‘Anti-bullying’ witchhunt

Loudoun Times-Mirror
January 11, 2005

In response to the public spanking he received for his irresponsible remarks about bullying in our schools, Sterling Supervisor Eugene Delgaudio has called on his friend Steve Baldwin, former California Assembly member and current director of the extreme right Council on National Policy, to bail him out.

In a lengthy statement to the press, Mr. Baldwin claims that there is a vast “homosexual conspiracy” at work in our schools, involving anti-bullying programs, curricula that includes gay and lesbian people (e.g., Walt Whitman), and grassroots support groups like Parents, Friends and Families of Lesbians and Gays (PFLAG).

In Mr. Baldwin’s imagination this may all be orchestrated from a smoky boardroom somewhere in San Francisco, but I’m afraid that the truth is a little more pedestrian. Student clubs like Gay-Straight Alliances are started and run by students who perceive a need for them. Support groups like PFLAG are started and run by parents who are fed up with the message from people like Mr. Baldwin that they shouldn’t love their children.

It was the students in Loudoun County who named bullying as one of the top five problems they are facing. It’s more than a little ironic that civic leaders would go to the trouble of arranging a series of focus groups entitled “Listening to Youth,” culminating in the recent Step Up symposium, only to have outsiders like Mr. Delgaudio and Mr. Baldwin ignore and belittle what the youth themselves have to say.

Again, Superintendent Edgar Hatrick has made it very clear that all students are entitled to a learning environment free from bullying for any reason. That is the objective of the anti-bullying curriculum; it hasn’t changed and isn’t going to change. Supervisor Delgaudio has continued to knowingly make untrue statements about this in e-mails and on his Web site.

Mr. Baldwin has slandered education professionals by suggesting that in doing their jobs they are somehow involved in a political “agenda.” He has attempted to create the conditions for a witch hunt by implying that any person in the school system who opposes anti-gay bullying must be a “homosexual activist.”

If Mr. Baldwin thought that he would have more success purveying these lies in our county than he had in California, he should think again. Most people have someone in their life who is gay, lesbian, bisexual or transgendered, and can easily see through such vilification. That is reality, and there is nothing that Mr. Baldwin and his ilk can do about it.

David Weintraub, President, Equality Loudoun

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