School Board Member Wants Firing, Arrest Of Teacher For Pro-Gay Article
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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DeSantis Kicks Off Presidential Campaign Tour With Claim Teachers Are ‘Forcing’ Students to Pick Pronouns
Governor Ron DeSantis kicked off his official presidential campaign tour on Tuesday, traveling to Iowa after announcing last week he was launching a White House run. On Wednesday, the Republican bragged to GOP voters that in Florida he recently signed a bill into law banning teachers from forcing children to pick pronouns, insisting it is happening in other states.
“It is wrong for a teacher to tell a student that they may have been born in the wrong body, or that their gender is a choice,” DeSantis announced.
“We don’t allow this in the state of Florida, and we actually just signed legislation protecting students from having teachers force them to pick pronouns, which they are doing in some parts of this country, at [a] very, very young age. We’re not competing in the ‘pronoun sweepstakes.’ We’re going to have school just like school’s been, from time in memoriam [sic], we’re not going to do all this other stuff,” he declared.
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While DeSantis is insistent that teachers are forcing very young students to pick pronouns, NCRM found no news reports supporting that claim.
We did find several news reports of teachers suing for not wanting to use a child’s preferred pronoun, which are issues for the courts.
We did find one report of a teacher who allegedly insisted on calling a 9-year old girl who identifies as a girl a boy, and the parents are suing.
News12 on Long Island, New York in March reported, “the lawyer representing the girl’s family…says the student was bullied and had suicidal feelings.”
“She says the teacher told the student to ‘try being gay.’ The teacher is also accused of calling the girl a male name.
‘The teacher had some kind of agenda to have these students have alternate sexual preferences or gender identities they may or may not have had,'” the attorney said.
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In April, Colorado’s KRDO reported, “During the last Colorado Springs School District 11’s board meeting, officials tabled a controversial pronoun policy that would prevent educators from asking students their preferred pronouns. While the policy isn’t in effect, some teachers are concerned about how it would hinder them inside the classroom.”
Watch DeSantis below or at this link.
“We actually just signed legislation protecting students from having teachers force them to pick pronouns, which they are doing in some parts of this country… We’re not competing in the ‘pronoun sweepstakes.’”
— Gov. Ron DeSantis (R-FL) at a presidential campaign event in Iowa pic.twitter.com/vvlk5logUJ
— The Recount (@therecount) May 31, 2023
‘Will Make a Great Trial Witness’: Experts Thrilled Jack Smith Is Investigating Trump’s Firing of Election Security Expert
U.S. Dept. of Justice Special Counsel Jack Smith has subpoenaed former Trump administration staffers possibly involved in the firing of Chris Krebs, a top cybersecurity official who had published a report calling the 2020 presidential election “the most secure in American history,” just days after the election, infuriating then-President Donald Trump.
The New York Times reports the special counsel’s investigators have “been asking witnesses about the events surrounding the firing” of Krebs (photo), who was appointed by Trump to the newly-created position of Director of the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency, part of the U.S. Dept. of Homeland Security.
Krebs was fired by Trump on November 17, 2020 after tweeting that election fraud claims were bogus: “59 election security experts all agree, ‘in every case of which we are aware, these claims either have been unsubstantiated or are technically incoherent,’” according to The Washington Post.
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“Krebs’s statement amounted to a debunking of Trump’s central claim that the November election was stolen,” The Post reported at the time.
The New York Times on Wednesday reports the Special Counsel’s investigators “appear focused on Mr. Trump’s state of mind around the firing of Mr. Krebs, as well as on establishing a timeline of events leading up to the attack on the Capitol by a pro-Trump mob on Jan. 6, 2021. The latest subpoenas, issued roughly two weeks ago, went to officials in the personnel office, according to the two people familiar with the matter.”
But national security and civil liberties journalist Marcy Wheeler asserts the Special Counsel’s efforts go further.
“I think it likely erroneous to imagine that Jack Smith is getting into Chris Krebs’ firing JUST to get to Trump’s mindset,” Wheeler tweeted. “He fired Krebs for doing something his Admin had specifically bought off on. It was a necessary part of the plot.”
“So,” Wheeler adds, “1) Trump fires Krebs for saying the election was fair 2) Trump fires Esper for saying he couldn’t invoke the Insurrection Act,” referring to then-Trump Secretary of Defense Mark Esper.
“Then he sought about sowing an insurrection based on claims the election wasn’t fair,” she notes.
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MSNBC’s Steve Benen agrees, writing: “Presumably, pulling on this thread would also offer investigators additional evidence that the then-president was presented with the truth by his own team, even as he pushed his anti-election lies.”
Andrew Weissmann, the former FBI General Counsel who spent 20 years at DOJ, heralded the Special Counsel’s investigation into the firing of Krebs.
“A very natural thing for Jack to examine as part of plot to overthrow the election. AND Krebs will make a great trial witness for govt.,” Weissmann tweeted.
‘Definitely a Yellow Flag’: DeSantis Campaign Rollout Could Endanger Iowa Megachurch’s Tax Status
Ron DeSantis kicked off his campaign at an Iowa megachurch, whose pastor may have flouted tax-exempt laws.
The Florida governor said last week he would welcome a bill to defund the IRS, but two tax law experts told The Daily Beast that he may be ignoring the Johnson Act prohibiting churches and charities from “participating or intervening, directly or indirectly, in any political campaign on behalf of, or in opposition to, any candidate for public office” by holding his first official campaign event at the Eternity Church in Clive.
“It’s definitely a yellow flag,” said Lloyd Mayer, a professor at the University of Notre Dame.
Mayer and Philip Hackney, a professor at the University of Pittsburgh, agreed the IRS prohibition could kick in if Pastor Jesse Newman spoke in his official capacity at the event.
IN OTHER NEWS: Jack Smith zeroes in on Trump’s firing of his own ‘disloyal’ cybersecurity official: NYT
“As he stands for righteousness and as the vicious onslaughts of those who plan to do wicked come against him,” Newman said at the event, standing at a podium with a DeSantis campaign poster on the front. “I pray [it will] have no effect on him or his family, or his campaign or his desire to stand up for the truth.”
Newman then offered a prayer seeking the governor’s election to higher office.
“God, I pray that all that the enemy means for harm, I believe you’re going to use it for good. We pray this in the name of Jesus,” the pastor said. “Could somebody say ‘Amen’?”
Tax experts say the church could argue it was offering DeSantis the same opportunity as any candidate, and they agreed that Newman’s personal political statements are protected by the First Amendment, but a federal court found in 2000 that the Johnson Amendment — Section 501(c)(3) in the federal code — sets limits when it comes to free speech and political expression by tax-exempt organizations.
The judge in that case affirmed the IRS decision to revoke the tax-exempt status of Church at Pierce Creek of New York, which took out a newspaper ad in 1992 condemning then-presidential candidate Bill Clinton’s support for abortion and LGBTQ rights.
“The government has a compelling interest in maintaining the integrity of the tax system and in not subsidizing partisan political activity, and Section 501(c)(3) is the least restrictive means of accomplishing that,” the court found in that case.
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