It appears that one local high school is responding to a parent's concerns about the "It Gets Better" campaign, an anti-bullying presentation designed to encourage homosexual students and "create a discussion on bullying and how we can be a more welcome and inclusive community." When the Neenah High School principal got an email this week from a parent concerned about the political agenda these sponsors were pushing, the district responded with a yes, we re bringing this in, but we're making it optional. And parents are invited too. (Kaukauna high School is also making the events optional.) Here is the letter which was sent out shortly after the parent spoke up:
A message from NEENAH HIGH SCHOOL
On Friday, February 20th from 7:50am until 8:50am Pickard Auditorium will be hosting the presentation of It Gets Better. The presentation will be put on by the Gay Men’s Chorus of Los Angeles (GMCLA). The artists of GMCLA are outstanding in their work with students. In this assembly-style session, artists perform selected scenes and songs from it gets better and share personal narratives about the harms of bullying and ways in which they have overcome adversity. The session is suitable for small or large school audiences from middle to high school age. More information about the presentation can be found below.
Attending this event is optional for NHS students. Students at NHS can be excused from class from 7:50-8:50am and allowed to attend only if they return a signed permission slip that is attached to this message. The permission slips must be turned in to Mrs. Walter in the main office prior to February 20th. Parents are also welcome to attend the presentation.
If you have any questions or concerns please direct them to Brian Wunderlich
email@example.com or Call 920 751-6900 ext 16101
Will parents in other high schools speak up? Time is running out. The events start next week. Here is my original piece:
I checked my mail again. Nope. No word from my daughter's local high school about this. Nothing on the website either.
But my friend Dave clipped it out of the Appleton Post Crescent Newspaper.
A traveling production of the Gay Men’s Chorus of Los Angeles (GMCLA), will be visiting Appleton East, Appleton North, Appleton West, Kaukauna, Menasha and Neenah high schools to meet with students and faculty, talking about inclusion and bullying. The chorus is teaming up with INCLUDE to reach high schools in our area.
Here's a video INCLUDE posted on its Facebook Page to show fans what the high school visits are like:
In 2013, GMCLA kicked off the "It Gets Better" tour to small town across the nation. Says GMCLA's website:
The week highlights anti-bullying, tolerance and acceptance through community roundtable discussions, high school visits, it gets better videos, and creative exercises. Local choirs join the cast onstage for the final performance – an exciting and funny story with moments of both pain and pathos, featuring poignant narratives of growing up gay.
GMCLA will be in the Fox Valley for one week - Feb. 16-21 - to speak at schools, community groups (The Boys and Girl's Club), and perform at the Fox Cities Performing Arts Center.
On Monday, Feb. 16 from 4-5:30 p.m. students ages 14-18 are invited to meet with the Goodwill LGBT Partnership group at the Boys and Girls Club of the Fox Valley Region for an activity based workshop in which they will work to create video pieces related to bullying, self image, LGBT issues and more.
One of the sponsors is First Congregational United Church of Christ, Appleton, Wisconsin. Others include Fox Cities Performing Arts Center, Community First Credit Union, Community Foundation for the Fox Valley Region, Galloway Company, Godfrey & Kahn ScGoodwill NCW, Kimberly-Clark Cares, Thrivent Financial, US Venture, A2Z Design, Image Studios, The Post-Crescent (Appleton-Fox Cities, Wisconsin),and First Congregational Church Appleton. Ah-Ha Fund, Bemis Company, Community Health Actions Team (C.H.A.T.), Community First Credit Union, The Frohna Family, Galloway Company, Bob & Natalie Gehringer Family Fund, Godfrey & Kahn, Goodwill Industries NCW, Kimberly-Clark Corporation, The Lindgren-Galloway Family, United Way Fox Cities and U.S. Venture. In-kind services provided by A2Z Design and IMAGE Studios.
(Hat tip to watchman Dave R. for sending me the newspaper clipping.)
UPDATE: Local mom found a notice in the Kaukauna monthly newsletter that attendance is optional: