As President Obama’s appointee to oversee federal school safety policy, Kevin Jennings has toured the nation the past year giving over 30 high-profile speeches. In his programs, Jennings has used a slide with data masking his former gay rights advocacy organization as its source.
In a key slide entitled, “Some Groups are Singled Out for Harassment,” Jennings lists two of the top three reasons for harassment as:
- They are or people think they are gay, lesbian or bixsexual; and
- How masculine or feminine they are.
Jennings’ cites at the bottom right of his slide its source as: From Teasing to Torment: School Climate in America 2005:
What Jennings’ slide fails to say is that source for From Teasing to Torment: School Climate in America 2005 is the Gay, Lesbian, and Straight Education Network (GLSEN), the gay rights special interest advocacy group founded over a decade ago by Jennings.
Jennings also served as GLSEN’s executive director, including at the time this report was published in 2005 by GLSEN.
The Center for Responsive Politics names Jennings as a “bundler” for Obama’s 2008 Presidential campaign, reportedly raising between $100,000 and $200,000 “bundled” from numerous smaller amount donors. Jennings has publicly said that he and his domestic partner had Obama in their home for a campaign event.
Whether accidental or intentional, the slide source is misleading. Jennings needs to completely come out and fully identify in writing the source of his presentation material. Given this slide tells the reader that two of the top reasons for harassment are related to sexual orientation —something not asked in many surveys and potentially skewed when coming from a gay rights advocacy group — Jennings owes his audience full disclosure so they can make an informed interpretation.
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