Drew Zahn is a WND news editor who cut his journalist teeth as a member of the award-winning staff of Leadership, Christianity Today's professional journal for church leaders. A former pastor, he is the editor of seven books, including Movie-Based Illustrations for Preaching & Teaching, which sparked his ongoing love affair with film and his weekly WND column, "Popcorn and a (world)view."More ↓Less ↑
The mother of a Wisconsin teenager was stunned when her high school senior brought home a questionnaire assigned by his English teacher that asked, among several provocative questions, “Is it possible that your heterosexuality stems from a neurotic fear of others of the same sex?”
The mother, Marilyn Hanson, reviewed the questionnaire and thought it completely inappropriate for any class, but especially for a required English class, where, Hanson told WND, “They should be taught to read and write and prepare for college.”
“I really believe this was outright indoctrination to the homosexual viewpoint,” Hanson said. “I could see this being discussed in a debate class, where both sides were presented. But the other side was not presented.”
Hanson told WND, “I think they’re trying to shove [homosexuality] down our throats.”
Hanson’s son, Alex, originally thought he was required to complete the questionnaire for the next day’s class. He was struggling, however, to answer the following questions:
What do you think caused your heterosexuality?
When and how did you decide you were a heterosexual?
Is it possible that your heterosexuality is just a phase you may grow out of?
Is it possible that your heterosexuality stems from a neurotic fear of others of the same sex?
Do your parents know that you are straight? Do your friends and/or roommate(s) know? How did they react?
Why do you insist on flaunting your heterosexuality? Can’t you just be who you are and keep it quiet?
Why do heterosexuals feel compelled to seduce others into their lifestyles?
A disproportionate majority of child molesters are heterosexual. So you consider it safe to expose children to heterosexual teachers?
With all the societal support marriage receives, the divorce rate is spiraling. Why are there so few stable relationships among heterosexuals?
Statistics show that lesbians have the lowest incidence of sexually transmitted diseases. Is it really safe for a woman to maintain a heterosexual lifestyle and run the risk of disease and pregnancy?
Considering the menace of overpopulation, how could the human race survive if everyone were heterosexual?
Would you want your child to be heterosexual, knowing the problems that s/he would face?
Hanson told WND she went the next morning to see her son’s teacher at Pecatonica High School in tiny Blanchardville, Wis., population 806.
“What does this questionnaire have to do with English class?” Hanson asked.
Hanson told WND the teacher’s response was that the questions were not an assignment but a discussion guide for the day’s class on “tolerance.”
“As I was talking to the principal,” Hanson said, “I told him tolerance is fine. We shouldn’t be mean or call people names. We want to love homosexuals, but I think this goes beyond tolerance.”
Principal Dave McSherry, however, told WND that the discussion was part of a comprehensive curriculum in critical thinking skills, preparing the students to make decisions on their own in college and beyond.
“Our English department does excellent work in writing language arts, getting kids to be able to discuss and debate issues, and engage in critical thinking,” McSherry said. “The critical thinking part is the biggest part we’re trying to get these kids to learn. As they move on to college, we want them to be able to think for themselves, be able to weigh issues and hopefully make smart decisions down the road.”
McSherry told WND the questionnaire was presented as a prompt to discussion and debate and that to simply react to the list of questions is to take the issue out of context.
“We’re not promoting homosexuality,” McSherry said. “We never have, never will.”
Hanson told WND McSherry explained to her he had approved the lesson in accordance with a school policy that permits teachers to discuss controversial topics, so long as they have gained the principal’s permission, which the teacher did.
Now Hanson is hoping to find some way of getting the school’s policy changed.
“Why is the abuse of this rule on controversial issues being done by this teacher and principal?” Hanson asked. “I think it’s behind the parents’ backs, because unless the students show their parents this worksheet, they aren’t going to know about it.”
Hanson also contacted legal organizations, but she told WND that they advised unless parents can pressure the school into changing its policy on controversial topics, she has little legal recourse.