Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Hononegah, IL: Parents Oppose Formation of Gay Club for Teens

From "Hot debate at Hononegah" by Ashley Rhodebeck, posted 7/25/07 at

Just one person from the 50-plus crowd gathered in Hononegah High School's library Monday advocated for the proposed student club called the Gay-Straight Alliance.

Teacher Cathy Aubrecht, who submitted the request, was the lone warrior against voice after voice asserting the organization will disrupt the educational process and promote immoral views.

Meanwhile, the Board of Education's co-curricular committee didn't provide an opinion or recommendation to the full board. Instead, members just asked questions and, after the public hearing was complete, expressed they felt “overloaded” with information.

The committee scheduled the meeting so Aubrecht could expand on her brief proposal dated May 14 but also received legal information and comments from 18 community members.

No Hononegah students spoke publicly, though what looked like a few teens were among the crowd.

“It's summertime,” Aubrecht said of their absence.

Aubrecht began the proceedings by explaining she proposed the Gay-Straight Alliance because a student with “great rationale” approached her saying such a club is needed to provide a network of support to homosexuals and those who are related to or are friends with gays and lesbians.

Diversity clubs, such as the now defunct Promoting Awareness Creates Tolerance, focus mainly on racial issues while neglecting homosexual ones, Aubrecht said. Creating a gay-lesbian subcommittee of PACT also wouldn't work, she said, explaining that giving it a neutral-sounding name will give into the prejudices the Gay-Straight Alliance intends to stop.

Although Aubrecht stressed the club would offer support to students and said it wouldn't discuss sex, many of the parents feared the organization will promote sexual activity among teens.

One citizen even argued because the state's age of consent is 17 it is illegal for minors to engage in sexual activity. Therefore, she said, the school, as an agency of Illinois, would appear to condone and promote illegal activity.

“This is no chess club you're putting together,” said Steve Branch, a Roscoe resident who urged the board members to be picky in selecting the club's advisor if the group is approved. The advisor, he and other parents said, should be trained to handle issues that might arise in the club.

Lora Sue Hauser, a representative from the Illinois Family Institute, cited research that asserts 75 percent of boys who label themselves gay as teens become straight in adulthood. It would be “educationally irresponsible,” she said, for the school to endorse homosexuality.

How refreshing! Parents standing together to protect their children...

It's not clear what legal chance they have to keep a GSA from forming but God bless them for taking responsibility and speaking up! If nothing else, it sends the message to educators that the parents in this district are paying attention, and it's not acceptable to teach these children that homosexual behavior is OK...

Read the rest of this article.