San Antonio SBOE candidate who created 10-step plan to prevent GSAs thanks anti-gay hate group

David Williams

Texas State Board of Education candidate David Williams, a Republican running for the seat held by Democrat Michael Soto, has made public his view that gays can change their sexuality.

The buzz about Williams’ remarks started last week when the Texas Freedom Network reported that he had posted a comment on the Family Research Council’s Facebook page about being proud of the fact that a Gay Straight Alliance at his son’s school in 2006 was rejected as a new club by the student council. Williams was then a public school teacher in Oklahoma. He is now a middle school math teacher at a private school in San Antonio, according to his campaign website.

FRC’a anti-gay views have led it to be identified as a hate group by the Southern Poverty Law Center.

In the post, Williams thanks the organization for its “support for the traditional family” before mentioning that “prayer and community action” led to the GSA’s rejection, mentioning that God has led him to run for the SBOE seat. “The Lord has given me a new mission, to run for the Texas State Board of Education. Please pray for me and thank you for being a voice up there for those of us out here.”

Williams emailed TFN on Monday in response to the report that he was anti-gay because he was happy the GSA’s creation was blocked, writing that the “GSA was voted down by students in order to be fair to ex-gays that found change is possible. Students were presented the several scientific views on the origins of same sex attraction and did not think a GSA to support one view only was needed.”

In the email to TFN, Williams also linked to an article on the website of Parents and Friends of Exgays and Gays about the GSA situation years ago, mentioning his leadership position as mid-Oklahoma representative for Christian Educators Association International and his creation of a 10-step plan “to deal with homosexual activism in schools.”

—  Dallasvoice

ACLU executive director to speak on BOE’s highjacking of public school curricula

Back in May, we published this story about the new social studies curriculum approved by the Texas State Board of Education that, according to activists, completely ignored the Lone Star State’s LGBT community and the contributions that community has made to the state over the years.

Randall Terrell, political director for Equality Texas, had attended a public hearing on the changes, and he said the SBOE, weighted with religious conservatives, was using the curricula to impose the religious beliefs of some board members on the state’s public schools. He said: “They want this to be a theocracy, based on religious law, but with their own personal version of religion. And it’s incredibly narrow. There’s nothing in this about being for the benefit of the kids. It’s all definitely to perpetuate their world view, their religious views.”

And some of those revisions, Terrell added, were just “bat-shit crazy.”

The LGBTs weren’t the only ones condemning the curricula changes. Folks with the Texas Chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union had some pretty strong words to say about it, too — and they still do.

Texas ACLU Executive Director Terri Burke will be in Dallas on Wednesday, Sept. 15, to talk about “the State Board of Education’s recent abuse of its authority, including the efforts of some members to insert personal ideology into curriculum content. She will also discuss issues of importance to voters in the upcoming State Board elections in November,” according to an ACLU press release sent out today.

Burke’s speech, which will be followed by a question-and-answer session, begins at 7 p.m. Wednesday at Unitarian Universalist Church of Oak Cliff, 3839 W. Kiest Blvd. The meeting is open to the public, and admission is free.

—  admin

Local briefs • 09.03.10

Artists Against AIDS auction set for October at Community Arts Center

AIDS Outreach Center of Tarrant County’s annual Artists Against AIDS Silent Art Auction is set for Oct. 23, 7 p.m. to 10 p.m. at the Fort Worth Community Arts Center.
Artwork will be on display from Oct. 1 to Oct. 23.

The event will feature food, entertainment, an open bar with wine and beer and a silent auction including a selection of high-quality fine art from local and regional artists. Tickets for the auction and party are $75.

This year’s honorary co-chairs are state Sen. Wendy Davis, and Fort Worth City Councilman Joel Burns. Event co-chairs are Cynthia Hodgkins and Sarah Garrett. Featured artists for the evening are Henrietta Milan and Eric Stevens.

ACLU executive director to speak at Oak Cliff Unitarian

Terri Burke, executive director of the American Civil Liberties Union of Texas, will will speak Sept. 15 on recent decisions by the Texas State Board of Education that some people believe were an abuse of authority by board members who forced their own personal ideologies into Texas public schools’ curricula.

The meeting will be held from 7 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. at the Unitarian Universalist Church of Oak Cliff, 3839 W. Kiest Blvd. in Dallas. The event is co-sponsored by the ACLU of Texas and the Unitarian Church of Oak Cliff. Admission is free and open to the public.

Black Tie offers Joan Jett VIP  Weekend for Four, more in auction

Black Tie Dinner announced that bidding has opened for a Sept. 18 Joan Jett weekend VIP package for four courtesy of DiamondJack’s Casino and Resort. Bidding will close on Wednesday, Sept. 8 at 9 p.m.

The package features two nights’ accommodations for four people (two rooms) at the Casino Resort in Shreveport/Bossier City, four VIP tickets to the  Joan Jett and the Blackheart performance on Saturday, Sept. 18 and a meet-and-greet with Jett. Dinner for four at DJ’s Steakhouse (up to $400), Saturday buffet lunch and two breakfast buffets for four and $500 in cash are also included.

Go to the BlackTie.org to bid.

The Friday B4Black Luxury Auction will move from a live auctioneer to a real-time ‘Big Board.’ Bidding on interactive touch screen displays will be available on the entire Big Board Luxury Line-up from 8 p.m. until 10 p.m. at the event.

This new auction technology will continually display the Friday Luxury Line-up on prominent screens.

This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition September 3, 2010.

—  Michael Stephens

ACLU also going after Texas Board of Education over curriculum guidelines

Yesterday, I posted this item about Equality Texas’ plans to attend the Texas State Board of Education meeting to demand that the board revise its Texas Essential Knowledge and Skills standards to include LGBT people and more accurately the state’s diversity.

Today, I got word that the ACLU of Texas isn’t too happy with the SBOE, either, and is accusing the board of “systemic abuse of power,” and calling on the state Legislature to limit board members’ ability to “insert personal ideologies into curriculum content”

ACLU of Texas Executive Director Terri Burke declared, “A public school curriculum should promote academic integrity, not ideological agendas.”

Burke also noted that the SBOE next meets May 18-21 in Austin, and that the public comment period on the proposed TEKS standards extends through May 19. She said the SBOE already has received more than 20,000 comments.

Go here to read ACLU’s report on the SBOE and the standards and the organization’s list of suggestions on what the Legislature needs to do to curb abuse by the SBOE members.

—  admin