The American Family Association of Pennsylvania is up in arms after a national group committed to ensuring safe schools for all children invited a school principal to diversity workshop. Convinced that the Gay, Lesbian, Straight Education Network is secretly working to make Pennsylvania “similar to Massachusets,” the AFA of PA issued a press release vaguely threatening Ambridge Area Senior High School principal Alan Fritz:
“School boards and school administrators at Ambridge Area School District and beyond, need to be fully aware that it is in their best interest not to partner with homosexual organizations such as GLSEN. Pushing the acceptance of homosexuality ultimately will target the First Amendment rights of those with deeply held religious beliefs which believe that lifestyle is sinful,” Diane Gramley, president of the AFA of PA, noted.
In the press release, the AFA of PA also notes that they provided Fritz with a copy of an “anti-bullying curriculum” developed by the fervent advocate of so-called reparative therapy, Warren Throckmorton, apparently unconcerned that Throckmorton’s work to change gays and lesbians into “ex-gays” has been discredited by the likes of the American Psychological Association. Presumably, the AFA of PA hopes that Fritz will heed such sage advice as “avoid bullies and where they hang out” and “if you are in danger, RUN.”
Throckmorton’s curriculum repeatedly encourages students who are being bullied to talk to a teacher or school administrator. This, however, may be a problem for LGBT students in Ambridge Area Public Schools, some of whom are reporting a recent increase in anti-gay harassment. During a discussion of a Gay / Straight Alliance club at Ambridge Area High School in November, a school board member accused the club’s organizers of promoting a “sex club” and referred to LGBT students as “faggots.” Is it reasonable to expect LGBT students to readily report anti-gay bullying and harassment given such a vivid display of homophobia at the highest levels of school administration? Perhaps Throckmorton and the AFA of PA would prefer those students just run away.
NOTE – Dr. Throckmorton has contacted Right Wing Watch to say that he is not an advocate of “reparative” therapy. Rather, he prefers the term “reorientation” therapy. Regardless of the terminology used, no leading professional health, mental health or education organization views homosexuality as a disease and many have warned that ‘therapy’ intended to change or ‘re-orient’ a person’s sexual orientation is ineffective and potentially harmful.