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Ky., too? School sued over homosexuality tolerance training

ASHLAND, Ky. (BP)–The homosexual agenda apparently has made its way to small-town America.

A federal lawsuit filed Feb. 15 alleges that middle and high school students in Boyd County Public Schools — a school district in Kentucky — are forced to participate in diversity training, are told homosexuality cannot be changed and are warned not to say otherwise. Parents are not given an opt-out option for their children, according to the lawsuit.

The lawsuit, filed by the pro-family legal group Alliance Defense Fund on behalf of three families who have children in the county, claims that the school’s policy violates the students’ free speech and religious liberty rights. The suit also alleges a constitutional due process violation because the parents have no say.

The lawsuit was filed against the Boyd County Board of Education.

“There is a specific attempt by the school to change the belief system of these students, who believe that the Bible teaches … that homosexuality can be changed,” Kevin Theriot, an attorney with the Alliance Defense Fund, told Baptist Press.

Allegedly, students are prohibited from telling homosexual students they can become heterosexual.

The school’s policy actually is the result of another lawsuit — this one brought by the liberal American Civil Liberties Union. The ACLU sued the school system when a Gay Straight Alliance club was not allowed to meet on school property. Although the school system resisted at first, in early 2004 the two sides reached a settlement, allowing the club to meet and requiring the school system to provide tolerance training for staff members as well as middle and high school students.

The largest town in Boyd County — Ashland — has some 21,000 residents, according to the 2000 census.

“Organizations like the ACLU are going after small-town America to try to attempt to spread their agenda,” Theriot said. “That’s really what this is a result of. I don’t think you can attribute any ulterior motives to the school board. I think their arm was twisted by the ACLU. I think they overreacted.”

A video is involved in the tolerance training, the lawsuit alleges. Although the video deals with several issues, the focus is on homosexuality, Theriot said.

“It makes comparisons between a homosexual individual to someone who was born with a disability and is therefore in a wheelchair — it’s something that they cannot change,” Theriot said. “The video also specifically says that if a student speaks out against homosexuality to a student who says that they’re homosexual, that that is against school policy and would be considered harassment and the student would be punished.”

The lawsuit was filed on behalf of three families — one has a student in high school, another has a student in middle school and a third has a student who will be in middle school this fall.

“Obviously, we’re not advocating that students have the right to bully someone because they’re homosexual,” Theriot said. “But they certainly have the right to express their disagreement with them and say to them that they believe homosexuality is harmful to people who practice it and harmful to society as a whole. As Christians, we have an obligation to reach out to people that we think are hurting themselves.”

A call requesting comment from the school system was not immediately returned.
For information about the national debate over same-sex “marriage,” visit http://www.bpnews.net/samesexmarriage

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  • Michael Foust