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Critics Assail Obama's 'Safe Schools' Czar, Say He's Wrong Man for the Job
Social conservatives are up in arms about yet another White House czar. This time it's Kevin Jennings, President Obama's director of the Office of Safe and Drug Free Schools (OSDFS).
Jennings was appointed to the position largely because of his longtime record of working to end bullying and discrimination in schools. In 1990, as a teacher in Massachusetts, he founded the Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education Network (GLSEN), which now has over 40 chapters at schools nationwide. He has also published six books on gay rights and education, including one that describes his own experiences as a closeted gay student
"I got stoned more often and went out to the beach at Bellows, overlooking Honolulu Harbor and the lights of the city, to drink with my buddies on Friday and Saturday nights, spending hours watching the planes take off and land at the airport, which is actually quite fascinating when you are drunk and stoned."
Sprigg said that quote is particularly unacceptable for someone who has been named to lead America's Office of Safe and Drug Free Schools.
"It would be nice to hear from Mr. Jennings ... that he regrets the drug use he engaged in when he was in school," Sprigg said. "But in this autobiography, which Mr. Jennings wrote only recently, he never expresses any regret about his youthful drug use."
In 1997, according to a transcript put together by Brian J. Burt, managing editor of the student-run Harvard Journal of Law and Public Policy, Jennings said he hoped that promoting homosexuality in schools would be considered fine in the future.
The religious right is also alarmed by Jennings' personal views about religion. In his memoir, he wrote of his views while he was in high school:
"What had [God] done for me, other than make me feel shame and guilt? Squat. Screw you, buddy -- I don't need you around anymore, I decided.
"The Baptist Church had left me only a legacy of self-hatred, shame, and disappointment, and I wanted no more of it or its Father. The long erosion of my faith was now complete, and I, for many years, reacted violently to anyone who professed any kind of religion. Decades passed before I opened a Bible again."
Originally posted by groingrinder
People smoke weed. Lots of people smoke weed. Lots of people that you know personally smoke weed. Maybe they do not tell you because they fear your paranoia. I am tired of those who discriminate against those of us who access "the peoples pharmacy".
I have personally known all the above who smoked weed. They would not come out of the closet for fear of their jobs though. With the constant paranoia, nobody will ever truly know just how many people do smoke weed. You will only know those courageous enough to admit it. Or unlucky enough to get caught.
As the blog Good As You noted, Jennings was relaying “his frustrations as a gay teen, when his inability to ‘overcome’ his gay desires convinced him that he was detached from God.” FRC also doesn’t bother to include what Jennings writes a few sentences later: that he later returned to religion. “Decades passed before I opened a Bible again.” Jennings later went on to serve as an active member on the board of the Union Theological Seminary (UTS) in New York, the nation’s most prestigious Protestant seminary. ThinkProgress spoke with Rev. Serene Jones, President of UTS, who disputed any claims that Jennings was anti-religion: