How LGBT-related issues are covered in schools probably varies, but in 2013 it was discovered that Maryland’s Prince George’s County Public Schools (PGCPS) system had what is – hopefully – a novel approach. In their health PGC seventh-graders were shown the video “Acception”, which promotes ex-gay therapy disguised as an anti-bullying message that turns out to be “want to avoid being bullied? Get straight” – it’s a pretty fringe-crazy documentary (it probably doesn’t need to be mentioned that ex-gay therapy has been widely condemned as ineffective and harmful), and reasonable people might want to know how it ended up on the curriculum for PGC students.
Well, it turns out that infamous ex-gay therapist Richard Cohen, who was proudly and permanently expelled from the American Counseling Association in 2002, had managed to land himself a position on the PGCPS Health Council. It is not known exactly how that happened, but it is telling that the district’s (now retired) supervisor for health education, Betsy Gallun, thinks students deserve to learn about ex-gay therapy and emphasizes that she “feels very badly that it’s coming under scrutiny” when the story broke, which is surely not the right response. A district spokesman later reported that the district has now pulled the video “because there was too much focus on alternative lifestyles.”
Diagnosis: That offshoots of the Texas Taliban is trying to ruin public education from the inside is hardly news, but still deserves exposure and mockery. And it’s still hard for us to fathom how someone can manage to be so brazenly underhanded as Betsy Gallun. Hopefully neutralized, though.