Republican Rep. Steve King is sending a letter to the president today calling for the firing of gay activist Kevin Jennings, head of the Education Department's Office of Safe and Drug Free Schools. “The totality of Mr. Jennings' career has been to advocate for public affirmation of homosexuality,” King writes. “There is more to safe and drug free shools than can be accomplished from the narrow view of Mr. Jennings who has, for more than 20 years almost exclusively focused on promoting the homosexual agenda.”
In the letter, King points to a foreword Jennings wrote for a 1999 book entitled Queering Elementary Education, as well as Jennings' work as founder of the Gay, Lesbian, and Straight Education Network. King also mentions a 1988 incident in which Jennings, then a teacher, chose not to alert any authorities when he learned of a teenage boy, a student, who had become involved with an adult man. Finally, King points to stories Jennings has told of his own drug use. “Kevin Jennings cannot gain the approval of parents who want their children safe and their schools drug free,” King writes.
King is the first member of Congress to call for Jennings' removal. Here is the entire text of the letter to the president:
Dear Mr. President,
I respectfully request that you remove Kevin Jennings, the Assistant Deputy Secretary for the Office of Safe and Drug Free Schools. It is clear that Mr. Jennings lacks the appropriate qualifications and ethical standards to serve in this capacity.
Mr. Jennings life’s work has been the promotion of homosexuality, much of it in our elementary schools. As the founder of the Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education Network (GLSEN), Mr. Jennings has played an integral role in promoting a pro-homosexual agenda in America’s schools. As evidence of this, Kevin Jennings wrote the foreword for a book titled Queering Elementary Education: Advancing the Dialogue About Sexualities and Schooling. Throughout his career, Mr. Jennings has made it his mission to establish special protections for gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgendered students. The totality of Mr. Jennings’ career has been to advocate for public affirmation of homosexuality. There is more to safe and drug free schools than can be accomplished from the narrow view of Mr. Jennings who has, for more than 20 years, almost exclusively focused on promoting the homosexual agenda.
Equally troubling is Mr. Jennings’ self-reported history of ignoring the sexual abuse of a child. In his book, One Teacher in Ten, Mr. Jennings recounts a 15-year old student confiding in him that he had sexual relations with a much older man. Mr. Jennings’ only response was to ask if the underage boy used a condom. Kevin Jennings was a mandatory reporter who was required by law to report child abuse, including sex crimes. If the victim had been a 15-year old girl with a 25-year old man, I suspect Mr. Jennings might have obeyed the law but his career of promoting the homosexual agenda likely affected his judgment. Mr. Jennings cannot serve as the “safe schools” czar when his record demonstrates his willingness to overlook sexual abuse of a child.
As the “safe school” czar, Mr. Jennings is also charged with ensuring our schools and students are drug free. It is clear that Mr. Jennings is unfit to serve in this capacity, as well. His own history of unrepentant drug and alcohol abuse indicates that he is of the opinion that getting drunk and high as a young person is acceptable. In his memoir, Mama’s Boy, Preacher’s Son, Mr. Jennings describes his use of illegal drugs, without expressing regret or acknowledging the devastating effects illegal drug use can have on a person’s life.
Everyone that deals with the education of the most vulnerable must be a positive role model. Our children are not blessed with the wisdom to discern and reject. Children presume the adults who educate them are approved by the larger society and their parents. Kevin Jennings cannot gain the approval of parents who want their children safe and their schools drug free. Perhaps you could replace him with someone who has a record of nurturing and educating children in a safe and moral environment. Given the very serious issues with Mr. Jennings’ record, I urge you to remove him immediately.
Member of Congress
The Jennings matter is the latest in a line of controversies over Obama administration figures with radical views. For more on that, see here.