A group of 53 Republican members of the House has sent a letter to the president asking for the removal of Kevin Jennings, the gay activist who now runs the Education Department's Office of Safe and Drug Free Schools. "It is clear that Mr. Jennings lacks the appropriate qualifications and ethical standards to serve in this capacity," the lawmakers write.
The letter was written by Rep. Steve King, who last week became the first lawmaker to call for Jennings to be fired. Among the signers of the new letter are some prominent members of the House GOP, including Republican Conference chairman Rep. Mike Pence, along with Reps. Paul Ryan, Darrell Issa, John Carter, Patrick McHenry, Spencer Bachus, Duncan Hunter, Michelle Bachmann, and 45 others.
"As the founder of the Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education Network (GLSEN), Mr. Jennings has played an integral role in promoting homosexuality and pushing a pro-homosexual agenda in America’s schools—an agenda that runs counter to the values that many parents desire to instill in their children," the lawmakers write in the letter to Obama. "There is more to safe and drug free schools than can be accomplished from the narrow view of Mr. Jennings who has, for more than 20 years, almost exclusively focused on promoting the homosexual agenda."
Jennings has come under heavy criticism from many conservatives for, among other things, his work to introduce gay themes into the nation's classrooms, including elementary schools; the foreword he wrote for a book entitled Queering Elementary Education; his lack of experience in school safety and drug issues; some of the work of the organization he founded, the Gay, Lesbian, and Straight Education Network; and his handling of an incident in 1988 in which, as a high school teacher, Jennings was approached by a sophomore boy who confided that he had become involved with an older man, and Jennings, rather than notify school authorities, simply advised the boy to use a condom.
King says he believes the new letter might influence the administration, which has so far been staunch in its defense of Jennings. "A week ago, Barney Frank was declaring me to be a bigot," King says. "Now, we have 53 who have taken a stand on this….I think the president has to listen to what I think is the core of the mainstream values of America."
Here is the full text of the letter to Obama:
Dear Mr. President,
We respectfully request that you remove Kevin Jennings, the Assistant Deputy Secretary for the Office of Safe and Drug Free Schools, from your Administration. It is clear that Mr. Jennings lacks the appropriate qualifications and ethical standards to serve in this capacity.
As the founder of the Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education Network (GLSEN), Mr. Jennings has played an integral role in promoting homosexuality and pushing a pro-homosexual agenda in America’s schools—an agenda that runs counter to the values that many parents desire to instill in their children. As evidence of this, Mr. Jennings wrote the foreword for a book titled Queering Elementary Education: Advancing the Dialogue About Sexualities and Schooling. Throughout his career, Mr. Jennings has made it his mission to establish special protections for gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgendered students to the exclusion of all other students. The totality of Mr. Jennings’ career has been to advocate for public affirmation of homosexuality. There is more to safe and drug free schools than can be accomplished from the narrow view of Mr. Jennings who has, for more than 20 years, almost exclusively focused on promoting the homosexual agenda.
Equally troubling is Mr. Jennings’ self-described history of ignoring the sexual abuse of a child. In his book, One Teacher in Ten, Mr. Jennings recounts a 15-year old student confiding in him that he had a sexual relationship with a much older man. Mr. Jennings’ only response was to ask if the underage boy used a condom. As a mandatory reporter, Mr. Jennings was required by law to report child abuse, including sex crimes. Mr. Jennings cannot serve as the “safe schools” czar when his record demonstrates a willingness to overlook the sexual abuse of a child.
As the “safe schools” czar, Mr. Jennings is also charged with ensuring our schools and students are drug free. It is clear that Mr. Jennings is unfit to serve in this capacity, as well. His own history of unrepentant drug and alcohol abuse indicates that he is of the opinion that getting drunk and high as a young person is acceptable. In his memoir, Mama’s Boy, Preacher’s Son, Mr. Jennings describes his use of illegal drugs, without expressing regret or acknowledging the devastating effects illegal drug use can have on a person’s life.
Everyone that deals with the education of the most vulnerable must be a positive role model. Our children are not blessed with the wisdom to discern and reject. Children presume the adults who educate them are approved by the larger society and their parents. Kevin Jennings cannot gain the approval of parents who want their children safe and their schools drug free. You should replace him with someone who has a record of educating children in a safe and moral environment.
Given these very serious issues with Mr. Jennings’ record, we urge you to remove him immediately.
The signers of the letter are: King; Alexander; Aderholt; Akin; Austria; Bachmann; Bachus; Bartlett; Barton; Boozman; Broun; Brown, H.; Carter; Chaffetz; Coffman; Cole; Conaway; Davis, Geoff; Fallin; Fleming; Foxx; Franks; Garret; Gingrey; Gohmert; Hunter; Issa; Jordan; Lamborn; Latta; Luetkemeyer; Marchant; McClintock; McHenry; McKeon; McMorris; Mica; Miller, J.; Myrick; Neugebauer; Olson, P.; Pence; Pitts; Posey; Rogers; Rooney; Ryan, Paul; Shuster; Smith, C.; Smith, L.; Wamp; Westmoreland; and Jones, Walter.