Public funds for traumatizing gay teens

Rolling Stone has a heartbreaking article that looks at private religious schools that tramautize gay teens.

Young LGBTQs, struggling with the sexuality or knowing full well that they're gay and sent to strict religious schools by extremist religious parents, face abuse and harrassment.

Many Christian schools in Georgia and across the nation have similar policies, sometimes explicitly written into a pledge that students or their parents must sign when they enroll. At certain schools, a student need not even engage in acts of sexual "impurity"; simply identifying as gay or acting in support of a gay friend can lead to dismissal.

And state tax dollars pay for it.

Georgia, along with 11 other states (Arizona, Pennsylvania, Florida, Rhode Island, Iowa, Indiana, Oklahoma, Virginia, New Hampshire, Louisiana and, most recently, Alabama), has adopted laws – sometimes referred to as "neovouchers" – to grant dollar-for-dollar tax credits to people who donate money to provide children with scholarships to private schools. In theory, such a plan has the potential to help a lot of students, but in practice, especially in deeply religious places like Georgia, it has also meant that millions of dollars have been redirected from public funds to privately run Student Scholarship Organizations, which can then funnel the money to schools with strict anti-gay policies. Because the money goes straight to the SSO and never actually enters the public coffers, it's free and clear of being considered a "public fund" – allowing church and state to technically be kept separate. All of which may sound fishy, but consider this: It's fully legal because the laws make it so. And, as the school-choice movement gains ground, it's certain that other states will soon pass similar legislation.

Keep an eye on the NC legislature in the next session. All the talk about school "choice" could wind up with a proposal for this type of funding scheme, taking much-needed monies away from public schools and funding private religious schools that teach this dangerous claptrap:

The Accelerated Christian Education's 11th-grade science materials include a section on "Man's Corruptions," in which students are taught, "In Old Testament times, God commanded that homosexuals be put to death. Since God never commanded death for normal or acceptable actions, it is unreasonable to say that homosexuality is normal." A biology textbook published by the Bob Jones University Press begins a section on homosexuality by quoting Romans and goes on to say that "God calls homosexuality a sin and condemns those who engage in it." Such textbooks, and others with a similar stance on homosexuality, are part of the core curriculum in Georgia's Christian schools.

If some religious nutcase wants to send their kid to a private school and have them educated to 16th century standards and use their own money to do it, fine. It's not the role of public education, preparing young people to be informed and productive citizens, to pay for bigotry.

Comments

We may already be there

With the torrent of new charter school applications, there are bound to be some that are more than just "loosely associated" with churches. And with the removal of the requirement for certified teachers, there's no telling what type of person will be standing in front of those classes.

Front-paged, in the hope

that this can be headed off at the pass before it becomes a North Carolina problem.

Thank you for sharing this

I fear for what our state will do, and am not sure how to stop it's persecution of the LGBT community, especially the youth who are the most vulnerable. They've pushed through amendment 1. They've struck down a housing policy that would create a safe environment of LGBT students at UNC. Putting a gay-basher on the UNC TV board. They are resistant to policies that would create protections like employment non-discrimination. And they seem to want to shift public funds towards institutions that have discriminatory views towards LGBT youth.