Gender and the Law Prof Blog

Editor: Tracy A. Thomas
University of Akron School of Law

Monday, March 10, 2014

Hawai'i's Tolerance Program for Teachers, Now Challenged

The Southern Poverty Law Center will pay teachers $250 to attend a tolerance program, and the Hawai'i legislature has approved the training.  The program--called Teaching Tolerance--includes promoting tolerance for same-sex marriage.  Republican state representative Bob McDermott objects to the school board supporting Teaching Tolerance. Here's why: 

“I want political agendas, right or left, out of the schools,” McDermott said. “I want the teachers to spend the precious little time they have with students educating them in the basics. English teacher should focus on English, things like sentence structure, and not some mainlander’s political viewpoint of social justice. Make no mistake, this program only presents one side of the story.”

The “agenda” of the program concerns McDermott, because he said there’s obvious “social engineering,” including a “disproportionate focus on normalizing homosexuality,” while also trying to discredit Christian beliefs.

“The theme of this curriculum is so called ‘anti-bias’ unless, of course, you are a person of faith. One example is the following: ‘Patrick is being raised in a very strict and exclusionary fundamentalist Christian home…’. If that is not biased I do not know what is,” McDemott said.

While I support the right of gay couples very much, I think McDermott's view, if accurate, deserves consideration; tolerance being such a vexed and paradoxical notion,....

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