Appreciation Week begins next week for teachers atÂ Lenoir City High School inÂ Lenoir City, Tennessee but one teacher will be more concerned with getting a pink slip — or a jail cell — than a red apple. Journalism teacherÂ James Yoakley is under attack by Tennessee school board memberÂ Van Shaver for an article titled,Â “It’s OK to be Gay,” which was written by a student and published in the school’s yearbook.
Lenoir City High SchoolÂ became infamous earlier this yearÂ after Krystal Myers,Â a student and the editor of the school paper, wrote a detailed op-ed in a local newspaper, saying, “I feel that my rights as an atheist are severely limited when compared to other students who are Christians.” The school had refused to publish the Myers op-ed in the school’s newspaper.
“In this twisted world we live in, some may believe It’s OK to be gay but it’s darn sure not OK for teachers to be promoting homosexuality in our high schools,”Â Shaver wrote in a blog post, “It’s Not OK,” on his personal blog, in which he claims the article is “promoting a gay life style.”
Below is the page in this year’s Lenoir City High School year book promoting a gay life style. I do not know the young man featured in the article nor do I even know if he is a student. But I do know this article could not have made it into the year book without a teacher approving it.
Mr. Yoakley is also the teacher who a couple of years ago refused to allow the two students Christian based article to run in the Panther Press. So apparently, Mr. Yoakley would discourage Christian values yet promote atheism and homosexuality.
Some might think I’m intolerant toward homosexuals but that would be wrong. If an individual wants to be a homosexual, that’s their own decision and they will have to live with the consequences of that decision. What I am intolerant of is an adult, a teacher no less, inflicting their personal beliefs and sexual orientation decisions on impressionable students.
If in fact it was Mr. Yoakley or any other teacher who allowed this article to be published in the year book, they should be dismissed from the school immediately. If it is found or known that Mr. Yoakley or any other teacher at any time has had any conversations or discussions with this student or any other student about their sexual orientation, sexual activities or anything about their private lives prior to those students being of legal age, those teachers should be charged with child sex abuse by an authority figure and arrested.
I and I know many other parents and members of our community expect a full and open investigation by school administrators and law enforcement into this issue and to hold accountable any and all those who had a hand in this despicable act.
Apparently, members of school boards in Tennessee aren’t given any boundaries or lessons or training on basic American law — like separation of church and state — which Shaver’s comments attest — and which explain why Krystal Myers’ op-ed was censored from publication.
On his personal blog, Shaver also posted nine emails, apparently written by current and former students of Lenoir City High School, which he calls “evidence” ofÂ “how important it is to know who is influencing your children eight hours a day and the dangers your children face when that influence is counter to what you as parents feel is right for your children.”
In other words, Shaver posted nine emails from people associated with the school who vehemently think he’s wrong, and therefore, in Shaver’s mind, apparently, they received an education from unfit teachers. But hey, we all know what it’s like “in this twisted world we live in.”
Shaver is so wrong on so many points it’s hard to know where to start.
But I’d like to ask Mr. Shaver, exactly what consequences he believes come to people who are gay? And then I’d like to ask him when he chose to be a heterosexual. And then I’d like to ask him what qualifications he has to be a school board member, what training does he have, and what medical knowledge does he have about homosexuality. Because his statements reveal a profound lack of understanding of medical science, the law, humanity, and common decency.
Frankly, the ACLU should pay a visit to Tennessee.
Writing at Patheos,Â Hemant MehtaÂ reveals:
First of all,Â Shaver is a member of a school board! THAT IS HORRIFYING! (Just to be clear, the Loudon County school board Shaver sits on doesnâ€™t control neighboring Lenoir City High School. So he doesnâ€™t actually have any authority in this case. Still, the fact that an elected school board member could be this full of animus against gay-friendly teachers should set off alarms for everybody in the community.)
Second, Yoakley had nothing to do with the article. A high school student (the editor-in-chief) assigned it, another high school student wrote it, and Yoakley simply looked it over, like any faculty sponsor would.
The forced-to-remain-anonymous student said as much:
â€œMy journalism professor never once pressured us to have certain beliefs,â€ she said.
Courtney Price, the editor of the yearbook, sent a message to Shaver â€” and he was so appalled by it, heÂ posted it on his website:
My name is Courtney Price. I am editor of the yearbook. Sir, excuse my rudeness, but you do not have your facts straight. I decided to publish Zachâ€™s story. I did not do this to cause any kind of uproar, or religion target. I am an 18 year old Southern Baptist student who is in a four year relationship with a man. I am in no way trying to plead a case for homosexuals, and taking from your stupidity, I can tell you did not read the yearbook. There are multiple stories about kids who have been bullied because of their lives (disabled kids, adopted kids, kids with tattoos, etc.) along with stories about hanging out at church. I would enjoy if you would stop your slander. Thank you.
Andy Towle atÂ Towleroad adds:
Knox NewsÂ reports that petitions are being circulatedÂ hoping to deny Mitchell the right to attend graduation, and threats are being made at the student who wrote the article:
The yearbooks were distributed Friday. By Monday, local blogs had taken up the fight both for and against the article and the yearbook’s faculty adviser, James Yoakley.
“I have received an unbelievable number of emails from parents and concerned citizens,” said Lenoir City High School Principal Steve Millsaps.
According to students, petitions were being circulated urging others to tear the page from their yearbook as a sign of protest during graduation or to deny Mitchell the right to attend the ceremony. The 17-year-old student who wrote the article said she was afraid to have her name published.
“There have been threats made starting with, ‘If I found out who wrote the story,’ ” she said.
Yoakley has been teaching at the school for 11 years, according to the paper.
ACLU, where are you?…
By the way, a review of Shaver’s blog reveals this post from last year:
Best Military Quote:
“When I joined the military it was illegal to be homosexual,
then itÂ became optional, and now it’s legal.
I’m getting out before Obama and the
Democrats make it mandatory.”
Sgt Harry Berres, USMC
Shaver, apparently a radical right wing Tea Party extremist, in 2010 on his blog wrote, “Barrack Hussein Obama is determined to turn America into a Marxist-Socialist society.”
In 2008, Shaver also wrote:
Day Of Silence is sponsored by an activist homosexual group, theÂ Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education NetworkÂ (GLSEN). GLSEN leads the students to believe that every person who identifies as a homosexual, bisexual or cross-dresser is a victim of ongoing, unrelenting harassment and hate. Students are taught that homosexuality is a worthy lifestyle, homosexuality has few or no risks, and individuals are born homosexual and cannot change. Those who oppose such teaching are characterized as ignorant and hateful bigots.
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‘They’re Coming After Our Children’: Watch Casey DeSantis’ Dystopian Fear-Mongering Ad
The imagery is dark. The words are defiant. The message is dystopian. An ad for Republican Governor Ron DeSantis‘s presidential campaign, currently “in turmoil,” features the First Lady of Florida, Casey DeSantis, issuing a warning: “They’re coming after our children.”
The ad never quite says who is coming after the kids, but the video (below) includes clips of President Joe Biden and former Dr. Anthony Fauci, the face of the war on COVID and the now-retired Director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases.
While it was first released over the summer, it received little attention. Casey DeSantis on Friday reposted her “Mamas for DeSantis” ad. It comes in the wake of the alleged ménage à trois sex scandal involving an unnamed woman who has accused Christian Ziegler, the head of the Florida Republican Party of rape. His wife, Moms for Liberty co-founder Bridget Ziegler, who reportedly confirmed the consensual three-way sexual relationship, is Casey DeSantis’ “best friend,” according to Florida Politics publisher Peter Schorsch.
“In America, we’ve witnessed a lot and put up with enough,” Casey DeSantis says in a voiceover at the start of the two-and-a-half minute video.
“We’ve been forced into silence,” she charges, amid a baby crying and a COVID mask being put over a child’s face. “Into compliance.”
“Told that we must ‘trust the science,'” DeSantis continues, in a direct attack on Dr. Fauci, showing him speaking during the height of COVID in the Trump administration.
And in an attack on LGBTQ children and adults, she says: “We’ve been told that we must deny truth. Back down. And look the other way.”
“Enough is enough. When you come after our kids, we fight back. Because there’s nothing we won’t do to protect our children,” she says.
Seconds later, the video shows President Joe Biden declaring, “Our nation’s children are all our children.”
“We will not allow you to exploit their innocence to advance your agenda. We are no longer silent,” Casey DeSantis declares. “We are united. We have finally found our fighter.”
Casey DeSantis praises her husband, saying he will do for America what he did for Florida: “Schools: opened. Parents’ rights: defended. School choice: universal. Critical race theory: prohibited. DEI: stopped. Child mutilation: illegal. Girls’ sports: saved. Communities: protected. Our economy: growing. And freedom: guaranteed.”
In the section where President Biden says, “Our nation’s children are all our children,” Casey DeSantis doesn’t explain that those words came from a White House celebration honoring Teachers of The Year from across the country. The President was praising an Oklahoma Teacher of the Year whose district includes students who speak 62 different languages, so she had to work hard to ensure everyone felt included. She had said, “There’s no such thing as someone else’s child.”
Nor did DeSantis acknowledge that Governor DeSantis’ performance for children has been poor.
The Florida Policy Institute, which says it is “an independent, non-partisan, and non-profit organization,” in September warned “368,728 youth aged 20 and younger” have been cut from Medicaid. “Because Florida has not expanded Medicaid, the vast majority of those losing insurance during this time have been children, parents, young adults, and new mothers.”
Some critics on social media blasted Casey DeSantis’ remarks.
“Republicans refused to extend child tax credits that pulled 2 million children out of poverty. They resist the idea of free school lunches. Yet they come up with bullshit about their opponents ‘coming after our children.’ Yes, we’re coming after them, to give them a sandwich,” wrote former Chicago Tribune editor Mark Jacob.
Watch the Casey DeSantis video below or at this link.
The stakes are high. They’re coming after our children.
We need a fighter who will defend the innocence of our children and protect the rights of parents.
He showed it on the debate stage, and he’s the only one with the proven track record to back it up. pic.twitter.com/3Gyezc18L8
— Casey DeSantis (@CaseyDeSantis) December 8, 2023
‘Significant and Imminent Threat’: Trump Gag Order Largely Upheld by Appeals Court
A Washington, D.C. federal appeals court Friday afternoon largely upheld and reinstated U.S. District Judge Tanya Chutkan’s very narrow and limited gag order on Donald Trump for his trial on charges related to his alleged efforts to subvert the U.S. Constitution and overturn the results of the 2020 election.
“We agree with the district court that some aspects of Mr. Trump’s public statements pose a significant and imminent threat to the fair and orderly adjudication of the ongoing criminal proceeding, warranting a speech-constraining protective order,” reads Judge Patricia Millett unanimous three-judge panel ruling, posted by Lawfare’s Anna Bower. “The district court’s order, however, sweeps in more protected speech than is necessary. For that reason, we affirm the district court’s order in part and vacate it in part.”
The judges upheld the gag order “to the extent it prohibits all parties and their counsel from making or directing others to make public statements about known or reasonably foreseeable witnesses concerning their potential participation in the investigation or in this criminal proceeding.”
They also upheld the gag order “to the extent it prohibits all parties and their counsel from making or directing others to make public statements about (1) counsel in the case other than the Special Counsel, (2) members of the court’s staff and counsel’s staffs, or (3) the family members of any counsel or staff member—if those statements are made with the intent to materially interfere with, or to cause others to materially interfere with, counsel’s or staff’s work in this criminal case, or with the knowledge that such interference is highly likely to result.”
The judges removed from the gag order “speech beyond those specified categories.”
“We do not allow such an order lightly,” the judges added. “But Mr. Trump is also an indicted criminal defendant, and he must stand trial in a courtroom under the same procedures that govern all other criminal defendants.”
Bower explains, “Chutkan’s order would have prohibited statements that refer to special counsel Jack Smith as a ‘thug’ or ‘deranged.’ But the appeals court order does not apply to speech about the special counsel himself.”
CBS News congressional correspondent Scott MacFarlane sums up the ruling: “Much of the gag order in Donald Trump’s 2020 election conspiracy criminal case in DC is *REINSTATED*.”
Peter Doocy Admits No ‘Concrete Evidence Joe Biden Personally Profited’ From Hunter’s Business
In a report focused on House Republicans’ plan to vote on a resolution to open an official impeachment inquiry of President Joe Biden, Fox News White House correspondent Peter Doocy told viewers there is no evidence of impeachable offenses.
“The House Oversight Committee has been at this for years, and they have so far not been able to provide any concrete evidence that Joe Biden personally profited from his son Hunter’s overseas business but they are going to try again with this impeachment inquiry set to start next week,” Doocy, who often criticizes President Biden in White House press briefings, said Friday on Fox News Business.
Other news outlets this week have also stressed Republicans have come up empty-handed.
The right-leaning news outlet The Hill, reporting on the resolution Thursday, noted Republicans’ current investigation “has struggled to connect President Biden to the activities of his son, and they’ve failed to prove their most salacious allegation — and the one that would be most key for impeachment: that the president accepted a bribe.”
One of the main pillars of Republicans’ allegations against President Biden, the “narrative that President Biden pushed Ukraine to fire its prosecutor to help his son, who served on the board of Ukrainian energy company Burimsa, has largely been refuted,” The Hill also reported.
“Republicans have engaged in wide-ranging inquiry into Mr. Biden for months,” The New York Times reported Tuesday, “hunting for evidence to back up their allegations that he corruptly profited from his family members’ overseas business dealings and accepted bribes. To date, they have failed to deliver compelling evidence to back up their boldest claims.”
Watch Doocy below or at this link.
Peter Doocy: “The House Oversight Committee has been at this for years, and they have so far not been able to provide any concrete evidence that Joe Biden personally profited from his son Hunter’s overseas business.” pic.twitter.com/a5N44hIRrQ
— Aaron Rupar (@atrupar) December 8, 2023
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