) parents “thought that homosexuality should be talked about strictly at home.” That opinion is irrelevant to SB3266. Sweeney also said that (some) parents “do not want kids to hear one thing at home,” (that gays are evil) “and another thing at school” (that gays are not evil). Again, that opinion clearly is irrelevant to the requirements of SB3266. The school must follow the law, no matter what an anti-gay pastor says.

In the same TV news segment, Cox, the Superintendent, says that “alternative lifestyles” are not appropriate for discussion in the elementary school. Cox needs to read SB3266. And he needs to read about the Illinois legislation giving state-level marriage rights to same-sex couples through civil unions. Cox attempts to justify the unjustifiable by saying that the GLSEN materials had only been used for one year, and that the prior program was adequate. Well, no; SB3266 was passed into law in 2010. The prior program used in the Erie schools did not meet the legal requirements of SB3266, and that is why educators in Erie initially began using the GLSEN materials. Moreover, Cox says of the GLSEN materials: “These were materials that were used to address some very specific issues that came up.”

Really? Which issues were those? Cox must immediately disclose to news professionals what those very specific issues were. This reporter’s request for clarification has gone unanswered. The appearance is that Cox is referring to the series of anti-gay name-calling incidents in the elementary school. The “very specific issues that came up,” which Cox did not define to the reporter, involved verbal gay bashings in the elementary school. Cox told Callahan that “sexual preference, sexual orientation, those are not age-appropriate discussions.” Wrong. The way the material is presented in Todd Parr’s The Family Book absolutely is age appropriate. Remember; the book simply says on one page: “Some families have two moms, or two dads.” And again, for emphasis, Illinois’s civil union law grants same-sex couples the rights of marriage under state law.

There are some other areas in which it appears Cox could be in violation of the law. For example, he told CNN’s Soledad O’Brien “I think it’s important to note that note that sexual orientation has never been part of Erie’s elementary school social and emotional development policy.” Yet, the Illinois School Board of Education’s Social and Emotional Development Policy is a required policy, the section on recognizing individual and group similarities and differences calls for identifying negative depictions of difference among people, including gender or sexual orientation stereotyping, and prejudices based on misinformation. Cox either does not know about this, or he is willfully ignoring these laws. Furthermore, the Erie schools Code of Conduct — which is for the entire school system — says nothing about sexual orientation or gender identity, which by law is required to be included. The Illinois Prevent Student Violence Act specifically prohibits bullying on the basis of — among other things, sexual orientation and gender-related identity or expression.

The law does not allow Superintendent Cox to forbid — and/or to threaten to punish for — talking about nontraditional families in the elementary school. When we say that the law does not allow Cox to do that, what we mean is that in doing it, Cox is breaking the law. The Code of Ethics for Illinois Educators requires all employees at the district level to comply with state and federal laws and regulations.

It is now urgently important that officials with the Illinois State Board of Education step in and instruct Superintendent Cox to follow the law, before there is an Ashllyn Conner-type student suicide in Erie. Cox must immediately retract his illegal threat to punish teachers who teach acceptance of same-sex-headed families. Superintendents can lose their administrative certification if they violate state education laws. And for the Erie School Board members who support Cox’s violations of SB3266, be it noted; their oath of office swears them to faithfully discharge their duties in accordance with the laws of the State of Illinois.

Ashllyn’s grief-stricken surviving family members have said that they hoped her story would make a difference in the lives of other children who are bullied.

That obviously is not happening where Superintended Cox is illegally intimidating teachers out of teaching acceptance of same-sex-headed families.

An e-mail was sent to Superintendent Cox, asking if he or the school’s attorneys can explain how SB3266 allows their actions; as of publication time, no response had been received.


31 Jessica Naomi June 13, 2012 at 10:05 pm

Homo-hot-&-bothered Erie Christian Church ASSistant Pastor Sweeney gets all homo-hot-&-bothered when he thinks about two moms or two dads or maybe when he thinks about two moms and two dads.


32 gollumelites October 30, 2013 at 3:58 pm

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