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10/01/2009

Family Research embraces deception; also: sky is still blue

by Jeremy Hooper

Screen Shot 2009-10-01 At 9.29.19 PmResponding to the "controversy" that the far-right has been drumming up about the way he handled a teen student who once revealed a same-sex encounter with a man (of unspecified age), Office of Safe and Drug-Free Schools head Kevin Jennings issued this statement:

"Twenty one years later I can see how I should have handled this situation differently. I should have asked for more information and consulted legal or medical authorities. Teachers back then had little training or guidance about this kind of thing. All teachers should have a basic level of preparedness. I would like to see the Office of Safe and Drug Free Schools play a bigger role in helping to prepare teachers."
UNDER ATTACK FROM RIGHT, EDUCATION DEPARTMENT'S KEVIN JENNINGS RELEASES STATEMENT ON COUNSELING INCIDENT 21 YEARS AGO [Towle]

Okay, so he admits that he could've done more, without apologizing for his first instincts, which were to be a sympathetic ear and shoulder for a gay teen who confided in him at a time when gay visibility was light years different than it is today. And Mr. Jennings specifically says that now, after decades of training on the subject (to which he dedicated his career), he would have involved medical and/or legal authorities if appropriate. It's a perfectly appropriate statement.

But what does the Family Research Council do with the quote? Well obviously, they posted it as is, since they are good, moral Christians who are only in this "culture war" so that they can seek out truth, fairness, and decency. And they of course wouldn't want to dupe their followers with misinformation. Right?

Wrong:

"Twenty-one years later I can see how I should have handled this situation [of covering up child sexual abuse] differently... Teachers back then had little training or guidance about this kind of thing."
Better Safe... and Sorry [FRC]

No, we didn't shorten anything: All of the disgustingly misleading editing is their own. The intimation that a teen who was just under (or possibly even at) the age of consent was a "child" who was "abused." The complete redaction of the part about medical/legal authorities. And of course the elimination of his vow to use his new role to ensure that no future teacher will feel helpless if faced with a similar situation. All of it, just cut for the sake of political ease, so that they can continue to editorialize around it (with the FRC writer even brazen enough to say that Jennings' statement that they truncated is "hardly enough"). And as we've flat-out said before: It's all because Mr. Jennings is a progressive gay. Period.

***

**MORE: CNN picks apart the biases and misrepresentations:

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Your thoughts

On Olbermann, he mentioned that the child in that case was 16 years old. And that in the state where this occurred, the age of consent is 16. So, again according to Olbermann, there was nothing inappropriate (from a legal perspective) about the 16 year old's relationship with the "older" man. Much of the south, and several other states have their age of consent at 16 years old.

Posted by: Dick Mills | Oct 1, 2009 11:54:57 PM

even if the kid had been 15, so what? when I was 15 half the girls in my class were banging 20-something year olds, hell abunch of them were doing the 30-something softball coach.

Also I like how the bigots ALWAYS 'forget' to mention that he was the legal age, or at absolute most afew months under it, when this happened. really shows their integrity.

Posted by: penguinsaur | Oct 2, 2009 11:00:03 AM

Call me cynical, but I would actually be more willing to believe that the sky has suddenly changed color than FRC engaging in honest tactics.

Posted by: zortnac | Oct 2, 2009 3:38:44 PM

This shows how qualified Jennings is at his post now, from what he did THEN.
He did his job as well as possible under the circumstances and he SAVED a LIFE!

And just WHAT would anyone of the opposition have done in Jennings place?
The mother and father of that boy would likely have buried him not long after he sought help.
They don't even admit to how abysmal their record is with vulnerable gay youth.
Jennings is owed an apology. But that comes hard or not at all for libel and slander.

Posted by: Regan DuCasse | Oct 3, 2009 1:56:01 AM

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