PTA: Peril for Parents?

Regina Griggs, founder of PFOX (Parents & Friends of Ex-Gays & Gays) writes:

Do the initials “PTA” bring to mind innocuous parent-teacher meetings and parent-student school projects? Think again. The national Parent Teacher Association, fondly known as PTA, is under the leadership of chief executive officer Warlene Gary. Ms. Gary previously served as the National Education Association’s human rights director and that school union’s liaison to gay interest groups.

PTA bills itself as the “largest volunteer child advocacy association in the nation.” It holds an annual convention and exhibition attended by public school teachers, students and parents. Last year’s convention theme was “diversity.” In keeping with PTA’s theme, Parents and Friends of Ex-Gays & Gays (PFOX) applied for an exhibit booth. PTA rejected our application in favor of a gay organization’s application on the grounds that the gay organization was there to “educate parents on the topic of school bullying.” PTA also allowed the gay organization to hold a workshop.

When we visited the gay organization’s exhibit booth, we encountered materials that denounced therapy for homosexuals with unwanted same sex attractions, recommended anti-ex-gay publications, essentially denied the existence of former homosexuals (so much for tolerance and diversity), and urged the Southern Baptist Convention to vote against one of its resolutions on homosexuality in public school education.

What do these exhibit materials have to do with school bullying? Despite our repeated requests, PTA has yet to explain the discrepancy between “bullying” information and anti-ex-gay materials. It seems the only ones being bullied here are former homosexuals and their supporters.

The gay workshop materials included a “Heterosexist Challenge” quiz, a “What is Heterosexual Privilege” handout on marriage, a “Learning About Sexual Diversity at School in Every Discipline” chart outlining how students in math class can make pie charts of how many gay and transgender people are visible in their textbooks, and “What is Age Appropriate” materials instructing primary school children to learn that “there aren’t any girl colors and boy colors or girl games and boy games.” How are these workshop materials related to the bullying issue, as PTA claims? Indeed, what happened to the days when the PTA was concerned with educators teaching our children how to think rather than what to think?

One of the workshop’s power point slides was entitled “Failure to Protect” and stated: “Because of their own conservative moral or religious beliefs, or ignorance of the seriousness of the problem, many teachers and administrators turn a blind eye, or even tacitly approve of, GLBT harassment and discrimination.” This seems agenda driven. The real harassment and discrimination that parents should fear is the PTA sanctioned intolerance of conservatives and faith-based families.

This year PFOX again applied for a PTA exhibit booth and was again rejected although the same gay organization was accepted. PTA refuses to answer why it rejected our bullying material, which is actual anti-bullying information to help students instead of gay activist publications opposing heterosexual ‘privileges’ and denouncing former homosexuals. Is this what our children deserve from their PTA?

National PTA, which last year received a $480,000 grant from the Department of Labor, lobbies Congress to vote against school vouchers because it opposes using tax dollars to finance vouchers for private schools. But is it any wonder that families are asking Congress to support vouchers when PTA, in representing public school interests, allows a gay activist group to exhibit at its conference while censoring other family organizations?

PTA’s actions are a prime example of why taxpayers are demanding vouchers for students to attend private schools instead of increased federal spending for public schools. Parents deserve education for their children, not indoctrination. So think again when you see the initials “PTA.”

Copyright 2006 PFOX This article may be reproduced in its entirety without alteration. Regina Griggs is Executive Director of Parents and Friends of Ex-Gays & Gays (PFOX), a non-profit organization serving families and the ex-gay community. Mrs. Griggs has been interviewed by numerous television, radio and print outlets, including TIME Magazine, the Los Angeles Times, The Washington Post, and the Washington Times.

Media contact: 703-360-2225 or

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