Monday, April 16, 2012

Gay groups advocate censoring ex-gay message

Gay rights group to distribute flyers in Montgomery County schools

Published : Thursday, 12 Apr 2012, 11:51 PM EDT Audrey Barnes / @AudreyBarnestv FOX 5 Reporter/myfoxdc

WASHINGTON - Montgomery County Public Schools officials are reconsidering its flyer policy after students are inundated with leaflets from several groups on both sides of the gay issue.

Students in all 25 Montgomery County high schools will be getting flyers this week from the group, Parents Families and Friends of Lesbians and Gays, also known as PFLAG.

"Our message is if you're gay, you're alright," Advocacy Chair David Fishback says. "And any group that's telling you can change is not telling you the truth."

The PFLAG flyer distribution is to counter the message from the group PFOX, which stands for Parents and Friends of Ex-gays and Gays. PFOX delivered thousands of flyers to students at seven Montgomery County high schools in February.

"We're trying to present the reality that people who experience same sex attractions do not have to be locked into a gay identity their entire life," says Peter Sprigg of PFOX. "They can make a choice about what sort of life the want to pursue."

The response to the PFOX flyers was swift. Some parents complained it was anti-gay, and Superintendent Joshua Starr called them deplorable.

Some parents don't think schools are the place for that type of discussion.

"It's the responsibility of the parents towards their own kids, no one else's," says Rose Whitaker.

Mike Stoll, who has two daughters in high school, says the flyers provide a teaching moment.

"I'm fine with it because it opens the door to discussion about the issue," Stoll says.

After numerous complaints from students and parents, Montgomery County Public School officials say they will review the policy that allows any non-profit to send home leaflets to students at certain times of the year.

"The board of education's policy committee is considering changes to this policy, which will be brought before the whole board on April 30," spokesperson Dana Tofig says. "The changes will be posted for public comment before any final decision is made."

Opponents of the flyer policy are hoping to change it before the new school year.

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