Underlying Message Over Coffee

Please watch this video before reading below:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iZIQN5J9M4A

YouTube clip- from CBS Sunday Morning -Fast Draw Segment August 14, 2011

So here it is. Another subtle message in this all-too-short-and-utterly-vague Sunday morning segment. During this 2 minute and 14 second clip, CBS managed to do a couple of things.

You’re informed that unemployment is high and wages are low. First of all, “low” is relative. Yes, compared to Bill Gates, my salary is “low”, however, there are plenty of people in America who are making decent money and being cautious with their money. *Cautious means thinking before spending.

Next, you’re told that the government doesn’t know how to pay its bills. Unless you’ve been living under a rock for the last 6 months, this isn’t new news. But- you are told to look at Corporate America. Apparently, corporations are piling up the cash, totalling $1.2 trillion. Unfortunately, CBS does NOT think this is a good thing. They think that the money could be spent in a better manner. Corporations, instead of holding a cushion in the bank, could:

– Pay 3 years of rent for every renter in america
-Buy every home that went into foreclosure in 2007 & 2008.
-Pay all of America’s dental bills for 10 years.
-Or give every American family $10,000. (The ones that are legal and documented, of course.)

The narrators make sure to let you know that corporations won’t be doing any of these, nor will they create jobs. Specifically, “They’ve taken note of the uncertainty, will hold on to cash. They’ll save it spend later. When they can make more money”.

CBS did this on purpose. Many people would simply watch and say, ‘Wow!” or “Can you believe that?” CBS was playing into the ‘stupid American’ stereotype. During a comical segment on government, CBS sprinkled angry fairy dust to create the ‘Shame on corporations!’ mindset. This ad was created to incite anger towards the private sector in a passive-aggressive manner.

Come on, people! Why are corporations under fire like this? Corporations are criticized for not spending enough money and not creating enough jobs. Between innovation, production and sales (depending on the type of business), PLENTY of jobs are created because of large corporations. As for the spending issue, we are angry because they don’t do enough of it and have cash in the bank. Seems to me this is responsible business and would make a fabulous model for our own government.

And regardless of where this money is…these corporations, as well as their employees, pay taxes on this money, despite what many may say. If you want to be mad at corporations, be mad at them for whose campaigns they are funneling money into during elections. If you want to be mad at CBS, well, then, I’ve got your back.

The Roswell Chicken Man and His Fight For His Constitutionally Protected Rights

Mr. Wordes earned his name “the Roswell Chicken Man” just how you might expect he would. He owns chickens (and turkeys). But what you probably wouldn’t expect is the hassle, hardship and heartbreak he has encountered in order to maintain his right to have these animals and his property.

Mr Wordes is currently battling the City of Roswell (City Manager and City Council) over his right to have livestock on his property inside city limits. The order of events goes a little bit like this:

  • December 2008: Roswell Zoning Department issues a warning for the chickens on his property. (At that time, the City of Roswell’s Code of Ordinances said “On less than two acres you MAY NOT have livestock except for poultry and swine.”) The City decided to issue a citation anyway. Mayor Wood attempts to step in and stop the city, but the city moves forward. Both parties head to court.
  • Spring 2009: Mr. Wordes hires former Georgia Governor Roy Barnes to represent him against the city. Both parties presented their cases to Judge Maurice Hilliard who issued a dismissal of the case against the Chicken Man.
  • Summer 2009: The Roswell City Council rewrites the law, without a ‘grandfather clause’, to make all but 6 chickens on a property illegal–directly targeting and affecting Mr. Wordes. The law further states that the ‘legal’ chickens must remain in a permanent enclosure.**
    (**Mr. Wordes property sits on a flood plain. 3-4 feet of water rises on his property when it storms. Because of this, the city would not issue a permit for a permanent enclosure, therefore making it ‘illegal’ for him to have his birds. This is important because after the storms and flooding in September 2009, a sewer backed up behind Mr. Wordes’ home causing 6 feet of water in the back yard and 4 feet of water in the basement of his home. In order to save his home AND his chickens, Mr. Wordes borrowed a BobCat to move the dirt around. He was subsequently issued citations for too many chickens, illegal grading of property and too many cars on his property. The City also would not submit requests for FEMA funds for the property. The property has flooded several times since this initial flood.)

  • The City of Roswell contacts Mr. Wordes mortgage broker, an elderly woman who has held his mortgage for the entirety of his 16 years in his home. With the threat of liens, citations and grievances, the City pressures Wordes’ mortgage broker into SELLING the note to another broker for 50 cents on the dollar. The current mortgage broker is attempting to foreclose on Mr. Wordes home.
  • Mr. Wordes reports to court for his citations during the flood. Judge Hilliard again rules in his favor stating that he is ‘grandfathered in’ to the new law, but must complete 180 hours of community service for the illegal grading and the excessive number of cars on his property.
  • Mr. Wordes is harassed by the Roswell Police Department as well. He is pulled over more times than we can count, thrown in jail on multiple occasions, and given a number of petty citations. It’s common for multiple police cars to sit at the end of Mr. Wordes street and ‘wait’.
  • The City of Roswell files a 55-page civil suit against Mr. Wordes in an attempt to take his property from him. This is the first civil suit to attempt to take a man’s property in the history of Roswell. A civil suit was filed in attempt to deny Mr. Wordes his right to a public defender, as he can no longer afford to pay for representation. Fortunately because of Mr. Wordes involvement with Georgia Carry, they have provided legal representation for him.
  • The City lists Mr. Wordes home on the ‘Roswell 2030 Plan’ as a green space and parks area, publicly announcing and solidifying their effort to take his property. (View the plan here http://www.roswellgov.com/DocumentView.aspx?DID=1552 –the road you’re looking for is Alpine Drive. Can you believe this? He is still the lawful owner of his property but the City has a 20-year-plan to dissolve that. Note that Mr. Wordes has offered to SELL his property to the City, but they have declined. Instead, they want to take the long and painful foreclosure route.)
  • July 2011: Mr. Wordes leaves his home to attend a political rally. When he returns home, he finds that all of his chickens have been let out and feed is all over the ground. The next day, his birds begin to die. Mr. Wordes realizes that someone has poisoned his birds. Over the course of the next few days, Mr. Wordes loses 1/3 of his livestock, including 45 baby turkeys (10 of which belonged to Mayor Jere Wood), 25 chicks and 6 adult birds. I spoke with Mr. Wordes personally and he claims there is no doubt in his mind who was behind the poisoning. He alleges that it was his next door neighbor who has rallied with the city through this entire process. You see, Mr. Wordes has a very private backyard that is surrounded by woods. From the street, however, it would appear that people were home because there were a couple of cars parked in the driveway. Unfortunately, Mr. Wordes posted on his Facebook page that he would be attending this political rally. Mr. Wordes has indications that lead him to believe that his neighbor monitors the page through other names (via his neighbors own personal website that has a page dedicated to ‘The Chicken Man’). Mr. Wordes alleges that this neighbor is the only one that would 1) know the seclusion of the property, 2) have access to the property in addition to knowing where everything is and 3) have a motive to commit such an atrocity. A police report has been filed, but is not moving forward at this point due to the lack of proof. The birds were taken to two different forensic labs to determine the source of poisoning but the necropsies have not yet returned. In the meantime, this has become an economic hardship on Mr. Wordes since he cannot sell the eggs from his hens since the poisoning.
  • Mr. Wordes is due in court August 10 at 2:30pm. The hearing is public at the Roswell Municipal Court. He will be arguing a probation violation for missing a ‘check-in’ over the time his birds had been poisoned.

Currently, Mayor Jere Wood, Councilwoman Betty Price and Senator John Albers are all standing behind this brave man. These public servants have exhausted their resources, but remain vigilant with their personal support. All three should be commended for their continued support for Mr. Wordes.

The Roswell chicken man needs your help.

  • If you are a resident of Roswell, I encourage you to call your councilman or woman. Let them know what they are doing is WRONG. A few of these council people are up for election this November (Becky Wynn and Rich Dippolito). How about vote them out? Why would you want someone who denies us of our rights granted by the laws of government? You can also call or email them and let them know how shameful their actions are. Nothing will change if we all stay quiet.
  • Call the news stations, local and national. These villains need to be exposed. The city cannot get away with this. We must stop fearing the government and stand behind those who are fighting the good fight.
    -Huffington Post scoop@huffingtonpost.com
    -Fox News hannity@foxnews.com or oreilly@foxnews.com or kelly@foxnews.com
    -WSBTV newstip@wsbtv.com or 404.897.6276
  • Visit www.roswellchickenman.com to donate to this cause.
  • Spread the word. Tell everyone you know. This isn’t JUST about the chickens. It’s about the city and the personal vendetta they have against a citizen. It could easily be you or me, just in a different context.

“When governments fear the people, there is liberty. When the people fear the government, there is tyranny.”- Thomas Jefferson

LINKS
Roswell Patch Article 8/2/2001 http://roswell.patch.com/articles/roswells-chicken-man-heads-back-to-court
Roswell Patch Article 7/3/2011 http://roswell.patch.com/articles/roswell-chicken-man-cries-foul
CBS Atlanta Coverage http://www.cbsatlanta.com/story/15037844/roswell-chicken-man-says-someone-vandalized-his-property-and-poisoned-50-of-his-birds
Facebook Support Page: http://www.facebook.com/RoswellChickenMan#!/RoswellChickenMan?sk=info

Have You Heard The News? It Gets Better.

Recently, Scott Brown (R-Mass) declined to appear in a pro-LGBT video assuring youth that ‘it gets better’ as you get older.  The video is a part of a nationwide campaign to reassure LGBT teens and young adults that the bullying lessens as they get older.  Brown, the only lawmaker who does not appear in the video featuring every other Massachusetts lawmaker, has been under intense scrutiny for declining the invitation to appear despite his spokesman’s acknowledgement that Brown is dedicated to eliminating bullying but “his main focus right now is on creating jobs and getting our economy back on track”.  It’s not appropriate to imply that Scott Brown is promoting or allowing bullying simply because he will not partake in a video.

Scott Brown has proven to be more moderate than conservative during his time in office but that still doesn’t please Democrats.  Democratic Hill staffers are the ones that leaked the story about Brown not appearing in the video to the press.  It isn’t enough that he voted in-favor of the repeal of Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell in recent months, no, now they want him to appear in a video to ‘lock-in’ his stance.

But why are our politicians wasting time making videos?  They are not movie stars.  As legislators, their job is to draft and create laws.  I understand that the campaign message is being promoted due to the increasing number of suicides among LGBT teens, and that is commendable, but everyone from State representatives to President Obama is partaking in this video message project.  I don’t think it is appropriate.  And Scott Brown is right.  We should be focusing on jobs and the economy–you know that thing the Democrats keep blaming the Republicans for? I also can’t remember the last time someone took a commercial, especially from a politician, to heart.  Instead, why don’t these influential members of the government take the opportunity to enact legislation to protect people, regardless of sexual orientation, from bullying?  Surely that would be more effective than a video.

View some of the ‘It Get’s Better’.  You’ll notice if you simply YouTube ‘It Get’s Better’, there are 785,000 results.  I think the message is getting out there, enough so not to criticize one politician for not participating in the video.

From President Obama
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=geyAFbSDPVk
From the Massachusetts Delegation
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nluLC6F0sRw
Modern Family PSA
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SbkbIhpzLTo

Milk & PMS

It really frustrates me when people over-analyze product advertisements.  If you read ‘Who Isn’t Looking Past Color’, then you may have a little insight as to how a small and unintentional aspects of an ad may be so misconstrued by activist groups that companies end up cycling them out of use.  They are at it again.

Recently, the ‘Got Milk’ ads were overtaken by a new strategy: Milk can help reduce the symptoms of PMS.  Whether there is any truth to it or not, the controversial ad (which, as a lady, I find hilarious) has really stirred the pot with feminists.  The ad shows a middle-aged man holding several cartons of milk, apologizing for ‘listening’ and uses a line some women use often.  Feminist groups are claiming that the ad is sexist.  Well, I have some news, ladies.  PMS is exclusive to women and the ad is funny.  And sexist how? There are scientific facts to back up not only the “issue” but also the reduction of symptoms  It’s catchy, new and has sparked a lot of chatter–the intent of the ad.  Are you going to boycott milk because of the ad? (Because I could think of a lot more reasons to boycott milk,but that’s another day).

Feminist groups just can’t help themselves.  Do you remember the controversial Folgers ad a few years back? The television commercial shows a young girl drinking coffee at the breakfast table when her dad comes down to scold her for being out too late with her boyfriend. She flashes a new engagement ring and implies that her staying out too late will no longer be a problem. Feminists claimed the ad was too old school, insinuating that a woman would go from the care of her father straight to the care of her husband-to-be was sexist. I would never gather this from the commercial. Who the heck thinks like this???
You can watch the commercial here : http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=d5lPYUB2_ww

Or how about this one:
I absolutely won’t deny that this ad is over the top (but that’s to be expected in the fashion industry) and I certainly wouldn’t want to see it in a magazine directed at youth, but…women’s rights groups have stated that the ad is a “Rape Fantasy”.  Pardon?

The thing is, you don’t see men over 50 shouting about the men depicted in Viagra commercials, nor do you see elderly people rising up against commercials for HoverRound Scooters. If you don’t like an advertising strategy, don’t use the product. And let’s be honest, corporations aren’t that stupid.  They are out there for one thing: a profit.  Offending you and shunning you from the demographic that purchases whatever they may be selling is, surprisingly, not their goal. Realize this. And quit flooding the news circuits with complaints about how and why you THINK a company is maybe trying to POSSIBLY advertise their product.  If you want to be offended, then look into the AshleyMadison.com commercials (Life is short. Have an Affair) or the ‘Aids is a Mass Murderer’ ad campaign.  Maybe these other ones don’t see so bad?

Labels & Lies

I could start a whole other blog about nutrition, food additives and the preservatives that damage our food, but talking about food just makes me hungry.  Instead, I would like to occasionally incorporate the foods and additives that the FDA is being deceitful about into this blog.  And while these thoughts should motivate you to become engaged in decisions about what you eat, it should more importantly alarm you that a government organization, like the FDA, can get away with essentially poisoning us.

About twenty years ago, there was a huge uproar over the additive monosodium glutamate, or MSG.  This ‘flavor enhancer’ was seen in many foods from condiments to soups to crackers.  It had actually been in many of our foods since the 1940’s, but no one really paid attention. Once credited as the ‘Chinese Restaraunt Syndrome’, due to the high sodium content of many chinese dishes, the effects of this additive that were included in so many food products were outed in the early 1990’s.  Resulting symptoms from MSG consumption include migraine headaches, tingling in the arms, back and chest, rapid heartbeat, nausea, drowsiness, weakness and ‘a craving for the same foods (This one, most closely associated with Chinese food, seems to be the only advertised effect). Some people even experience asthmatic responses like difficulty breathing and neurological symptoms.  Long term effects can include increased development of food allergies in children, hyperactivity and obesity.

That’s a long list, don’t you think?

However, this is all background information. You see, the FDA has restricted labeling techniques for producers and state that placing “no MSG added” or “No MSG” can be misleading, but somehow we still see these things on labels.  Because of the high publicity regarding MSG, many manufacturers have used other alternatives to get around the poor market ability.  Names such as yeast extracts, texturized protein, gelatin, anything “glutamate”, anything “hydrolyzed” and anything “enzyme modified” top the list of disguises for MSG.  Take a look in your pantry.  These things occur in eveything from potato chips and cookies to cream cheeses and even some milks (things that are ultra-pasturized also contain MSG).

You cannot just assume because it’s on the shelves of the grocery store that it’s safe. How many times has the FDA approved prescriptions and then had to pull them from the shelves because they were harmful (only to reintroduce the same drug with a different name or use) What about all the different names for aspratame that now saturate the market?  It’s the same concept.  The issue is that these names on the labels are misleading.  Who would, at first glance, think that something with protein or enzymes is bad for you?  Most people would think that you ‘need’ these things and think nothing of it.  But we’re being duped.

Many of you will probably just move forward on the notion that there are plenty of other harmful substances out there and you plan to go on eating just as you had before, and that’s fine.  But you should question why the FDA is allowing products such as these additives to be key ingredients in foods while knowing the harmful effects.

A complete list of MSG Aliases can be found at http://www.truthinlabeling.org/hiddensources.html

Sources:
http://www.resourcesforlife.com/docs/item1225 (This site is backed by the World Health Center & the Mayo Clinic)
http://www.carbohydrateaddicts.com/msg.html
http://www.rense.com/general67/msg.htm

The Citizens’ Petition

In Maryland, people have been rallying in opposition of a bill that would grant some illegal immigrants the right to pay in-state tuition.  The state bill resembles the DREAM Act (which was recently struck down in Congress) in that it would grant illegals who have lived in the United States for more than 5 years and graduated from a high school here, in-state tuition.

Those in opposition are demanding that a referendum be placed on this bill and measure until the 2012 election, so voters can make the choice.  According to the Huffington Post, 55,736 signatures were needed…the group obtained 109,000 valid signatures.

Supporters of the bill are threatening to file a lawsuit and according to Casa de Maryland, (nice name, by the way folks) the signatures were obtained by misinforming the people.  They claim that ‘undocumented students only enjoy some of the rights enjoyed by other Maryland high school graduates’. HA!

I would like to know when our country got to this point? The point that our own citizens HAVE to petition AGAINST the rights of illegal immigrants, rights that would give these illegals advantages over our OWN citizens.  Why would a state be granting in-state tuition to illegal immigrants when the process of a student from another state within the United States is difficult, grueling and more often than not, unsuccessful?  To be in this country with undocumented status is against the law.  So if this bill passes, we are going to teach our youth that other people who break the law will reap benefits from it because we should feel sorry for them and be compassionate towards them.  In addition to the illegal aspect, most state university systems are struggling tremendously right now to stay afloat and maintain lower tuition rates for legal, legitimate students…Why are we trying to flood the system and give breaks to more people who haven’t earned it?

If this is how it’s going to be, what’s the point of even being a United States citizen?  It sure seems like you get a lot more benefits by not being one.

Sex versus Gender & Government ID’s

My favorite organization, the American Civil Liberties Union, has filed a suit in Anchorage, Alaska against the state because they refused to grant a driver’s license to a transgendered person.  Apparently, this former-man-now-‘woman’ applied for a driver’s license but was denied because this person, referred to as K.L., did not undergo a sex change surgery.  The ACLU is claiming that ‘denying the woman a license that accurately reflects her gender identity because she hasn’t undergone surgery is unconstitutional’.  Personal beliefs aside, this brings up some interesting points.  Let’s take a look at the facts.

The ACLU is a strong proponent of equality for a wide variety of groups.  With that equality, the ACLU, along with many other organizations, insists that people be recognized for their differences whether it be race, religion, gender, sex, etc. (Don’t you find it interesting that a group that seeks to create equality across the board continues to sort people into groups?)  With that being said, sociologists have defined specific differences between sex and gender.  Sex is defined as ‘either of the two major forms of individuals that occur in many species and that are distinguished respectively as female or male especially on the basis of their reproductive organs and structures’.  Gender is defined as ‘the behavioral, cultural, or psychological traits typically associated with one sex’  Some sites also claim that gender is a subclass of sex.  Okay, so just to clarify Merriam-Webster, (and most sociology and psychology text books) says sex is physiological and gender is psychological.

Moving on. In actuality, this K.L. person is suing because the state of Alaska would not recognize the behaviors, cultures and psychological practices and instead wanted to identify a person based on organs and actual tangible body parts.  I must be missing something here.

I have to question what the argument is for gender being a suitable form of identification.  Sure, gender rights are protected by Human Rights, the UN and other entities, but gender is not a way to identify one person from the next.  These rights are in place to protect people, as they should be.  And I have to wonder how it would be applicable.  Say a transgender person is in a car wreck and unable to identify themselves at the scene.  A lot of chaos could ensue when a license states one ‘sex’ and a medical examination determines another.  And while this K.L. person may have female tendencies that does not make him a male.  When I go shoot a gun at the gun range wearing camo and Timberland boots, I don’t refer to myself as a male.  Hunting quail on a camping trip would not change this either.  And how about public places? Which restroom does K.L. use when out? Certainly he wouldn’t walk into a woman’s restroom because that would essentially be breaking the law.  So why would a form of government identification be any different?

Take out your license.  Look at it.  Next to your eye color, your hair color and unfortunately your weight, what does it say? Sex. Not gender.

Lights Out, Legislation Passed.

House Republicans decided that want to vote to repeal the act that placed restrictions on incandescent light bulbs starting in 2012.  The House of aRepresentatives was set to vote on it today, but its not expected to be repealed in the Democratically controlled Senate, and because the Obama administration strongly supports it.

It seems insignificant that we’re debating over the use of light bulbs when we have a huge issue with the debt ceiling lingering, among other serious issues, doesn’t it? But it really isn’t about light bulbs.  It’s about law makers and the outrage of the people.  Rep. Joe Barton (R-Texas) stated, “This is more than just energy consumption, it is about personal freedom”.  He has a point.

Who is Congress to say what kind of light bulbs we can and cannot use? And WHY?  In 2007, when the bill was introduced as the Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007, it was passed on the appeal of saving the country $6 billion in 2015 alone.  Law makers also charged that it would reduce household electric bills by $85 a year– whoop-de-doo!!! [But who are they kidding? The cost of the lightbulbs would go up since the restrictions from the law would be placed on manufacturers and how they do business, so the true savings, or maybe even costs, is not known.)

What is most frustrating is that Rep. Upton (R-Michigan), Chairman of the Energy and Commerce Committee, was the lead sponsor of the bill when it passed in 2007.  He has since retracted his support and says he’ll vote ‘yes’ to the repeal to ‘guard against government overreach’.  He also said that people’s outrage shows that free markets are what should control the pool from which consumers pull from.

So essentially, lawmakers are willing to pass anything and everything if it has the right ring to it and will do so quietly until people are outraged and take action.  Think of all the things that pass without us knowing that would probably enrage the hell out of us.  And you’d probably be surprised how many times people from your party vote a way you wouldn’t assume. This energy bill passed the first time in the House 264-163 and 65-27 in the Senate. I urge you to look into what is really going on. Because whether it be by light bulbs or due process, we are slowly losing freedoms.

 

You can track voting records for your representatives at http://www.govtrack.us/

Anger in Memory of Caylee

If you have a Facebook, you’ve probably seen the Change.org petition for ‘Caylee’s Law’.  The federal law would charge parents with a felony if 1) they did not report a missing child within 24 hours; or 2) did not report the death of a child within one hour.  As of July 11th, the petition had more than 700,000 signatures and is the fastest growing petition on the website’s history. People are, rightfully, outraged after not receiving the anticipated GUILTY verdict in last weeks trial.  Petitioners believe that the movement for ‘Caylee’s Law’ will create new protective laws and prevent such atrocities from happening again.

All of this sounds logical, yes?

 

Yes, it does SOUND logical, but when we demand that our lawmakers take swift action, laws are created in an inappropriate and haphazard manner, subsequently making good intentions have bad repercussions on down the road.  Laws as a result of tragedy end up so vaguely constructed that they can actually set the bar higher for the next similar case when the incident may not be 100% applicable.  For example, what if a child died while sleeping? Would the 1 hour still apply? Or how about an issue with overcompliance? Parents may end up contacting authorities immediately in the case of a disappearance when it may not be necessary, draining resources and exhausting law enforcement.  Not to mention that there are still ways around these time restrictions, like lying.

Think about some other tragedy-induced laws:

  • The USA PATRIOT Act
  • The Brady Bill
  • Georgia HB101, now known as the Better Bicycling Act (Google this: It’s actually quite comical.  Law makers created this legislation in response to the death of a cyclist who was hit and killed by a passing car (not the comical part, obviously).  The law states that vehicles must leave 3 feet when passing a cyclist now. Among many shortcomings, most importantly, how will this be enforced unless another biker is hit?)
  • The threats of the Obama administration on gun laws after the tragedy in Tuscon.

These laws don’t PREVENT anything, they just punish the offender AFTER THE FACT, which I know people want after the Casey Anthony trial.  But again, people wanted to see GUILTY pasted across Ms. Anthony’s forehead for murder.  Would ‘guilty’ on a formal failure to report a death verdict have satiated the anger of the trial followers? I don’t really think so.

We have learned time and time again that anger doesn’t create good public policy.  It creates laws that leave too much room for interpretation and judicial activism….and that is not what we need.

Sex in Class

Last week, Arlene Tessitoire, a mother from Massachusetts, was up in arms over a survey that was given to her two daughters in middle school.  The topic? Sex.

According to Tessistoire and her daughters, the two teenagers were forced to take a survey that questioned birth control and condom use, oral sex and number of sexual partners.  This Youth Risk Behavior Study required a consent form in order for the student to participate in the survey.  But not the kind of permission slip we are used to hearing about…

The principal of the school told the New York Daily News that the school “operates on ‘passive consent’ where students take notes hom for parents to sign.  If the school does not hear back, then consent is considered given”.  The principal admitted to distributing the survey and stated that it was indeed graphic but said they were required to administer the survey to fulfill a grant requirement.  He also stated that he takes no responsibility for the contents.

Arlene Tessitoire has filed a formal complaint with the Department of Education.  Her attorney is citing the Supreme Court Decision which upholds federal law that 1) parents have to GIVE written consent for any question to be asked of a student and that 2) parents have the right to determine moral and spiritual upbringing of their children.

This brings me to my many questions:

  • If the principal isn’t going to take responsibility for the inappropriate administration of the survey, who is?
  • Where do we draw the line of what is acceptable to ask a child without consent and what is not and why aren’t more parents disturbed by this?
  • Why are we in a time of ‘passive consent’ where schools are deciding that a lack of response means consent?

Have you noticed that there is no ‘passive consent’ when it comes to field trips or class experiments? If a child forgets to give his/her parent a permission slip to go to an amusement park, the consent is not assumed and the child is left behind for the day. Why are the circumstances any different with lessons?

The reality of it is that it has nothing to do with whether or not kids/teens are experimenting sexually and has everything to do with parental consent and the consistent denial of parental involvement in regards to what’s being taught in schools.