Over the past week Rhode Island House of Representative’s district 71 rep Dan Gordon has left a trail of interviews, blog posts, and public statements explaining that the formation of a Gay-Straight Alliance for Tiverton High School justifies the de-funding of public education.
This morning Tiverton School Superintendent William Rearick responded to Dan’s neo-conservative smear the queer game to de-fund the public school system and push for charter schools. Rearick schooled Gordon on several fronts. Here is part of Rearick’s response:
I do not normally respond to idle comments that are critical of the Tiverton School Department, its students or employees. However, Mr. Gordon’s biased and ill-informed statements compel me to respond.
First, any attempt by high school students who want to form a support group that will encourage students to address social diversity is a positive thing. Unfortunately, we too frequently hear news stories about incidents involving student bullying and violence in our high schools across the country. Thankfully, the students, staff and administration at Tiverton High School have taken a proactive approach in trying to improve the learning environment throughout the school. Tiverton High School students and staff have formed numerous groups such as the Peer Helping Network, the Tiverton Prevention Coalition and Students Against Destructive Decisions (S.A.D.D.) all of which have provided support to our students which in turn has created a safe learning environment at Tiverton High School by affording students an appropriate avenue to meet and discuss concerns that they must deal with on a regular basis. The formation of the Tiverton Gay-Straight Alliance will only help to promote acceptance and diversity among our students.
Mr. Gordon’s implication that students who might attend a meeting to get “sexed up” is completely ludicrous and shows Mr. Gordon’s ignorance as to the intent of this group. It also demonstrates his personal prejudices towards individuals who are not like him. Before making his comments, maybe Mr. Gordon should have spoken with representatives from the high school regarding the intent of this group. At least Mr. Gordon would have had the “facts” as opposed to making “ignorant” and unsubstantiated claims.
I want to take this opportunity to thank Miss Martin for taking the initiative to form a support group for her fellow students. I also want to thank Mr. Peter Forrest who volunteered to serve as a mentor to Miss Martin in establishing the Gay-Straight Alliance at Tiverton High School.
Read the response in full here.
I had to share this story as it is such a stark contrast to Flour Bluff ISD Superintendent Julie Carbajal who used her position as an educational leader to gin up gay hate and conflict in her Corpus Cristi, Texas school district. As an educational leader, Superintendent Carbajal has effectively threatened her employees into silence whereas Superintendent Rearick is singing the praises of his teacher advocate and leader Mr. Peter Forrest.
Clearly Tiverton student advocate Miss Martin is getting far better treatment at the hands of school administrators than Flour Bluff’s Nikki Peet. You may recall that Superintendent Carbajal has all but painted a target on Nikki for daring to attempt to organize a gay-straight alliance in a Corpus Christi high school.
And before you get all – oh that’s Texas on me – let me remind you that R.I. is the most Catholic state in the U.S.A.
Dan wasn’t just doing the homophobe dog whistle for no reason. If Rep. Gordon wants to yank public funds for schooling and move to filter tax money into private charters – he’s got to compel his voting demographic of his dubious actions. Who could blame him for thinking anti-gay wedge politics could be just the ticket with these mostly devout people.
Actually maybe it would be a good idea for Rep. Gordon to read the consistent recent polling on American Catholics’ feelings about the gays…maybe there’s another divisive issue or minority group he could attack instead.
Then again, Dan doesn’t need me schooling him on his mediocre mastery of politics along with his questionable ethics. I’ll leave the schooling to Superintendent William Rearick this time around. He is doing a mighty fine job already.
You can find Dan Gordon at the Rhode Island House of Representatives web site. You can email him at rep-Gordon@rilin.state.ri.us
And you can reach Superintendent Rearick at The Tiverton Public Schools home page. You can email him at WRearick@Tivertonschools.org
P.S. It’s a fine Saturday morning when you wake up to find this video out of Ireland, and then read about this Superintendent in Rhode Island. Have a happy weekend.