Dear Safe Schools
Coalition Members and Friends:
Action Alert: One life is ENOUGH! Stop Bullying in the
Cashmere (WA) School District
2) Action Alert: Truth
Wins Out Outraged That
Notorious Hate Band Preached Extremist Message at High
School - Dunkerton, IA
Note: We are sharing these items because
we believe that they are issues Safe Schools Coalition
members and friends may be interested in.
If you have opinion about them, please let your voice be
3) News on the anti-bullying
front: Senate Bill 1555 from Oregon Safe Schools and
Alert: One life is
ENOUGH! Stop Bullying in the Cashmere (WA) School District
Shared with permission:
From: Heather McRae
Sent: Wednesday, March 14, 2012 9:34 AM
Subject: Request for your help
My name is Heather McRae. I live in Cashmere,
WA. I am writing to ask for your help publicizing a very
On January 29th, a 14 year old boy who attended
the same Middle School that my two boys attend, took his own
life. He was openly gay, and his friends stated that he was
the focus of continual
bullying. The school admits that there was one reported
incident, but said that it was handled appropriately, and
there were no further instances of bullying. The sheriff's
investigation of the death found no evidence that he was
bullied, and that it was simply a suicide. There was no
public admission of any of this until there was a petition
started on a website called Change.org. The school did not
communicate with parents at all, either by anything sent
home with the kids or on their website. I would not have
known about it except that my kids told me the day after it
happened. The newspaper, several weeks after the death,
finally acknowledged it, and stated that the impetus to
mention it was a petition on Change.org.
About a month after the suicide, another teen has
killed himself, this time a student at Cashmere High
School. Only after the second suicide did the school
district communicate anything to parents. It did not
mention bullying, homosexuality, suicide or anything of the
sort. It simply was a listing of symptoms of grieving to
watch out for in children of various ages in response to the
two tragic incidences. The list of resources on the back
of the document included all the pastors in the valley,
along with suicide prevention hotlines, the school nurse and
school counselors. The only issue listed in the nurse's
section of the school website was the plan of how the school
district would handle a reported case of H1N1 flu, if one
The petition on Change.org has been struggling in
it's efforts to gather signatures. I believe this is
primarily a result of lack of public awareness of the
existence of the petition, or where to find it. It may also
be suffering from a lack of 'searchability'. The title of
the petition is One Life is ENOUGH, which does not contain
the key words of 'suicide', 'Cashmere', 'gay', 'death',
'bullying' or any other words that people might search for
when they have a vague understanding that there is a
petition out there to sign about this. I am hoping that
your organization possesses the resources to publicize this
very important issue and petition. The focus of the
petition is to force the Cashmere School District to pay
attention to this issue, and to do more to protect kids and
foster a safe environment for all students. Unless the
petition can show that there is actually a sizeable base of
support, the school district is under no pressure to do
anything different, and kids will continue to be singled out
for bullying. In fact, if the petition does not gather very
many signatures, the school district may take that as a
stamp of approval of their current practices, and feel they
are already doing exactly what the majority of people want.
I'm hoping that your organization can help publicize this
very important petition, and mobilize people to gather a
huge number of signatures. It's a tragedy that something
wasn't done earlier to prevent these deaths, but it would be
a greater tragedy if the remaining kids get the message that
nothing will ever change, and that suicide is the only
I sincerely hope that your organization can help.
Here is the
One life is ENOUGH! Stop Bullying in the
Cashmere School District
Why This Is Important
The reason for this
petition is due to the Cashmere School District failing to
follow it's own anti-harassment policies, which led to the
bullying and subsequent suicide of a beloved young teen,
only because he was openly gay.
The Petition Letter:
It's time for the Cashmere School District to
educate its students on the effects of bullying and to
reinforce that policy for its staff members, regardless of
their own beliefs on the issue of homosexuality. No
child should have to feel so helpless and alone that their
only measure of action is ending their own life.
No matter how much you disagree with someone,
they don't deserve to be physically or emotionally harmed.
To say that no staff member or classmate ever saw this
student being bullied, would be a figment of any logical
mind's imagination. The failure of the Cashmere School
District cannot go unanswered.
Rafael Morelos, 14, was punched in the locker
rooms, taunted in the classroom, and tormented online.
Maybe your child, your grand child, or your younger
sibling isn't homosexual, but what's to stop other
children from harassing them for being different? The
Cashmere School District certainly isn't going to stop
them as evidenced by its lack of response and change.
The only effort put forward by the
administration was at one time when appropriate action
was taken. This is a farse. If appropriate action had been
taken, then we wouldn't need to petition the school
district, Rafael would still be alive and his family would
not be mourning his death.
Although the Cashmere School District is not
entirely to blame, as this is a community issue, it is
important for the district to reinforce anti-harassments
and anti-bullying polices/procedures in staff and students
in any positive way.
So please, in an effort for equality, and in an
effort to save many more from pain, suffering, and even
death, sign this petition.
I will hand deliver these petitions to
Superintendent, Glenn Johnson and all other administrators
in the Cashmere School District, they already recieve an
email, but a show of petition in paper will make a much
I hope anyone reading this, demands change from
him and his school district as well!
It takes the voice of many to make a change for
If you wish to learn more about the reasons
behind this petition, or if you'd like to reach out to the
Cashmere School District and express your concern, the
information can be found here:
You can contact Superintendent
Glenn Johnson at: firstname.lastname@example.org
And please spread the word!
One life is ENOUGH!
The link tor this petition is:
Dear Gov. Gregoire, Sen. Parlette, Rep.
Condotta, Rep. Armstrong, Mayor Jeff Gomes, & district
In light of the recent suicide of Rafael Morelos
in the Cashmere School district, after being bullied for
being homosexual, I request that you revamp efforts to
educate your students in anti-bullying and anti-harassment
. I also request that you revamp your staff's effort to
protect the children they teach.
Although you can say that there is no evidence
of bullying, many friends have stated otherwise, and there
is no way that this young man was happied into killing
himself. This young man ended his life because of the
conglomeration of years of tormenting, name-calling, and
even physical violence.
The fact that either no staff or student saw or
reported Rafael's harassment, or that they did and
sufficient effort was not put forward by the
administration, speaks worlds about your policies and
procedures. Put simply, your staff failed to protect him,
and your students might as well have been the ones who
hanged him under your watchful eye! We as a community
will not allow you to fail again.
One life is ENOUGH! Please be the positive
change and push your district towards a safer environment
for its students, all of its students. Change your
policies and procedures in a way that makes them more
pertinent for your staff, and makes them stronger and
clearer for students.
I suggest more anti-bullying and anti harassment
assemblies, and increased teacher presence in students'
areas of social interaction. A zero-tolerance bullying
policy would be sufficient as well. You can no longer be
passive with your policies and procedures, you have to
increase your efforts. Rafael would still be alive if the
district was a more safe and positive environment.
Encourage a safe and positive environment for
students where bullying will not be tolerated. In doing
this you can change the Cashmere community for the better.
Know that this issue has been made into a public
petition on change.org, and will not disappear unless
sufficient effort is put forward by your administration
The petition can be found here:
Thank you for your time and effort.
Alert: Truth Wins Out
Outraged That Notorious Hate Band Preached Extremist Message
at High School -
From: Wayne Besen,
Executive Director [mailto:email@example.com]
On Behalf Of Wayne Besen, Executive Director
Sent: Wednesday, March 14, 2012 10:33 AM
Subject: TWO Outraged That Notorious Hate Band
Preached Extremist Message at High School
Band Member Told Students That Gays Die At Age
42, Says TWO
Truth Wins Out expressed outrage today that a
fundamentalist rock band known for preaching offensive hate
messages was allowed to spew its misinformation at a
Dunkerton High School assembly. While on-stage a Junkyard
Prophet band member said, Homosexuals died at the age of
42. Bradlee Dean, a Minnesota radio talk show host who had
been praised by Rep. Michele Bachmann, leads the rock band.
According to reports, students and teachers at an Iowa
high school say they were blindsided when a traveling band slammed them
with anti-gay, anti-abortion and other extremist views during what was
billed as an assembly about bullying.
We are outraged that
students were subjected to such a disgusting, hate-filled
message that clearly violated the separation of church and
state, said Truth Wins Out's Executive Director Wayne
Besen. School administrators have to do their homework to ensure
they are aren't booking extremists with sectarian agendas.
In fact, Truth Wins Out's Center
Against Radical Extremism warned in April 2010 that Dean
boasted to a panel at the Awakening conference in Lynchburg,
VA, We've been to 330 schools and only two asked us to
leave. Upon hearing this, Vision America's Rick Scarborough
cheered Dean and declared, We need more special forces like
yourself, and then spoke of the importance in engaging in
Superintendent Jim Stanton responded to the
community's fury by saying that Junkyard Prophet offered a
very strong anti-violence, anti-drug, anti-alcohol message.
He added that the presenters shared an opinion about intolerance
that's not in line with the beliefs of the Dunkerton Community Schools.
We promote tolerance for one another. We will continue to celebrate
diversity in our student body.
While Stanton's words are welcome, it is baffling
that the band was reportedly allowed to perform and remain
on campus for three hours, causing many students to break
down in tears. Many in the community are calling on Stanton
to resign, while some reports says he was already
considering stepping down.
We are profoundly
disgusted that Junkyard Prophet was allowed to perform,
and even more disturbed that school officials did not pull
out the hook and yank these fanatics off of the stage,
said TWO's Besen. It is crucial that schools understand that
religious zealots are actively searching for ways to infiltrate
classrooms to indoctrinate youth with extremist messages. It is the
responsibility of school administrators to stop the attacks on
students as soon as they recognize that they are occurring. In this
case, the school badly failed at the expense of the students' mental
Dean is also the founder of the
Minnesota Christian organization You Can Run But You Cannot
Hide, which the Southern Poverty Law Center has listed as an
official hate group. Dean has called LGBT people predators
and child molesters and caused a brouhaha when he gave the
opening prayer in the Minnesota State House.
LGBT people were not the band's only targets while
at the event. Junkyard Prophet attacked Lady Gaga, Elton
John, and women.
They told my daughter, the girls, that they were
going to have mud on their wedding dresses if they weren't
virgins, one mother of a Dunkerton High School junior, told
the Lacrosse Tribune. The girls were told to assume a
submissive role in their household and remain pure until
marriage, students said. The boys said they were shown
images of musicians who died of drug overdoses and images of
aborted fetuses. The Tribune reported that the school
district is working to get back the $1,500 fee they paid
Junkyard Prophet for the school event.
Very rarely do such hate organizations stick to
attacking one group or minority, added TWO's Communications
Director John Becker. They usually have a wide array of targets they
dislike and aren't shy about denigrating a number of people.
It appears that the band's assertion that gay men
die at age 42 comes from the disgraced researcher Paul
Cameron of the Family Research Institute, who was
permanently expelled from the American Psychological
Association and the Nebraska Psychological Association for
peddling falsehoods about LGBT people.
Truth Wins Out is a nonprofit organization that
fights anti-LGBT extremism. TWO specializes in turning
information into action by organizing, advocating and
fighting for LGBT equality.
e-mail superintendent Jim Stanton at express your disgust
that a hate group was allowed to speak:
Truth Wins Out | P.O. Box 96 | Burlington | VT |
3) News on the anti-bullying front: Senate Bill
1555 from Oregon Safe Schools and Communities Coalition
From: Oregon Safe
Schools and Communities Coalition
Sent: Monday, March 12,
2012 12:10 PM
Subject: News on the
anti-bullying front: Senate Bill 1555
Having trouble viewing
this email? Click here
Legislative Update on
Senate Bill 1555
The Oregon School
Psychologist's Association (OSPA) led the effort over the
past year to amend the Oregon Safe Schools Act, which will
require school employees to report acts of harassment,
intimidation or bullying and acts of cyber bullying. Last
month, Basic Rights Oregon, OSSCC and the Healthy Kids Learn
Better Coalition all voiced support for OSPA's bill, Senate
Bill 1555. It passed both the Senate and the House
unanimously and is awaiting a signature from the Governor.
OSPA is a longtime member of our coalition and contributor
to the good work that happens in schools around the State.
The following are comments OSSCC submitted in support of
Aaron Ridings and Joy
Co-Chairs, Oregon Safe
Schools & Community Coalition
Oregon Safe Schools and
Communities Coalition (OSSCC) is comprised of over 150
members including school districts and community
OSSCC seeks to create safe
schools and communities where every family can belong, every
educator can teach, and every child can learn regardless of
actual or perceived sexual orientation or gender identity.
SB 1555 strengthens
Oregon's bullying prevention measures, adding components
that are necessary for comprehensive school safety,
including attention to cyber-bullying and mandatory staff
training and incident reporting.
More robust reporting not
only helps school leaders better understand their school's
climate, but will also highlight the presence of bullying
'hot spots' that would benefit from increased adult
presence. Other states have shown that mandatory reporting
is easy and efficient to implement and crucial for
developing school-wide plans to decrease student harassment.
Perhaps the most important
element of SB 1555 is the required integration into existing
staff training, with the addition of information about how
to intervene in bullying incidents. Research consistently
shows bullying can be prevented by educating all staff about
how to identify and intervene when they first see bullying
and every time thereafter.
Please Support SB
1555! Thank You!
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