Will fed civil rights bullying complaints force gay rights school training?

Posted by on September 30, 2010

Are federal legal compliance mandates for diversity and gay rights training in local schools one of the ultimate goals of the New Gay Rights Campaign for Federal Investigation of Bullying ? 

Christian Conservatives Argue Goal is Forced Gay Rights-Oriented Training and Curriculum

On September 7th, I posted School Safety Politically Hijacked? Gay Rights vs Christians which focuses on an ongoing battle between Focus on the Family (FOTF’), a conservative Christian group, and GLSEN (Gay, Lesbian, and Straight Education Network), a gay rights advocacy group. 

One of FOTF’s allegations is that gay rights advocates’ ultimate goal is to push for LGBT (lesbian,gay, bi-sexual, transgender) training and curriculum in public school classrooms.

U.S. Department of Education’s Office on Civil Rights is Pushing Civil Rights Investigations of Bullying and Monitoring of Fed Compliance Orders Against Schools

Back on August 13th, in my article on Radical Policy Shift Targets Bullying as Federal Civil Rights Issue, I recapped comments from Education Secretary Arne Duncan and his head of the Office for Civil Rights, Russlyn Ali, from the Department’s “first national bullying summit.” 

One of Ms. Ali’s comments focused was that their “Monitoring is more aggressive than in recent histories,” referring to her office’s emphasis on monitoring compliance agreements on complaints the office is involved with investigating.  Compliance agreements basically refers to settlements agreed to by the complainant, the target of the complaint (in this discussion, school districts), and the U.S. Department of Education.

Given the recent announcement by two leading gay rights advocacy groups (see New Gay Rights Campaign for Federal Investigation of Bullying ) who are encouraging LGBT students and their allies to file complaints on bullying and harassment with the Education Department’s Office of Civil Rights, it is logical to ask:

What is the ultimate outcome desired from filing these complaints?

Resolution of the specific complaints is the most obvious desired outcome.

But is there a broader ultimate goal to get mandatory diversity training for school staff and students as well?

One of the two advocacy groups behind the campaign, PFLAG, directly stated their goal is to collect data to use to push for changes in the law, and this is one step in an educational and advocacy effort.

Would Federally Forced Gay Rights Diversity Training Violate School Staff and Student Civil Rights, and Trigger More Civil Rights Investigations and Law Suits Against Schools?

The question posed to me after yesterday’s article was this:

“If the U.S. Department of Education compliance order mandates LGBT diversity training for school staff and students, what are the implications for those staff and students whose religious preferences would be violated by them being forced to have such training?  For example, if a Catholic or Muslim staff member or student claims forced LGBT diversity training violates their religious civil rights, would this then trigger additional civil rights complaints and lawsuits against school districts?”

One gay rights advocacy group behind this campaign indicates their goal is to collect data to influence laws.  How and what type of laws is unclear at this time, although two current proposed federal laws (Safe Schools Improvement Act and Student Nondiscrimination Act—both referenced at the end of my post on School Safety Politically Hijacked? Gay Rights vs Christians) give some clues.  Whether or not that translates into a broader objective for mandated diversity training and curriculum, as alleged by FOTF, remains to be seen, although I think we’re getting closer to the answer.

My Take

One thing is clear: The efforts to skew federal school safety policy and funding by special interest groups, along with the actual proposed and implemented efforts to do so already underway by the Obama Administration’s U.S. Department of Education, is not in the best interests of a comprehensive approach to federal school safety policy and funded.

If the Education Department’s Office of Civil Rights continues its overreach into local school bullying cases and begins forcing a broader political and social agenda upon schools in the form of mandated compliance ordered training and curriculum, the implications for local schools are huge. 

The end result will certainly be larger legal budgets and bills for local school districts, but will it actually help school safety?  My take is that it will do more damage than good, with one of the most likely outcomes being more civil rights complaints and lawsuits by those who oppose such mandates.

And while the political and social activists are battling their agendas for years in courts, the biggest loser will be comprehensive school safety programming and funding.

Ken Trump

Visit School Security Blog at:  http://www.schoolsecurityblog.com

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