Obama's 'Safe Schools' Czar Admits He Poorly Handled Underage Sex Case
Kevin Jennings was teaching high school in 1988 when a gay student confessed an involvement with an older man. Rather than reporting it, he told the boy, "I hope you knew to use a condom."
By Maxim Lott
Wednesday, September 30, 2009
[Note emphasis mine]
President Obama's "safe schools czar" Kevin Jennings said Wednesday he "should have handled [the] situation differently" when he didn't report an underage student told him that he was having sex with an older man.
Jennings, the founder of the Gay, Lesbian, and Straight Education Network, was teaching high school in Concord, Mass., in 1988 when a sophomore boy confessed an involvement with a man in Boston. He told the boy, "I hope you knew to use a condom."
In a statement, Jennings said: "Twenty one years later I can see how I should have handled this situation differently. I should have asked for more information and consulted legal or medical authorities." [Really? Legal or medical authorities? Really? He still doesn't know which one he sould call? Really? And this monster is advising the president?]
Jennings insisted that he believes his office could help keep other new teachers from making the same mistake.
His defense comes amid additional discoveries about his past statements on his interaction with the gay high school student, referred to as "Brewster" in his 1994 book "One Teacher in 10," and a speech he gave in 2000.
In his 2007 autobiography, "Mama's Boy, Preacher's Son: A Memoir," Jennings discusses nearly the same story but calls the student "Robertson."
On page 162, Jennings writes: "Robertson soon told me the tale, about someone he'd met in Boston, how he thought he loved him, how heartbroken he was when his calls never got returned..."
On page 169, he continues: "As the fall wore on, Robertson continued to drop by my office to chat, often updating me on his latest 'adventures.' Sometimes these startled me, and I began to underline the importance of safe sex to him. One day he snapped back, 'Why should I use a condom? My life isn't worth saving anyway.'"
[How many times did he have to discuss his stupid irrational self-centered decision before someone finally said, "Hey, dude, you screwed the pooch on that call"? Is there no one in his life to aadvise him, at the very least, "Hey, man, shut up about that story. You blew it, man. You should be embarassed, not proud of that decision."?] Jennings was appointed to the position largely because of his longtime record of working to end bullying and discrimination in schools, but critics say he's not qualified for the job.
Peter Sprigg of the Family Research Council says Jennings' past remarks about the incident call into question the sincerity of his new statement.
"It's not as though, 'oh, this was a youthful mistake I made as a brand-new teacher, but now that I'm an adult I realize that I handled it wrong.' Because he has told this story as recently as last year, in another book, and has not expressed any regret until now. So that indicates to me that this is more out of political necessity than it is about genuine remorse," Sprigg told FOX News.
Department of Education spokesman Justin Hamilton declined to comment on Jennings' statements about the incident, since it took place in 1988. [Apparently, as long as you were wrong 20-30 years ago, it doesn't count.]
But, Obama's Secretary of Education Arne Duncan, dived into the fray, saying he is "honored" to work with Jennings, whom he defended as "uniquely qualified for his job" -- a sign the White House is digging in against the mounting criticism. [THIS is the battle they are choosing? THIS is the gay man they are deciding to take a stand on? Really?]
Jennings also released a statement on his past writings on drug use.
"I have written about the factors that have led me to use drugs as a teen. This experience qualifies me to help students and teachers who are confronting these issues today."
On page 103, discussing his high school years in Hawaii in the early 1980s, Jennings wrote: "I got stoned more often and went out to the beach at Bellows, overlooking Honolulu Harbor and the lights of the city, to drink with my buddies on Friday and Saturday nights, spending hours watching the planes take off and land at the airport, which is actually quite fascinating when you are drunk and stoned."
Sprigg said he would like to see a more specific statement from Jennings.
"We still haven't heard a clear and explicit statement from him that no one of any age should use illegal drugs, including marijuana. That would seem to be a prerequisite for the position he is in," he said.
He also said that the whole situation reflected poorly on the vetting procedures of the Obama administration.
"I suspect that the vetting procedure for Jennings was fairly superficial... This controversy about the possible statutory rape was raised in 2004 when he received an award from the NEA. So it's not like it's been a secret. So I think it shows yet another failure of the Obama administration's vetting process." [Well, if he's good enough for the NEA, then by God he is good enough for this administration!]