A public school district is standing by its decision to block parents from viewing pro-LGBT videos that were shown to their own children.
"Since when does a public school in the United States of America have the right to block a parent and tell them they will not allow them to see the controversial partisan programming they are requiring their children to watch?" an angry parent, one of several, asked East Penn School District officials in a letter.
The controversy, which dates back to April, came after the student-led Gay Straight Alliance Club selected the video clips and played them during morning announcements at Emmaus High School, The Morning Call, an Allentown newspaper, reported in a June 26 story.
The video clips celebrated same-sex marriage and gender fluidity, and included titles such as "Show your pride, show your love" and "9 Questions Gay People Have About Straight People."
Some of the pro-LGBT videos were shown during the "Day of Silence" in late April.
It took a while for news of the school-approved clips to reach parents, and then the media, but the Allentown newspaper confirmed that parents have since confronted the high school after it refused to share the clips to parents.
"East Penn residents back anti-bullying videos," reads the headline of the June 26 story.
But further reading in the story reveals that parents who confronted the school board were upset that the videos were shown without their permission, and then they were further angered when Superintendent Michael Schilder refused to show the clips to them.
"Student work and student expression must always be protected," Schilder told the newspaper. "A parent or member of the public has no right to view or access a student's term paper, speech, or multimedia project just because he or she objects to the topic.”
The superintendent also lectured parents at the June school board meeting that the community will not tolerate "bias, prejudice, or bigotry."
The story also reports that the American Family Association of Pennsylvania and Liberty Counsel – depicted as right-wing boogeymen by the newspaper – have become involved on behalf of upset parents.
Liberty Counsel founder Mat Staver, who was sent a demand letter, tells OneNewsNow that he won't allow a public school district to get away with claiming it knows how to raise children better than their own parents.
He also dismisses the superintendent's claim that a "student project" is protected from public viewing.
"This school will ultimately end up having to provide the information," he predicts.