Saturday, June 19, 2004

PTA and All 

Today's Advocate headlines includes news that the Colorado Springs (where I lived for a while in my 20s) school board will be discussing a resolution that it should have a goal of promoting "stable, heterosexual, two-parent families." At least one board member, Karen Teja, objected to the inclusion of the resolution on the agenda, and speculated that it might violate state and federal antidiscrimination laws. The author of the resolution, Willie Breazell, defends the goal as important to education:

Breazell said Thursday he believes families are better off if parents stay together. "The single-parent household is at a tremendous disadvantage in our society," he said. "You need someone available for PTA meetings and all."

Apparently Breazell can't visualize that there are two parents in a gay couple, or that for many single parent families there are much greater concerns than whether or not that parent will be able to make it to the PTA. Or that in these single parent families, the parent often does make it to the meeting, just like that parent manages the rest of the requirements of daily living.

Well, today's RockyMountainNews reports that Mr. Breazell has withdrawn the resolution, because it was "drawing too much heat." He still claims, however, that he did not mean to insult gay or single parents, but that:

His intent, he said, was to state that students from single-parent families seem at a disadvantage, and the board's goal should be to encourage a family environment beneficial to its students.

"There's an attitude in the district that if you come from a single-parent family that you might not be as prepared to learn as the child from a two-parent family with a greater income, who probably had eaten breakfast that morning and had a jacket to wear," Breazell said.

Then do something to improve the resources available to students and families, help to raise the citizenry out of poverty and low-income levels, provide information about the importance of a healthy breakfast and make that meal available for students who need it, and come to terms with the fact that a gay couple is not a single parent, and their home is not a broken home. While you're at it, figure out that not all single parents are poor, not all heterosexual couples can afford to provide nutritious meals and warm jackets, and that not everyone who can afford to eat breakfast actually eats breakfast.

He did make another attempt to explain why he felt it was important to state that the goal should be heterosexual parents:

Breazell said he referred to "heterosexual parents" in his resolution because a student's attitude could be affected if he "might not want his friends to know his parents are gay."

What? I really don't see how an attempt to state an offical goal of giving married heterosexual parents the status of Most Favored Family will help out the kid who is already feeling pressure to hide his gay parents. Perhaps a resolution to embrace diversity might be more helpful toward that end.

Posted by Beth Henderson at 4:57 AM