Saturday, November 17, 2007

It's Letter to the Editor Time

I read both of York's newspapers every day (I only subscribe to the AM paper, but I don't think the evening newspaper delivery guy realizes that) and I frequently read articles that piss me off, partly because I'm a pissy, irritable bitch, and partly because a lot of stupid things go on in York on a daily basis. I frequently consider writing letters to the editor, but I have only done so once...until today. York is my home and I love it, but it's a hotbed of ignorance and bigotry that I have to overlook in order to love it. If you have access to "Dueling Banjos," I would recommend playing it while you read this article.

The article (edited for length; full text can be found here):

Eastern York School District's board meeting was standing-room only Thursday night after more than two dozen people turned out to protest a diversity assembly held last week at the high school.

Kathy Freeland, who has a 15-year-old and a 16-year-old in the district, said she received no notification of such an assembly and was "disturbed" to learn that her children were addressed by a "gay man, an African-American woman and a Jew."

"I send my children to school to be taught academics," said Freeland. "I'll handle the morals."


Offended by speaker: Many at the Thursday's board meeting said they were personally offended by the fact that the homosexual man who spoke stated that he was "born gay and did not choose to be gay."

Laurie Lehman, who has a 10th-grade student, said, "This is not what I'm teaching my children. We have a biblical-based belief system" and said she felt that proper notification should have been given to parents about the assembly and the follow-up meeting. "I want to be notified if a speaker is highly controversial."


The Smiths said they felt that both sides of the story should have been represented. "Why not also include someone who used to be gay but now no longer is, or a Jewish person who has since converted to Christianity?" Laurie Lehman asked.

Trying for dialogue: Cathy Bollinger, diversity director at the York County Jewish Community Center and a facilitator of the assembly, also addressed the board.

"The goal of this assembly was to break down walls and hold a dialogue," said Bollinger. "It was never intended to hurt anyone. Yes, a York College man said he was born gay. He believes this to be true, that doesn't mean you have to believe it."


Assistant superintendent Rita Becker said the intent of the assembly was to "erase bias and bigotry among our students and to teach that all humans are worthy of value."


Becker also said the district would be failing if it didn't prepare its students for a diverse and ever-changing world.

"Personal bias can lead to hatred," she said. "We need to create an environment where all students feel safe and welcome."

My letter:

I read the article in Friday's newspaper about the uproar over the diversity assembly at Eastern York High School and I was appalled—appalled, I say!--by the fact that Eastern would have the audacity to teach its students about tolerance. I can think of nothing worse than forcing innocent teenagers to be “addressed by a 'gay man, an African-American woman and a Jew.'” What's next; teaching our children that it is acceptable to speak to a Muslim or a Latino? Not only that, but apparently the homosexual man said he did not choose to be homosexual. Who is he fooling? We all know how easy life is for homosexuals in an open-minded area like York.

I do not have children, but I would be absolutely livid if I spent 15 years trying to teach my child to hate others based on their race, religion, or sexual preference, only to have those ideas obliterated from his mind by a 45-minute assembly. Not only that, but the assistant superintendent had the gall to say that all humans are worthy of value. When I teach my child about morals and values, I will most certainly warn him about that sort of propaganda; otherwise he will be running the streets thinking everyone is equal. It makes my blood boil just thinking about it. I hope the administration of Eastern York School District is duly punished for providing its students a forum to discuss tolerance and diversity; that is something for which the good citizens of York County should not stand.

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Blogger Rusty said...

OMG...did you send that?! It's perfect and awesome! York County, though, is also populated with idiots, and if you sent it and they printed that, you'll probably get some hate mail response from someone who didn't sense the sarcasm.

Why oh why do the people of York (and the world at large, if we're being honest) still act this way?!

11/17/2007 11:43 AM  
Blogger Dim said...

Best. Letter. Ever.

- D.

11/17/2007 11:50 AM  
Blogger Jenny G said...

Yeah, I sent it. I welcome the hate mail because they'll be making asses out of themselves, not me.

Thanks, Dim. That means a lot coming from you since your blog never fails to make me laugh out loud.

11/17/2007 10:15 PM  
Blogger Hotwire said...

i now count you among my heroes.

11/17/2007 10:16 PM  
Blogger Funky Smith said...

Unbelievable. Completely unbelievable!

11/18/2007 1:19 AM  
Blogger B. said...

As I was reading your letter I was thinking the same thing Rusty was. A lot of people are not going to get it. It would be the same if I wrote something sarcastic to the newspaper where I grew up. :)

11/18/2007 4:16 PM  
Blogger March to the Sea said...

well done..did you sign it like

Pissed in York

That would have ruled.

11/19/2007 9:50 AM  
Blogger Jenny G said...

Thanks, Hot.

Funky: The Eastern York SD is not in a very progressive area of York, as you can probably tell.

b: They probably won't publish my letter since it might be misconstrued. They haven't called me yet to confirm I wrote the letter. But if they do, I'll keep you updated on any hate mail I get because...

March: You have to sign your real name.

11/19/2007 5:08 PM  
Blogger Saule Cogneur said...

Amen, Sister.

11/20/2007 1:45 AM  
Blogger March to the Sea said...

well what if your name really WAS pissed in york?

11/20/2007 9:50 AM  
Blogger Meadow said...

Good girl! OMG, it just amazes me that in 2007 there are still communities like this. WTG! I'm very proud of you!

11/25/2007 3:35 PM  

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