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Lawmaker wants to ban gay student group from Tiverton High School

March 30, 2011

State Representative Dan Gordon is calling for the Gay-Straight Alliance at Tiverton High School to be prohibited from meeting on the school’s campus. The group was started by a student as a senior project and is the first of its kind at Tiverton High School. Gordon calls it an inappropriate use of students’ time and taxpayer-owned property.

“Students have enough to worry about with their education,” said Gordon, who has also characterized the group as a “sexual meet-up group” and a place were students “get sexed-up” in comments on a local blog.

“I don’t think we should be promoting anything whatsoever that has to do with sexuality,” Gordon said. “Especially in a school that receives public funding.”

Students involved in the club say their intent is to address issues like bullying, which is a common problem among gay students. Gordon believes clubs like the Gay-Straight Alliance are part of the problem.

“I don’t think there would be much of a problem with bullying if students weren’t flaunting their sexuality in school,” Gordon said, adding that he would have no problem with the group meeting in a private home.

Tiverton High School Principal Steven Fezette defends the club, which was approved unanimously by the local school committee.

“I have yet to see true failure when one promotes acceptance and tolerance of diversity,” Fezette wrote.

63 Comments leave one →
  1. Rep. Dan Gordon permalink
    March 30, 2011 3:57 pm

    At no point in time did I ever say the group should be disbanded. Only not meet or hold sexually oriented meetings at a tax-payer funded facility or building. I also noted in the interview that it did not matter if the group was gay or straight. No sexually promoted activities at a school, period.

    Thank you.

    • parent permalink
      March 31, 2011 4:02 pm

      How evolved of you!

    • Evan permalink
      March 31, 2011 5:57 pm

      I’m afraid I do not see how this club promotes sex between students or sexuality at all. These organizations are created for the purpose of finding emotional support for those who are struggling with felt differences. These differences are emotionally based–not sexually.
      In addressing the amount of sexual flaunting in schools nowadays, it only takes a few hours in a school to realize that groups such as GSAs are far from the crux of sexual behavior. A great deal of heterosexual flaunting is displayed on a consistent basis all around schools. Perhaps that is why these clubs are so vital to us all and perhaps tackling the more general sexual flaunting should be the focus instead of marginalized groups.

    • jjmblue7 permalink
      March 31, 2011 11:21 pm

      So no cheerleading, football, basketball, soccer, baseball, softball, field hockey, dance, drama club, science club, math club, foreign language club, marching band, art club, any other team or common-interest club, student government, or (incredibly homoerotic) wrestling, then?

    • William permalink
      April 1, 2011 12:51 am

      Dan Gordon, sincerely, apologize to all the people who thought they voted for a thoughtful, tolerant representative who cared about people. The thing is, most all of us are tolerant types and will accept your continued earnest nature.

  2. David Wasser permalink
    March 30, 2011 4:15 pm

    What Rep. Gordon is saying, in effect, is that it’s the fault of these kids that they get bullied, and if they’d just keep their heads down and stay in the closet, we wouldn’t be forced to bully them (because, of course, we can’t expect bullies to change their behavior).

    He, like many people who have little or no experience with GLBT issues, assumes that heterosexuals do not “flaunt” their sexuality. But what about male and female couples who hold hands, or hug, or make-out, etc. while at school. Does Rep. Gordon have a picture of his wife and family on his desk at work? Is that not flaunting your sexuality?

    GSAs serve as an extremely important resource for all students to learn important lessons about living in a diverse, democratic society. This is precisely what our schools should support.

    • Rep. Dan Gordon permalink
      March 30, 2011 4:25 pm

      Mr. Wasser,

      Not at all. Gay or straight, children should not be flaunting their sexuality. No one, regardless of orientation, should be participating in public displays of affection.

      Who would know if they were gay unless they flaunted it? Can one pick a gay person out of a crowd by simply looking at them? Of course not.

      I do not have a wife or children. How do you know I’m not gay? This is about proper policy, not sexual preference.

      (Ms. Harrison, Thank you for the correction to the story.)

      • James Joubert permalink
        March 31, 2011 2:15 am

        We don’t know that Dan. We don’t even really care. Did you ever have a girlfriend in high school and did you ever hold her hand in public, should that have been not allowed or should you have been bullied for such an act.

      • parent permalink
        March 31, 2011 4:05 pm

        Oh for crying out loud…when I was at THS, 30 years ago, people were making out in the hallways!!! Those same people are now upstanding citizens – accountants and real estate developers!!! Get a life.

      • Tiverton Dad permalink
        March 31, 2011 4:16 pm

        Mr. Gordon say, “Who would know if they were gay unless they flaunted it? Can one pick a gay person out of a crowd by simply looking at them?”

        Is this his version of don’t ask, don’t tell? Again, he misses the point. Heterosexuals are under no pressure to disguise or hide their sexuality, while Gordon seems to be suggesting that gay people are obligated to do so.

      • jjmblue7 permalink
        March 31, 2011 11:27 pm

        Really? I can usually tell if someone is straight or gay from a minimal amount of information. Maybe that comes from having close friends who are gay, and y’know spending enough time to get to know them and dare I say not keep my distance at all costs. Heck, I can usually even tell when a comic strip character will be revealed to be gay.

  3. Rep. Dan Gordon permalink
    March 30, 2011 5:01 pm

    At second look, the story has NOT been changed to accurately reflect my statements. The headline still says, “wants to ban”. Not true. I will issue a public statement from the House today, denouncing this falsehood.

    • I Like Bananas permalink
      March 31, 2011 4:15 am

      Doesn’t wanting to prohibit it from taking place on school property (“tax-payer funded facility or building”) as a ban? You are proposing that they be banned from holding their meetings on school property when you suggested only holding meetings in private residences. Banned from holding meetings in the building sounds exactly like a ban to me.

      I won’t even begin to get into the specifics of how sad, angry and frustrated your comments both here and over at Tiverton Patch make me. I can tell it’s no use arguing with you about how ignorant many of your statements have been, as I have read your responses to such criticisms elsewhere and you clearly just do not get it.

      That said, I hope that you reconsider your public statement to denounce this “falsehood” as it isn’t a falsehood at all. You are arguing for a ban. I would hope an elected official would at least have the testicular fortitude to say it like it is if he or she believes in something so unwaveringly.

    • Steve permalink
      March 31, 2011 3:26 pm

      Will you also publicly announce that you’re a homophobic moron who is out of touch with today’s society? How about a resignation?

      Nice to see that you are taking the mandate citizens have given you and are paying attention to the really important issues.

    • parent permalink
      March 31, 2011 4:50 pm

      Oh who cares. You don’t want the group to meet in a building paid for by the taxpayer….what exactly do you want retracted???? Give us a break…we see through you. Issue a statement from the house…who cares??? I bet there are gays in that House!!! On taxpayer property!!! BEWARE!!!

      • jjmblue7 permalink
        March 31, 2011 11:29 pm

        That last bit got a chuckle out of me!

  4. Robert Johnson permalink
    March 30, 2011 6:05 pm

    To Dan Gordon from http://www.nmha.org site – Bullying and Gay Youth
    What can we do to help?
    Schools should offer a safe and respectful learning environment for everyone. When bullying is allowed to take place, it affects everyone. For every GLBT youth who reported being targeted for anti-gay harassment, four heterosexual youth reported harassment or violence for being perceived as gay or lesbian.[10] Also, we know that bullying was a contributing factor in the Columbine shootings and other school violence. Students, teachers, and school administrators who look the other way are contributing to the problem. In contrast, kids who said that they had a supportive faculty or openly gay staff member were more likely to feel as if they belong in their school.[11]

  5. Dub Not Dubya permalink
    March 30, 2011 9:56 pm

    …..And, Gordon’s original comments on the Patch site are now gone. Can’t un-ring the bell, though.

  6. Sandy permalink
    March 30, 2011 10:11 pm

    This is an easy one. Vote no on this ban. Don’t allow these students to be silenced. Students have as much right as any group to band together to fight for justice and provide support for each other around issues they care about. Don’t discourage them. Their desire to be active and responsible citizens should make us proud. I must wonder what Rep. Gordon really knows about such groups. They are not part of the ‘problem’; they are part of the solution! Why not make public what some would keep private-the violence, discrimination and injustice perpetrated against those who are considered outside the ‘norm’ in our society. Please turn your attention to working toward the common good. Perhaps work on ways we can balance our budget without hurting the poor. Yes. How about working on providing top notch schooling experience to ALL children in our state. That would be good. Affordable housing? What a notion; I’d like to see that. Banning GLBT groups? Really? That is the most important issue that Rep. Gordon can take a stand on?

  7. Steven N. permalink
    March 30, 2011 10:59 pm

    Rep. Gordon,
    The headline is accurate, as you have conceded that you “want to ban gay student group from Triverton High School,” at least ban them from meeting in the school, or any other tax-payer funded building or institution.

    Define “flaunting” your sexuality for me, if you will? Is it going to campaign fundraising events with one’s wife? Or going to a school club with others who are gay and straight (it is, after all, a gay-straight alliance) and discussing issues

    Please search your conscience, sir, and realize that you are in the wrong on this one. Instead of denouncing statements made on a blog, retract your statements and push for legislation that seeks to better the lives of all students, regardless of sexuality, instead of punishing students for trying to better themselves.

  8. Jenn permalink
    March 31, 2011 12:48 am

    Better cancel the prom…

  9. March 31, 2011 1:43 am

    For those looking for Dan Gordon’s original comment from the Tiverton/Little Compton Patch story, here it is. I saved it just in case he did what he did.

    ************
    Rep. Dan Gordon
    7:28pm on Monday, March 28, 2011

    And this is why if I have anything to say about it, Tiverton will lose school funding to local charter schools. It doesn’t matter if gay or straight, if sexual meet-up groups are being promoted in our schools rather than improving test scores, that school is failing. Is it really more important for our children to get ‘sexed-up’, than learning advanced math?

  10. Craig O'Connor permalink
    March 31, 2011 2:06 am

    Impeach Gordon!

  11. James Joubert permalink
    March 31, 2011 2:10 am

    Mr. Gordon’s comments prove that he is a very simple minded person with very little empathy for the people in his district. What a pompous statement to threaten to take funding from his towns schools if they allow the gay straight group. Somehow this elected official who also wants to take away the bus monitors from the schools was endorsed and supported by our local tax watchdog group the TCC. Maybe they should have done some research and actually asked him some questions.

  12. DSilva permalink
    March 31, 2011 2:12 am

    Just so everyone is clear on what Dan REALLY said when commenting on a local story about the start up of an after school Gay-Straight Alliance club (since he deleted his comment off the blog) here it is. Defend away Mr. Gordon.

    Rep. Dan Gordon
    7:28pm on Monday, March 28, 2011

    “And this is why if I have anything to say about it, Tiverton will lose school funding to local charter schools. It doesn’t matter if gay or straight, if sexual meet-up groups are being promoted in our schools rather than improving test scores, that school is failing. Is it really more important for our children to get ‘sexed-up’, than learning advanced math? “

  13. Rob permalink
    March 31, 2011 2:33 am

    Rep Gordon, you do want to ban them from school grounds, so the headline is 100% accurate. These kids and their families pay their taxes and have every right to be on school grounds along with the other clubs. You are out of touch with today’s society and the acceptance of homosexuals in the community. Your comments about gay people “flaunting it” and thereby encouraging bullying is embarrassing. This all ends in a huge apology, do it now before it’s too late.

  14. Anthony Maselli permalink
    March 31, 2011 4:15 am

    It’s really a slippery slope. Meaning that if a “sex-based” group shouldn’t be allowed to meet on government-subsidized property, then the case could be made against any non-education-based extracurricular organization, including religious groups or clubs of all sorts. I think the guy is overstepping his boundaries and should focus on more pressing issues.

    Talk about an inappropriate use of taxpayer dollars… that’s a classification I would associate with his salary.

  15. Katherine Puleo permalink
    March 31, 2011 6:43 am

    It is about time that someone speaks the language of common sense here in RI!
    I applaud and congratulate Rep. Gordon for his guts and plain talk. Children gathering in any sort of alliance and club with no other purpose than to congregate is simply ridiculous. RI schools do not perform well… in fact, they underperform in every academic sector. Some graduate who cannot read or write well enough to seek employment. Not to worry, there are no jobs for graduates in RI; this is why young people are fleeing the state in droves. And I must ask, why was Rep. Gordon’s sexual preference called out here? No one has a clue if the man is gay or straight… except the thought police. Dan Gordon, keep doing what you are doing… you are getting under the skin of the fraudulent folks who have softened our schools to the point of failure.

    • Tiverton Dad permalink
      March 31, 2011 2:24 pm

      Children will NOT learn in an environment that is not safe and tolerant. Bottom line. This is not about sex or taxes, it’s about safety and acceptance. Furthermore, students have met in educational, sports, and social clubs at public schools, probably since the very first public school. Why should the GSA be any different?

    • parent permalink
      March 31, 2011 5:41 pm

      Well, Katherine, you and Rep Gordon are made for each other!!! I hear he’s not married….go for it!

  16. Get Real permalink
    March 31, 2011 12:43 pm

    Katherine:
    Do you really think our learning institutions are simply about test scores and marching to the beat of the educational systems regime–heads down, hair cut short, and absolutely no touching (because that might lead to children having naughty thoughts and getting “sexed up”)? I have tried to follow the language that you and Gordon speak but it’s ultimately gibberish leftover from a by-gone era that I’m all to happy to leave behind. You language translates test scores into common sense. The public listened and now there are extremely limited art and music programs (which are shown to improve test scores), field trip opportunities, and after school programs. And test scores are, in fact, not improving…you tell me who’s failing–the students and teachers or you? We must stop listening!
    Learning how to discuss difficult issues among peers, preferably in the presence of a teacher who can offer guidance and support, is crucial in our school systems. Supporting civil rights issues (and GLTB issues are certainly our present day issues of Civil Rights) should be something that we applaud and use as a stepping stone for our youth to help them create a more thoughtful society. Our schools need MORE after school clubs and organizations and students need more encouragement to get involved.
    With two small children in the Providence public school system this hits close to home. Threatening to reduce funding in already strapped school systems is a low blow and simply ridiculous.
    Let’s have some real guts and plain talk and talk about why graduates can’t get jobs. RI has a reputation for being corrupt and short-sighted–stop proving them right!

  17. March 31, 2011 12:49 pm

    Dan you buffoon!

    A gay club isnt a sexual based club. Could you be any more uneducated?

    SEXUAL ORIENTATION is vastly different from SEX – if you had any you would know this.

    This isnt a swingers club, its a safe haven for confused kids to talk and share about the struggles of being gay.

    The fact that you are such a homophobe makes me wonder… are you keeping something in the closet too?

  18. JayBee permalink
    March 31, 2011 1:05 pm

    Gordon’s comments, along with some in this thread, reek of something called “Blaming the Victim.” If the kids were heterosexual, this wouldn’t be an issue. But god forbid a discriminated against part of the population try to come together for support. The way these kids have been portrayed is disgusting and cruel. And all that the recent comments made are accomplishing is to further stratify them and make them feel less than equal.

  19. Robert Thibault permalink
    March 31, 2011 4:13 pm

    Mr.Gordon,

    Don’t you see? What you are threatening to do is wrong, or is your head to far into the clouds for you to realize that? I have read the Patch blog, and any other website that this has been talked about on, and I see the same response from most people: You don’t know what you are doing, and shouldn’t be in office at all. If you say this group is for getting all “Sexed-up” Then perhaps you should disband OTHER groups in the school. Why target just ONE group? A group with both gay, straight and bisexual, and other members. Why not disband other uneducational groups? Think about this Mr.Gordon, it will only go down hill for you if you continue your high and mighty attitude to this.

  20. March 31, 2011 8:02 pm

    Amazing. In Rhode Island resound the echos of segregationists’ arguments from Alabama circa 1960. If only THEY would stop flaunting ________, the WE (you know, the REAL Americans) wouldn’t have to notice them. After all, it’s only because THEY force us to notice them that we have to treat them differently.

    What’s next, Rep. Gordon? Are you going to stand at the school entrance and keep those OTHERS out?

  21. HS Student permalink
    March 31, 2011 10:14 pm

    I am a high school student from Boston, and agree with Dan Gordon on this point.

    A high school is supposed to be a productive place where work gets done. I find the idea of any type of display of affection in school appalling. That is completely unproductive to the spirit of an educational institution.

    Heterosexuals may be embarrassed about their significant other and choose not to publicly reveal it: homosexuals can do the same thing. Many of the smartest people I know don’t even have significant others, and they are able to be successful nevertheless.

    Even though I am a ninth grader, my school day is packed: I have six hours of class (including Calculus and Calculus-based Physics), two hours of crew, two hours of robotics, and three hours of homework. I have no time to fit in anything else, and anyone intent on going to a good college does not. I don’t understand how anybody — especially a senior that could be doing cutting edge research at labs — has the free time to start such a club.

    I enjoy math and science, and have thusly been called a “geek” by some. I’ve gotten over it myself, and it has made me a better person.

    It isn’t my business whether you’re heterosexual, homosexual, bisexual, transsexual, whatever. Don’t make it my business by shoving it in my face.

    • Rep. Dan Gordon permalink
      April 2, 2011 1:40 am

      Well done! An individual like yourself, that is capable and willing to exercise independent critical thought, is a precious commodity in society. Our structure requires leaders that are able to see the ‘big picture’…you have that.

      I encourage you to continue to flex and exercise your mind…you have a great future ahead of you.

      Best,
      Dan

  22. Kim permalink
    March 31, 2011 10:55 pm

    Mr. Gordon,
    I think you have completely missed the mark on this. The situation is not about sex at all. It’s not about inappropriate displays of affection. It’s about young people trying to deal with prejudice. A few years ago I would have been furious at your attitude. I have learned as the mother of an incredible and yes, not that it matters at all, gay son. He has taught me patience for people like you that speak from a point of ignorance. I truly hope that one day you will get it.

  23. Siniera permalink
    April 1, 2011 1:16 am

    Well I see this as just another case of someone not understanding something and therefor it makes them uncomfortable so they feel they can use their power to “end it” You know what? Gay straight Alliance is an equal rights group. There are adult and teen gay straight alliances all over. Not a group “to flaunt their sexuality” or “get sexed up” Seriously do research, get your head out of your butt, and evolve into a decent human being. The group is to find ways to make people aware of the bullying done, and try to end it. They are trying to help people who don’t understand, to understand. GSAs all over are trying to make equal rights. Tell me now would you have an issue if was an all African-American group? NO you wouldn’t because you’ve evolved enough to know it is a socially accepted thing therefore it would be left alone. This is the same idea, a discriminated against group banning together for equality.

  24. Concerned Student permalink
    April 1, 2011 2:02 am

    Im the President of the GSA at Durfee High School, and I can hear were Mr.Gordon is coming from. Yes there should not be a student based organization used for “Sexual meet ups.” Yet organizations that improve the academic and social well being of teens and young adults. Yet I dont see why “sexual meet ups” would be connected to the GLBTQ community at Tiverton High School. Gay/Straight Alliances are used for connecting and engaging in civil conversations about problems and and solutions that GLBTQ students have in there life. I would certainly protest to this because I help run a GSA. Also, we focus on more inportant issues like: suicide prevention, GLBTQ History, and Social Skills for real life situations. Im not here to bash or belittle Mr.Gordon in any way, shape, or form. But only to inform him on the facts, and inspiring work that happens in GSAs. If Mr.Gorden would like to know more he can email me at: RyanPlKennedy@Hotmail.com

    With Respect,
    Ryan P. Kennedy

    • Rep. Dan Gordon permalink
      April 2, 2011 1:34 am

      Mr. Kennedy,

      It is obvious by your remarks, that you are a true leader. I thank you for your comment that has been presented in such an eloquent and professional manner. You sir have my ear, and I welcome information from you, wish you well in your future endeavors.

      Best,
      Dan

    • Shawn Loomis permalink
      April 4, 2011 1:53 am

      See how he shows respect to the way you comment? Instead when i asked him serious questions he mocks my ability to type. I brought up the problem of suicide because of bullying to him before and all he did was mock my ability to type or ignore me completely. He bullied me by mocking my ability to type, and tried to discredit my school because of my ability to type saying quite a few times that i was “proving his point.” Only after he makes his rude comments and sees how this is blown up does he try to look good now.

  25. Mark Mello permalink
    April 1, 2011 3:00 am

    I bed Mr. Gordon would rather these kids meet off of school campus. But if he thinks that this group is bad, why isn’t he complaining about the use of Tabacco on school property, smoking in the bathrooms outside before school ect. He should change his priorities

  26. Mark Mello permalink
    April 1, 2011 3:01 am

    I meant to say bet. Not bed. My apologies I am on my mobile device

  27. Courtney-Lynne Ross of Durfee High School permalink
    April 1, 2011 3:10 am

    As the Vice President of Durfee’s GSA, I can’t believe that a public figure would come out and call a GSA a sexual group. I’m sorry but in not ONE of our meeting has sex come up in the discussion. However, dad’s beating their children, abusive families, and the struggles of these teens do come up. These meetings aren’t to address sex ! It’s a safe haven for Gay’s and Straights to sit and talk amongst friends and feel that there accepted and safe to talk about their problems ! Getting rid of the GSA would not only be against the first amendment but it’s also cruel and unusual ! I strongly believe that this support group is an extremely important part of the students lives and without it who else are they going to feel safe talking to ? Getting rid of it will only cause more problems, more bullying, and possibly even a suicide ! And if there wasn’t a need for a GSA at Tiverton High then why was one established in the first place ? I also know that you didn’t say that you would like to get rid of it, but where else are they to meet ? Alot of the students in our group come and tell their parents that there at a homework club or some other extracurricular activity. Not allowing it to take place in the school it’s almost impossible for it to take place anywhere else.

    Sincerely,
    Courtney-Lynne Lizabeth Ross
    Vice President of B.M.C Durfee High’s GSA

    • Shawn Loomis permalink
      April 4, 2011 1:57 am

      See how his ignores your comment? He ignores your comment because you make a valid point about the group and he can’t discredit it with your explanation. However if someone came on saying how he was small minded and ignorant he would make a point of commenting to make himself look like a victim. Pathetic.

  28. alli permalink
    April 1, 2011 3:43 am

    Dear Mr. Gordon,

    You say that you don’t want Tiverton High’s GSA disbanded, but they can’t meet on school grounds. That right there is SEGREGATION of LGBTQ students and their allies. Cleary the fact that you think that students expressing who they are is unacceptable means that you have little confidence in yourself and cringe to students who are comfortable with who they are. Furthermore, GSA’s do not promote sex, but rather a support system for queer (to use an umbrella term) students and their straight allies. If you were to actually ban groups that “promote sexuality” from meeting on school grounds, then you would have to ban cheerleading, school dances, pep rally’s…all of which promote sexuality as well. Apparently, students being “sexed-up” is alright with you as long as a heterocentric culture is the only one being represented. Also have you ever thought about the fact that if your students feel comfortable and SAFE at school than their academic performance would be affected positively?

  29. Carmen Aguilla permalink
    April 1, 2011 3:51 am

    Memo to the hysterical here: Americans are almost universal in their commitment to public education: that all children have access to a quality education regardless of family income; that they be prepared for happy and productive lives; and that they be taught the responsibilities and duties of citizenship. Despites decades of trying to improve our public schools, our institutions continue to fall short of expectations. Over the past 50 years we have cut the student-teacher ratio in half, quadrupled (and more) per pupil expenditures and tested innumerable reforms. Blame has been placed upon parents, students, teachers, principals and administrators. The most fundamental skill of all, literacy is dramatically down from what it was 30 years ago. In RI, many high school children have a meager grasp of reading and writing. We cannot afford to waste time squandering our children’s future on heated rhetoric and unthinking devotion to the status quo. ABC NEWS reports “performance of U.S. 15-Year-Old Students in Reading, Mathematics, and Science Literacy in an International Context,” shows the U.S. now ranks 25th in math, 17th in science, and 14th in reading out of the 34 Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) countries. Countries such as Finland, South Korea, Canada, Japan, Switzerland and New Zealand continue to outpace the U.S. in reading, science and math, all eyes are on China. In its first year to be included in the study as a non-OECD education system, Shanghai ranked first in all three categories. Hong Kong came in second in reading and science and third in math.”

    “The 2009 PISA data demonstrate the rise in the quality of education in Asia — among the top performers were Shanghai, Hong Kong, Singapore, Japan, and Korea,” said Tony Jackson, Vice President of Education at the Asia Society. “Aligning education goals to economic development, Asian nations have scoured the world for models of effective education systems, and implemented them consistently through deliberate policies and long-term investments. Any definition of a world-class education must include knowledge of Asia and the language and cultural skills to deal with Asia. It’s a two-way street: America must now learn from — and with — Asia and the world.”

    Wake up folks: don’t beat up on Ms. Puleo here… she’s onto something. Ask yourself this basic question: do you think schools in Asia are wasting time worrying about gay/straight alliance clubs or are they training future engineers and mathematicians? We have asked our schools to do much… I agree, stop the insanity.

    And stop the vitriole. Facts don’t lie… how many engineers has Tiverton High School graduated in the past ten years? Not enough,
    I guarantee it.

  30. Het Nassau permalink
    April 1, 2011 9:50 am

    Ok, I have to be careful here. This is obviously a subject that is inflaming people. I have no particular preference towards gay, bi or straight people. To me, they are PEOPLE first. What they do behind closed doors is entirely their affair. For too many years gay and bisexual people were discriminated against, bullied, attacked and their lives made a misery. In the UK, although homophobia can still raise its ugly head, generally speaking people have no problems with sexual identity any longer. I have gay friends, my daughter is bi sexual and I have transgender friends too. I applaud their courage and can learn a lot from their outlook in life. Gay pride marches in the UK tend to be colourful, fun, crowded and peaceful events.

    The rest of the world needs to catch up and treat all humans with respect and compassion and to be tolerant of others’ views.

    Bearing that in mind – tolerance i mean – I would like to say this:-
    From what I can see of Dan Gordon’s comment he seems to be concerned that people will pay more attention to their sexual problems than they will to their learning. This is a valid point. I know in the US it is common for pupils to have love interests and it is fast becoming that way in UK schools too. Sex education has been rammed down my kids’ throats from about the age of 7 – leading to an enormous buildup once hormones kick in and adolescence starts. Often these pupils find themselves having to deal with adult sexual problems while their brains are still developing from childhood. As a parent, I can find it very frustrating that my children have spent time and energy discussing who did what with who and how they feel about someone rather than doing research on their subjects to get the best result. So I have to say I can understand an element of frustration in Mr. Gordon’s words.

    However, any move that compromises the safety of minority groups or protective structures like clubs put in place to help those kids is not good. If a group causes problems for other kids, again not good. As a public figure Mr. Gordon, maybe you should concentrate more on initiating positive strategies so that all kids, gay, straight, bisexual or transgender can get the best opportunities possible for a future as an adult. ‘Blackmailing’ an initiative by threatening to remove funding is an abuse of power and influence. It serves no one’s interests other than your own. If you are so interested in schools and our future youth do something CONSTRUCTIVE. Something POSITIVE. You will be respected and valued a lot more if you do. And understand this; knowing both sides to an argument is an opinion. Knowing only one side is a prejudice. The best politician or person of public office is the one that is humble, the one that listens, the one that admits to making mistakes and the one who learns from them.

    • Rep. Dan Gordon permalink
      April 2, 2011 1:28 am

      Dear Het,

      Yours has been the most constructive and informative comment, phone call, e-mail, or facebook posting to date. I must also mention that two Presidents of other high school GSA Clubs in Rhode Island have been very constructive in their correspondence.

      Thank you for not screaming, smearing, bullying, or threatening me, as the rest have. You have my ear, and I look forward to any further advice or constructive criticism you have to offer.

      Best,
      Dan

      • Shawn Loomis permalink
        April 4, 2011 1:59 am

        Should you take your own advice and just put your head down and deal with the bullying like you so quickly advised?

  31. Robert Johnson permalink
    April 2, 2011 7:32 pm

    “Thank you for not screaming, smearing, bullying, or threatening me, as the rest have. You have my ear, and I look forward to any further advice or constructive criticism you have to offer.”
    Boo Hoo.
    This must be a joke. Talk about the pot calling the kettle black.Smearing, Dan, really, you wrote the book on that. You are the biggest bully out there. Haven’t heard you scream, but saw where you called someone scum on your Facebook. Of course, you took that down.

  32. Anonymous THS Student permalink
    April 2, 2011 10:47 pm

    You are attacking my friends. I’m disgusted.
    I do not see how sports can improve test scores.
    Anime club. Dungeons and Dragons club. Film club.
    Those are merely places where students can find common ground and feel accepted.
    And yet, you choose to attack the one that is most crucial: the GSA.
    I don’t mean to attack you in return, but I’m so infuriated that I’m shaking. I have new found respect for Mr. Fezette for defending the club.
    If you want to play “hero”, try reducing the amount of smoking on school grounds or improving the nutritional quality of our cafeteria food.
    No one had an issue with the GSA until you pulled this.
    If you seriously have an problem with PDA, you should never set foot in a school again, or anywhere else, for that matter. All of your arguments can and will be combated.
    There are many more that support the club than don’t. Why can’t you see that?

  33. Robert Johnson permalink
    April 3, 2011 1:36 am

    Uh Oh. I was checking out Dan Gordon’s facebook a few hours ago. There was a link to something that looked interesting. After much searching, here it is: http://www.facebook.com/l.php?u=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.youtube.com%2Fwatch%3Fv%3DbGQawBwyfG4&h=94720. Dan Gordon made chanel 10 news! His Facebook page has gone the way of his Alliance Building Contractors website. Gone.

  34. Shawn Loomis permalink
    April 4, 2011 1:39 am

    Mr.Gordon, the schools already have something close to what the GSA has now. It is called advisory, once a week during school hours. Now the difference between this advisory and GSA is a name, both are meant to help students deal with problems. The GSA is like that only we take time out of OUR free time to go to this, and yes we meet in the library but we don’t cost the school a dime. We pay for what need (Posters, Cookies, Drinks, etc.) and we never leave a mess, matter of fact we leave the place cleaner then most students during the day. You have seen the outrage you’ve cause with your ignorant comments about the GSA being a sexual meet up, you have heard from other members and other leaders of GSA’s in other schools and must see by now that this group is in no way about sex. Why not just apologize for what you have said, not take back what you said about there being “sexual meet-ups.” Say sorry for belittling the GSA to a group thats about being “sexed-up” and acknowledge that this group is here to help people who need its help. You’ve already said that you were fine with the group (“I am not apposed for them forming a group as with anybody else as long as no ones being harmed. They have the freedom and liberty to form and congregate peacefully as anyone else does.”-from Rep. Gordon’s radio broadcast) See? Stop twisting words and just come clean with your apology.

  35. Robert Johnson permalink
    April 4, 2011 3:27 pm

    A couple of notes on Dan Gordon:
    This is from his Facebook:
    “Elect Dan Gordon to RI House of Representatives District 71 I did not, Mr. Dafoe, use that language. An evil individual craftily through spoofing or PhotoShop used my page to create a lie. Then, an irresponsible reporter ran with the story without contacting me.
    14 hours ago”.

    Bill Rapleye, “irresponsible” reporter, says in the video, “We had no luck reaching Portsmouth Representative Dan Gordon today.” Did Bill Rapleye lie about that? Rapleye didn’t contact, or Dan didn’t take the call? Now that the story is out, has Dan contacted Mr. Rapleye to do an interview?

    Watch “Dan Gordon defends his honor” on youtube.

    Talk about spin. Dan says that Rep. Edwards, “called me ignorant and prejudicial”. Rep. Edwards called Dan’s comments “ignorant and prejudicial.” There is a difference. Notice how Dan turns towards Rep. Edwards and was speaks directly to him in what I think is a very menacing way. What a bully.

  36. Tiverton Dad permalink
    April 4, 2011 3:48 pm

    Let’s bring this back around to Mr. Gordon’s original comments:

    He threatened to use his political influence as an elected official to withhold funding from Tiverton’s public schools (elementary schools as well) because of the existence of a mutual support group at the high school that he did not understand and found personally offensive.

    Mr. Gordon, if I incorrectly summarized your original post, please clarify.

  37. Caprice permalink
    April 5, 2011 1:28 am

    To whom it may concern:

    As a member of my High School’s GSA, I can assure you that the topic of sex is hardly ever broached during our meetings. Both gay and straight members are encouraged to attend in order to gain self-confidence and a sense of support, no matter what your romantic inclinations may be. The GSA does NOT support obscene or inappropriate discussion of any sort. We are not trying to say, “Oy! look at me! I’m GAY!” We are trying to promote an atmosphere of acceptance throughout the school. I’m sure the Tiverton GSA’s mission is quite similar.

    The GSA also helps to promote educational success. It provides a place to discuss problems and get guidance from fellow students and a teacher advisor. Without the GSA, some students might not have people to talk to if they have a problem; this could result in pent-up anxiety. An anxious student is not a good student.

    I hope this helps to clear up some misconceptions.

    Sincerly,

    Caprice

  38. Carmen Aguilla permalink
    April 6, 2011 6:38 am

    Schools should be for EDUCATION. THey are failing. Clubs like this are a distraction to learning. The world is not a safe place… that is a life lesson and schools cannot protect you from people who don’t like you. Reality check.

Trackbacks

  1. State Rep. Dan Gordon Threatens To Defund His Own Towns School — Because Of The Gay Kids | Providence Daily Dose
  2. Rhode Island Tip Sheet: Deliver us from the DMV « On Politics
  3. There go my people. I must find out where they are going so I can lead them « Brett Pelletier
  4. On the Day of Silence + Homophobia in High Places | the list of now

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