Ryan Lee, Associate Writer: News & Current Events
“The answer to the serious problem of bullying is not more federal intervention in education,” the GOProud agenda states. “Instead, we support empowering parents and families by supporting school choice initiatives and protecting the right of parents to home school their children.”
While resisting federal involvement into local school matters is a natural conservative position, it’s less clear how vouchers and home schooling – both pillars of conservative education policy – would do anything to make schools safer for LGBT students.
“It allows parents who have kids who are bullied to make sure they go to school in a safe environment,” Jimmy LaSalvia, executive director of GOProud, told Fenuxe Thursday. “If they decide that their school isn’t safe, they can take the child to a school of their choice.
“We have taken the position that big government solutions, government-mandated curriculum, is not the solution,” he added.
LaSalvia characterized anti-gay bullying as a widespread epidemic that must be confronted.
“I think first and foremost, bullying is a problem,” he said. “I certainly know, personally, and I know that many, many, many gay people across the world know personally, what it’s like to be bullied because of their perceived sexual orientation. It’s important for all of us to make it known that it’s not OK.”
LaSalvia countered the notion that GOProud’s “Education Reform” plank does more to promote tenets of conservative ideology than address anti-gay bullying.
“I think that this is an example of how a conservative policy proposal that’s good for everybody can have a unique benefit to gay kids and gay parents,” LaSalvia said. “Down the list of our agenda, you see examples of how conservative policies that benefit everybody may have unique benefits for gay Americans. This policy [of school vouchers and home schooling] that’s put forth by a lot of conservatives can help make sure gay kids are safe.”