Education

FRC Calls on Dept. of Education to Fire Kevin Jennings

| by FRC

WASHINGTON -- Earlier this month, Family Research Council President Tony Perkins received an invitation to participate in a discussion of the Office of Safe and Drug-Free Schools (OSDFS) scheduled to take place today. Perkins declined the invitation and instead sent a letter which includes detailed recommendations and specific concerns about the office, its programs, and its leadership.

Perkins made the following comments in a letter to Education Secretary Arne Duncan:

"The drug prevention program you now administer was created by Congress to combat the illegal use of drugs. Since this was its original purpose, it should remain the principal one. Unfortunately, the life and writings of Kevin Jennings, whom you appointed as Assistant Deputy Secretary to direct OSDFS, have contradicted this Congressionally mandated message. In his memoir, Mama's Boy, Preacher's Son, he wrote several times about his own use of alcohol and marijuana as a high school and college student...

"While many people may experiment with drugs and alcohol in their youth and later come to regret it when they have reached a higher level of maturity, the light-hearted tone of these excerpts-written only three years ago-does not suggest any regret whatsoever...

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"Surely we can agree that all students deserve to attend 'safe schools' that are free of violence. Therefore, I urge you to reject initiatives such as the model legislation proposed under Mr. Jennings' leadership at GLSEN-namely, to create special categories of protection...We should extend protection to all students based on the nature of the victimizing conduct, rather than the characteristics of the victim.

"Unfortunately, Mr. Jennings' own behavior in an incident when he was a teacher, which he has recounted on a number of occasions, draws into sharp question his willingness and ability to fulfill [these] recommendations. By his own (conflicting) accounts, it appears that when he met with a male student (aged 15 or 16) who admitted to finding a same-sex sexual partner in the bus station in Boston, Mr. Jennings'only advice to him was, 'I hope you knew to use a condom.'

"...However, for America to have confidence in his commitment to the 'safety' of our children, it is vital for him to enumerate in greater detail what he should have done...

"Unless Mr. Jennings is willing to admit that he should have taken most or all of the steps listed...I would submit that he is unfit to protect the 'safety' of American school children, and he should resign or you should remove him from office."

To read the full letter, click here.