The Engage Family Blog

Official Blog of The Family Policy Council of West Virginia

Posts Tagged ‘Kanawha County Board of Education

The Charleston Gazette: Debate erupts over Kanawha schools diversity policy 

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A story this morning from Davin White of the Charleston Gazette on the Kanawha County Board of Education’s (KCBOE) press to add “sexual orientation” to its cultural diversity policy raises questions about the objective counsel the KCBOE may be receiving.

White’s piece wonders why the KCBOE is being so hasty in its press this agenda, when hundreds of Kanawha County citizens have lodged their opposition by phone, email, and internet message board.

White’s story, which can be read in its entirety here, begins thusly:

In two meetings, Kanawha County school board members spent very few minutes talking about whether to include sexual orientation as part of the countys cultural diversity policy.

Fast forward a few weeks, and proposed changes generated about 200 comments on the school boards Web site and led to a flood of e-mails for the legal department.

School board members plan to vote on the policy at a meeting July 16.

Jeremiah Dys, president of the Family Policy Council of West Virginia, said the proposed policy is “going to be penalizing teachers for doing nothing other than standing by their beliefs.”

As the story continues, White quotes KCBOE attorney Jim Withrow as he continues to obfuscate about this unconstitutional policy.  After White outlines how a high school senior seems to have been drafted into action as the face of the political agenda of a few teachers, White quotes Withrow as saying:

“Clayton Stover’s comments to the board may have accelerated our plans….but I was already drafting changes,” Withrow said.

Wait, what was that?  Did he just say, “our plans?”

Whose plans, precisely, Mr. Withrow?  Are you suggesting that the KCBOE, yourself and Dr. Duerring (School Superintendent), or you and some other unknown group of persons had already formulated this plan and where merely waiting until the political landscape was ripe to launch it on Kanawha County?

In addition to not knowing an unconstitutional policy when he sees one, it appears that Mr. Withrow has joined the ranks of political activist for the KCBOE.  Can Mr. Withrow be complicit in the promotion of such a political agenda and yet be expected to provide the objective counsel for which he was hired?

This week, The Family Policy Council of West Virginia will send yet another letter to the members of the KCBOE offering to provide – at our expense – experts capable of explaining in detail the precise pitfalls of this policy.  To date, despite our repeated emails, phone calls, and letters to the KCBOE (including Mr. Withrow), we have received absolutely no response.  Nothing.  Not a phone call, email, or letter.

This leads us to conclude that the KCBOE is content to pass a policy that is in the best interests of politicians over and against that of the students they are sworn to protect.

At a minimum, we call upon the members of the KCBOE to table this policy until they conduct a thorough investigation into the potential problems and pitfalls it presents.

No teacher should be penalized or discriminated against – or have their paycheck held hostage – for merely abiding by their religious convictions.  The classroom is not the proper place for politics.  We encourage the KCBOE to spend more time improving reading, writing, and arithmetic rather than promoting behavior that is unhealthy, unwise, and unravels the moral fabric of the family.

Written by Jeremy Dys

July 6, 2009 at 1:54 pm

Who’s Misconceived?

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By now, most of you know of our opposition to the Kanawha County Board of Education’s press to add “sexual orientation” to the policy manual for Kanawha County Schools.  The policy would hold the paychecks of teachers hostage in exchange for indoctrination on “sexual orientation.”  Teachers shouldn’t be penalized for simply abiding by their beliefs.

In today’s Daily Mail, Ry Rivard provides a balanced article on the issue.  In the article, he writes the following:

School system attorney Jim Withrow said there appears to be a misconception of what the policy does.

“It does not encourage, support or otherwise put forward an alternative lifestyle or encourage other types of sexual orientation,” Withrow said. “All it does is say and make a point of emphasis that we are not going to discriminate against and we’re going to protect people from harassment and discrimination and other maltreatment that may result from their sexual orientation.”

via Charleston Daily Mail – West Virginia News and Sports – Kanawha County – Diversity policy raises hackles .

Indeed, Mr. Withrow, there appears to be a misunderstanding, but it is not with us.

Many of you who have emailed members of the Kanawha County Board of Education have told me that some of the members are giving you a similar line.  They are explaining that you are “misunderstanding” or promoting a “misconception” of the policy’s intent.

We ask you to write them back and remind them that – if just for one question in an online training manual – teachers should not be forced to violate their conscience to promote a political agenda.  The KCBOE should stick to promoting reading, writing, and arithmetic, not promoting behavior that is unwise, unhealthy, and unravels the moral fabric of the family.

BUT, to be very clear, we quote from a GLSEN (Gay, Lesbian, Straight Education Network) online publication called, “Four Steps Schools Can Take to Address Anti-LGBT Bullying and Harassment.”  Here are the four steps that the leading education arm of the radical homosexual agenda is promoting nationwide:

  1. Adopt a comprehensive anti-bullying policy that enumerates categories such as race, gender, ethnicity, religion, sexual orientation and gender expression/identity.
  2. Require staff trainings to enable school staff to identify and address anti-LGBT name-calling, bullying and harassment effectively and in a timely manner.
  3. Support student efforts to address anti-LGBT bullying and harassment on campus, such as the formation of a Gay-Straight Alliance or participation in events such as the National Day of Silence and Ally Week.
  4. Institute age-appropriate, inclusive curricula to help students understand and respect within the school community and society as a whole.


If you have been following this story, you will recall that this proposal began as an “anti-bullying” provision.  That’s step #1 above.  But, it soon morphed into a proposal to “train” staff to be sensitive to issues of “sexual orientation” (which, by the way, is yet to be defined).  That would be step #2 above.

What we can expect going forward is a press for Step #3, except that I would wager several Gay-Straight Alliance clubs have already been formed in the Kanawha County School system.  And, of course, the overall goal of step #4: “inclusive curricula” (like this one from California or this one from Massachusetts) for ALL ages of children.  Yep, that means teaching homosexual, bisexual, or transgendered behavior as normal, acceptable, and something to be encouraged for  ALL children from K-5 to 12th grade.

Mr. Withrow and the entire Board of Education are promoting a policy that places the best interests of politicians (see Del. Carrie Webster’s (D-Kanawha) letter in support of this policy here) over and above the best interests of students.  For whatever reason, they press this agenda while calling the taxpayers of Kanawha county “misconceived” in their understanding of what this proposal will lead to: teaching of behavior that goes against what is being taught in most homes in the Kanawha Valley.

Even worse, today’s Daily Mail article suggests that training on “sexual orientation” is necessary because state and federal laws on hate crimes requires it.  However, no provision in either state or federal law includes “sexual orientation” as a component of hate crimes.

I invite you to visit to read more and find the email addresses for Mr. Withrow and the entire Kanawha County Board of Education.

Share this information with them.  Let them know that the only misconception is their own.

Written by Jeremy Dys

June 29, 2009 at 1:37 pm

FPCWV: “Cultural Diversity” Proposal Undermines Parents, Rights of Conscience

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CHARLESTON, W.Va. –  The Family Policy Council of West Virginia called on the Kanawha County Board of Education Tuesday to withdraw a proposed addition of “sexual orientation” to its “cultural diversity” policies.  The proposal, which is presently in the public comment stage, would mandate that “all persons employed by Kanawha County Schools” attend orientation on “cultural diversity” and “human relations” as part of instruction on “sexual orientation.”

“Individuals who object to the promotion of homosexual behavior to impressionable children shouldn’t be penalized for those beliefs,” said Jeremy Dys, president and general counsel of the Family Policy of West Virginia.  “The Board of Education should be concentrating on improving reading, writing, and arithmetic instead of promoting behavior that is unhealthy, unwise, and undermines the right of parents to direct the moral upbringing of their children.”

The policy change would result in the promotion of homosexual behavior in district schools, including the implementation of curriculum and policies that affirm and encourage such behavior.  In addition, according to Dys, employees who do not complete the “diversity” training could have their paychecks withheld, even though that training would violate their right of conscience.

“Forcing individuals to participate in or promote something that violates their conscience to receive a paycheck is unconstitutional,” said Dys.  “Neither the government nor an employer should make people choose between their beliefs about sexual behavior and their job.”

Dys is encouraging parents and concerned citizens to contact school board General Counsel James Withrow at 304-348-7730 or to politely express opposition to the proposal.  The deadline for public comment is July 1.

More information on the proposal is available at

The Family Policy Council of West Virginia advocates for policies that embrace the sanctity of human life, enrich marriage, and safeguard religious freedom.  Advancing, defending, and equipping West Virginia’s families on the web at

Written by Jeremy Dys

June 24, 2009 at 6:31 pm