Safe Schools Czar Kevin Jennings is Unsafe for Schools

The Obama Administration has a Google problem.  With each announcement of a new czar, journalists and bloggers are able to find out who these people really are and what they really believe.  As with Van Jones, the liberal media remains silent on the truth behind conservatives’ objection to “Safe Schools Czar” Kevin Jennings.

At the Human Rights Campaign dinner over the weekend, Obama pledged to stand behind his nominees.  “Nobody in America should be fired because they’re gay, despite doing a great job and meeting their responsibilities. It’s not fair. It’s not right. We’re going to put a stop to it.  And it’s for this reason that if any of my nominees are attacked, not for what they believe but for who they are, I will not waver in my support, because I will not waver in my commitment to ending discrimination in all its forms.”

Obama is accusing critics of opposing Jennings because of his sexuality, ignoring that there is a vast library of writings and Google history of Jennings promoting his own agenda to the detriment of students’ safety.

Jennings has authored several books on gays and education.  Among them, One Teacher in Ten: Gay and Lesbian Educators Tell Their Stories, Becoming Visible: A Reader in Gay and Lesbian History for High School and College Students, and Mama’s Boy, Preacher’s Son, his memoir.  His books tell a more intricate story of his view on the role of sexuality in education.  They also provide insight into why as a high school teacher he chose to encourage “Brewster,” a 15 year-old gay student to continue having sex with an older man he met in a bus station bathroom.

In Mama’s Boy, Preacher’s Son Jennings discusses his first sexual encounters in high school.  His first gay experience took place between his freshman and sophomore years and again during his junior year.  Jennings is quite candid about how painful these relationships were for him.  He was devastated by the abandonment after their encounters.  Isolation, shame and hurt feelings have nothing to do with one’s sexuality and everything to do with one’s age and maturity.  These are problems that all sexually-active teenagers experience, not just gays and lesbians.  As a teenager that had been in a similar situation, Jennings should have said more than “You know, I hope you knew to use a condom.”

Gay leftist organizations continue to bicker with critics on Brewster’s age since 16 is the age of legal consent in Massachusetts.  The issue isn’t just whether Jennings encouraged an illegal sexual relationship (which, as a school employee, he may have had a legal duty to report so that the youth could be protected), but that he most certainly encouraged an unsafe one.  In his speeches and TV appearances Jennings frequently cites suicide rates among gays and lesbians.  Considering Jennings only advised the teen on using a condom, how many suicides were due to contracting an STD?  How many were due to a failed relationship and feelings of isolation after being used solely for sexual gratification?  I suspect more fall into the later category.

In addition to his beliefs on sex, Jennings anti-American political beliefs permeate his writings.  On page 84 of his memoir, he wrote:

“I was convinced as a child of our nation’s goodness, of our moral superiority over the wicked communism. I believed that we were indeed a society where, just as we pledged every morning in school, there was "liberty and justice for all" unless — like niggers, or genuine white trash who drank Jack Daniel’s and couldn’t hold a job — you didn’t really deserve it.  By junior high I was starting to see this for the lie that it was, that American society wasn’t an even playing field…  I began to understand that we were poor because there was something wrong with our society.”

Later on in his memoir, Jennings brags about blasting a song that he describes as “anti-Reagan” to his high school students because some of them were “loyal Republicans.”  Some lyrics from the Dead Kennedy’s “Nazi Punks F—k Off” include:

You still think swastikas look cool
The real Nazis run your schools
They’re coaches, businessmen and cops
In a real Fourth Reich you’ll be the first to go

A large part of the Safe Schools Czar’s mission is protecting students from drugs and violence.  As hard as it is to be a teenager in today’s society, it must be even more confusing when President Obama’s Safe Schools Czar endorses the use of drugs and violence. 

Peter Sprigg of the Family Research Council points to several passages in Jennings’ memoir that show his tacit acceptance of drug use.  Jennings wrote, “I got stoned more often and went out to the beach at Bellows, overlooking Honolulu Harbor and the lights of the city, to drink with my buddies on Friday and Saturday nights, spending hours watching the planes take off and land at the airport, which is actually quite fascinating when you are drunk and stoned.”

Jennings also boasts about hiding his illegal alcohol and drug use from his parents.  Sprigg told “[H]e never expresses any regret about his youthful drug use.”

In One Teacher in Ten: Gay and Lesbian Educators Tell Their Stories, a collection of essays edited by Jennings, B. Michael Hunter wrote, “Many of the values I hold are alien to my students.  I am startled and often surprised at their frequently conservative and rigid remarks regarding sex, recreational drug use, sexuality, and other ‘moral’ issues.”

Is this the kind of teacher that Jennings will support as the nation’s Safe Schools Czar?

When it comes to violence in schools, Jennings reserves the blame for firearms and the anti-gay bullies who had it coming.  In the September 1998 edition of The Advocate, Jennings wrote:

“We need to own up to the fact that our culture teaches boys that being ‘a man’ is the most important thing in life, even if you have to kill someone to prove it.  Killing someone who calls you a faggot is not aberrant behavior but merely the most extreme expression of a belief that is beaten (sometimes literally) into boys at an early age in this country: Be a man — don’t be a faggot…  When boys take up guns to kill those who torment them with words like ‘faggot,’ we shouldn’t be surprised. They’re just doing what we have taught them to do.”

President Obama says he “will not waver” on his support for Jennings.  When critics speak up against Obama’s radical czar appointees, they’re called racist and homophobic.  Jennings rails against name-calling while his supporters use that same juvenile tactic against his critics.  Jennings isn’t qualified to be the Safe Schools Czar because he encourages mentally and emotionally unsafe sex and physically unsafe drug use.  He makes excuses for students who turn to violence to solve their problems.

The Safe School Czar’s priority should be safe schools, not his political agenda.  President Obama should rescind his original appointment and choose someone who is truly interested in the safety of all of America’s students and not someone like Jennings who has promoted unsafe behavior in his books, articles and, most disturbingly, his classrooms.