The more we learn about Kevin Jennings’ past and his leadership of GLSEN, the more questions we have.
The other night, when finishing this post, I wanted to confirm two things I had seen on the web earlier in the day. For one, the question of whether GLSEN had stopped the seminars on “fisting” after 2000, I could find no confirmation in my browser’s history, realizing only later that I had read that information via a comment in a Facebook thread. (A reader would later confirm that in a comment.) I could not confirm the second, that GLSEN regularly prohibited parents from attending events in which their children participated (having evidence that they do so only in 2001).
Further research may confirm the initial views of this blogger–and other conservatives–that Jennings is not fit to serve in the Department of Education. Or it may contradict the emerging picture of this man, showing him to acknowledge the importance of promoting the complex nature of human sexuality and discussing its emotional aspects, perhaps even encouraging high school kids to wait until they find romance for their first sexual experience.
Some bloggers and other independent researchers have looked into this matters on their own, often at great personal expense. (Not to mention the sacrifice of their own uncompensated time.) Much of the information we need is several years old, often only readily accessible via databases requiring paid subscriptions. Other information remains in the “dead-tree” archives of schools and non-profits and not yet uploaded to the web.
Most of us lack the resources to conduct research (it would involve travel to Boston); some might have difficulty gaining access to school archives and need help to file Freedom of Information requests. And right now, we’ve only got bloggers and their amateur allies looking into this. The mainstream media, by and large, seems indifferent to a story which includes some of the same elements which made a recent scandal in the Catholic Church a national, if not international sensation. Why, we ask, isn’t the media doing the followup they would do were this story to involve priests or Republicans?
There are questions that need be asked. And the answers just might put Jennings (and GLSEN) in a better light.
- After GLSEN’s leaders learned of the seminars on “fisting” in 2000, what guidelines did they put in place to prevent this from happening again? How were such guidelines enforced?
- Where parents allowed to review the curricula of the various conferences? Were they allowed to opt their children out? Could they sit in? And if not, why not?
There is much that we need to know. As time allows, I will look into this, indeed, will begin this process as soon as I post this piece with an e-mail to a correspondent in GLSEN’s New York office.