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Children as Consumers — Global Issues

Fox News online, May 13, 2007

A girl and her grandparents have sued the Chicago Board of Education, allegingthat a substitute teacher showed the R-rated film "Brokeback Mountain"in class.

The lawsuit claims that Jessica Turner, 12, suffered psychological distressafter viewing the movie in her 8th grade class at Ashburn Community ElementarySchool last year.

The film, which won three Oscars, depicts two cowboys who conceal theirhomosexual affair.

Turner and her grandparents, Kenneth and LaVerne Richardson, are seeking around$500,000 in damages.

"It is very important to me that my children not be exposed to this,"said Kenneth Richardson, Turner's guardian. "The teacher knew she was notsupposed to do this."

According to the lawsuit filed Friday in Cook County Circuit Court, the videowas shown without permission from the students' parents and guardians.

The lawsuit also names Ashburn Principal Jewel Diaz and a substitute teacher,referred to as "Ms. Buford."

The substitute asked a student to shut the classroom door at the West Sideschool, saying: "What happens in Ms. Buford's class stays in Ms. Buford'sclass," according to the lawsuit.

Richardson said his granddaughter was traumatized by the movie and had toundergo psychological treatment and counseling.

In 2005, Richardson complained to school administrators about reading materialthat he said included curse words.

"This was the last straw," he said. "I feel the lawsuit wasnecessary because of the warning I had already given them on the literature theywere giving out to children to read. I told them it was against our faith."

Messages left over the weekend with CPS officials were not immediately returned.

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Tactic 1: Broaden the debate

Lamont's audience that day included gay and lesbian teachers, as well as an"adjustment counselor" and a school librarian.

Lamont gave them an "umbrella" talking point he said was developedwith the help of the National Education Association: "Addressing anti-LGBTharassment in schools creates safer and better schools for students."

Teachers were advised how to use that talking point to justify things such aspro-gay curricula and GLSEN's student clubs.

But one gay activist in the audience objected: Why do we have to give in to the"other side's" argument by putting the emphasis on "all"students? Why can't we just be up front about wanting to focus on gays andlesbian kids?

Lamont's response was revealing: Most students in GLSEN's 3,000 clubs areactually heterosexual, he said. And the majority of complaints regardinghomosexual-related harassment come from "straight" kids.
So, "use this tactic of broadening" to "every child," hesaid.

It's a smart strategy: Not only does it mask the fact that there aren't enoughgay students to warrant the immersion of entire student bodies in pro-gaypropaganda, but it also gives GLSEN convenient heterosexual student"allies" who put themselves in the role of defending perceived gay"victims."

How to respond:

As good as this tactic is, it's still possible for parents to counteract itby exposing it as a Trojan horse, said Caleb Price, a research analyst for Focuson the Family.

"Make it a fairness issue," he advised. "While it's true thatevery child needs a safe school, there's no need to create a special class ofcitizens who get more protection than others. Parents can point out thatapproximately 80 percent of school kids experience some form of bullying atschool -- so why not give attention to all children who need protection --including those who are overweight, wear glasses, etc."

. . . .

Even Brenda High, whose son committed suicide after being bullied, has opposedsafe-school policies that create special categories for homosexuals.

"The efforts to include definitions of classes of victims, also excludesother victims, making it more difficult to protect kids," shesaid.

Parents can also expose GLSEN's true agenda -- one of its student manuals, forexample, mentions getting homosexual themes "fully integrated intocurricula across a variety of subject areas and grade levels."

Tactic 2: Make it personal

Lamont also revealed that GLSEN put together focus groups of kids todetermine which messages resonated most powerfully.

The conclusion? Moms and dads have the most influence. After that, "themost effective tactic proved to be personalization" -- i.e., stories kidshear from their peers or other people who are personally affected byhomosexuality.

To illustrate the point, Lamont related what happened when researchers showedthe group a video featuring Judy Shepard, whose son, Matthew, was murdered in1998 in Wyoming.

"I'm glad I was behind glass, because I almost fell out of my chair,"Lamont said.

The very first comment from a focus group kid was, "How much did that[profanity referring to Judy Shepard] get paid?" Lamont remembered."Because to them it looked like a paid celebrity preaching to them."

But when researchers replaced the video with the "personalization"method, he said, "one of the kids even came out in the focus group."

"Wow, that's powerful," one teacher commented.

Which is why GLSEN is working tirelessly to get gay speakers into publicschools.

How to respond:

If your school invites a homosexual speaker, challenge the school to openthe forum to other perspectives, including ex-gays.

To find local ex-gay speakers, contact Exodus International.

There is solid legal backing for this approach: At least one federal court hasruled that school districts are illegally engaging in "viewpointdiscrimination" by excluding ex-gay and conservative perspectives whenaddressing homosexuality.

Tactic 3: Threaten lawsuits

"This is almost our trump card," Lamont told his audience."Make it a money issue."

When all else fails, he said, threaten a lawsuit. Warn schools they're"legally liable for not protecting young people."

"In all the cases brought, to date, the student either prevailed aftertrial or achieved a settlement," read a handout distributed at theworkshop.

How to respond:

But what GLSEN doesn't tell schools is that, rather than deflectinglawsuits, they may actually become more vulnerable to them by adopting policiesand curricula that single out gay and lesbian individuals, said Mike Johnson,senior legal counsel for the Alliance Defense Fund, a legal group based inArizona.

"Schools are better off using blanket-protection policies," he said,"that shield all students from bullying or harassment."

The dark side of sexual-orientation policies advocated by GLSEN, Johnson said,is that they often trample on the free-speech rights of students with opposingviewpoints.

"Organizations like the Alliance Defense Fund have won hundreds of freespeech cases nationwide and are willing to stand in the gap for parents,students and school officials," he said.

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Reporting to the Program Manager with clinical supervision being provided by the Clinical Lead, the Registered Psychologist will be responsible for:
• Selecting and administering age appropriate assessment methods and material to determine the needs of the child or adolescent.
• Interpreting assessment results and compiling comprehensive psychological assessment reports that address the reason for referral and include appropriate recommendations.
• Communicating results and recommendations to parents and clinicians.
• Providing consultation services to clinicians as needed.

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