NC Civil rights Group Calls on Governor to Recend Buddy Collins Appointment to State Board

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by Chad Nance


By Staff


On Monday the civil rights organization Equality NC called for advocates and citizens across North Carolina to contact Governor Pat McCrory’s office and ask that the administration reconsider the nomination of W-S/Forsyth County School Board Member, Buddy Collins, to the State Board of Education. Mr. Collins was featured in an article in the Huffington Post over the weekend which reported controversial statements Collins has made about LGBT students and the LGBT community at large.

governor mccrory

“Gov. McCrory should reconsider his appointment of Buddy Collins to the State Board of Education. Surely, there are others Gov. McCrory could appoint that would protect the rights of all North Carolina students,” said Stuart Campbell, executive director of Equality NC. “All students, no matter their sexual orientation or gender identity, deserve a high quality education, in a safe environment and free of harassment of any kind.”

Equality NC pointed to several instances of Collins’ recent tenure on the School Board which they claim illustrate his intolerance for other people and students who do not share his particular world view.

In 2002 Collins’ wrote an editorial published by the Winston-Salem Journal which used false information in order to attempt to disparage Gay Lesbian and Straight Education Network (GLSEN) of Winston-Salem. At the time Collins wrote:

“Two years ago in Massachusetts, GLSEN sponsored a workshop called ‘What They Didn’t Tell You About Queer Sex & Sexuality in Health Class: A Workshop for Youth Only, Ages 14-21.’ It exposed children as young as 12 years old to explicit descriptions of how to engage in dangerous homosexual sex acts.”

This editorial was based on false assertions by a right-wing blogger named Jim Hoft. In 2000, GLSEN held a conference at Tufts University. The conference featured numerous workshops for students and educators, including “How to decide whether to come out at work,” and “Strategies and curriculum ideas for addressing gay, lesbian, bisexual and trans-gender issues in a high school English curriculum.” One of the workshops, titled “What They Didn’t Tell You About Queer Sex and Sexuality in Health Class: Workshop for Youth Only, Ages 14-21,” was run by two Massachusetts state Department of Education staffers and a state DoE consultant.

During the workshop, students asked a lot of very explicit questions about sex, and received explicit answers. As Hoft himself acknowledges in the body of his posts, it is the Department of Education staffers – not GLSEN staff – who appear in the audio giving those answers. An activist for the anti-gay group Parents Rights Coalition (now MassResistance) snuck into the workshop and taped it, in a possible violation of state laws banning the taping of people without their permission. The PRC sold the tapes for $5.00 a piece and lied about the tapes in their smear campaign about GLSEN saying the tapes showed that GLSEN had brought “pornography” to the class room. All of which was false.

The fact that Collins was taken in by the false story will remind Forsyth County parents of his recent embracing of Agenda 21 and other far-right, John Birch Society style internet conspiracy theories in attacking the “Systems thinking” tools used in W-S/Forsyth County Schools.

Collins also made other unsubstantiated claims in 2002 about GLSEN:

“Boasting more than 700 clubs in schools nationwide, [GLSEN] has an agenda to use public schools as a place to seek acceptance of its sexual practices. The members begin with seemingly innocuous requests for policy changes, move on to demand sensitivity training among the faculty and finally insist on the infusion of their beliefs into the curriculum. Two speakers at our meetings have confirmed this goal, confirmation of a strategy replicated throughout our country.”

Again Collins, at best, relied on internet conspiracy theories about GLSEN and at worst simply made up his “facts”.

GLSEN had requested in 2002 that the school board strengthen its anti-harassment policy to explicitly protect gay students. The School Board declined that request. In the fall of that year, GLSEN members began meeting with school officials in an effort to see if information was available on how much harassment motivated by real or perceived sexual orientation was occurring in schools in the district. After learning of this, Collins castigated School Superintendent Dr. Don Martin for talking to GLSEN about student issues. The Winston-Salem Journal reported that Collins wrote Martin an email which contained the statement: “I can’t tell you how disappointed I am that you have allowed your staff to interact with representatives of GLSEN in connection with the survey you presented last night.” for working to foster acceptance for all students and allow them the freedom to get their education without threat of violence or bullying from other students.

In 2003, after the school system decided to amend their annual parent-student survey to include questions about bullying, specifically addressing bullying incited by racism, homophobia, sexism, and discrimination against handicapped students, Collins publicly discounted GLSEN. The Winston-Salem Journal reported “Board member Buddy Collins said during a school-board briefing last night that the school system shouldn’t have agreed to GLSEN’s request to include questions about discrimination against gays. ‘Their opinions are of no value to me. They are a group that is totally without qualifications to come to this school system,’ Collins said. ‘Why are we wasting our time with feel-good questions?’”

buddy collins

At the time, the school system had been sending out questionnaires about the school climate to parents and students for more than 5 years. However, some board members objected to the addition of questions regarding homosexuality, stating that it was an unnecessary designation or motivation for harassment. The system did begin collecting information on bullying motivated by sexual orientation, though no policy changes were made to address the issue.

In 2009, following the State Legislature’s passing of the School Violence Prevention Act, the WS/FC School system gave preliminary approval to revise their policy to add sexual orientation to the list of differentiated characteristics possibly motivating bullying or harassment. This policy change, which was required to put the local school system in compliance with state-mandated policy, was voted against by Buddy Collins.

The School System did eventually adopt the policy, in accordance with State law. Although the law stated the policy had to be in place by December 31 of 2009, the WS/FCS policy is listed on their website as having been adopted in August 2011. Meeting minutes are not available on the School’s site for the period in question. The WS/FC policy now reads:

Bullying or harassing behavior includes, but is not limited to, acts reasonably perceived as being motivated by any actual or perceived differentiating characteristic, such as race, color, religion, ancestry, national origin, gender, socioeconomic status, academic status, gender identity, physical appearance, sexual orientation, or mental, physical, developmental, or sensory disability, or by association with a person who has or is perceived to have one or more of these characteristics.

The McCrory Administration is yet to comment on Collins’ appointment beyond their initial press release about the recommendation for his appointment. CCD has contacted the governor’s office and awaits a statement from them regarding this issue.


School Violence Prevention Act – Full Text


You can read more of CCD‘s coverage regarding Buddy Collins HERE.

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