Gay Activist's Position over Schools Challenged

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WASHINGTON -- There are more questions about who is being put into important government positions. This time, its about who's in charge of protecting America's schools.

Kevin Jennings has been appointed to lead the Obama administration's Safe School office in the Department of Education.

Jennings is also a self-described homosexual activist and the founder of the the Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education Network.

But it's an incident from his time as a teacher that is at the center of an emerging controversy.
 
For Jennings, it's the 21st Century version of This is Your Life -- courtesy of those opposing his new job.

First, his time as leader of the Gay/Straight Alliance Network.

"I am happy to tell you that we have indeed come a very, very long way, and afraid I also have to tell you we have not come nearly far enough," Jennings said to other activists in a video posted on YouTube.

The Family Research Council is pushing for Jennings' resignation, setting up a Web site that has led thousands of e-mails to Congress and the president.

"He's a radical homosexual activist who has been a pioneer in pushing a pro-homosexual agenda on schools," said Peter Sprigg, senior fellow for policy studies with FRC.
 
It's titled: "Obama Chose This Teacher to Guide Your Children" and lists past quotes against the religious right and others pushing homosexuality in schools.

The main controversy concerns Jennings the school teacher.

In 1988, a 15-year-old boy confessed to Jennings that he was having homosexual sex with an adult. But Jennings did not report the abuse of a minor to authorities. Critics say he failed to protect the boy from a sexual predator. Defenders say Jennings had no evidence that a crime had been committed.

Jennings has told different versions of the story, but the conservative blogosphere discovered a recording of Jennings talking about the incident.

"So I said, 'What were you doing in Boston on a school night, Brewster?' He got very quiet, and he finally looked at me and said, 'Well, I met someone in the bus station bathroom and I went home with him.' High school sophomore, 15 years old. That was the only way he knew how to meet gay people. I was a closeted gay teacher, 24 years old, didn't know what to say. Knew I should say something quickly, so I finally said, 'My best friend had just died of AIDS the week before.' I looked at Brewster and said, 'You know, I hope you knew to use a condom,'" Jennings said in the audio recording from 2000.

Critics believe this recording is evidence that Jennings is unfit to protect America's schools.

"This is a man who's in charge of safe schools and yet the only thing he would do to protect the safety of a 15-year-old boy engaged in high-risk sexual conduct was to wear a condom. I think that makes him unfit for the position that he's been appointed to," Sprigg said.

After pressing the Education Department, CBN News obtained this statement from Kevin Jennings:

"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."
 
The Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education Network isn't waiting to see if that apology makes this controversy go away. It has created a petition that says, "Stop the Anti-Gay Slander against Kevin Jennings."
 
Education Secretary Arne Duncan is standing by his man saying, "Kevin Jennings has dedicated his professional career to promoting school safety. He is uniquely qualified for his job and I am honored to have him on our team."
 
The question remains if that will be enough.

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