Friday, May 16, 2014

Open Letter to Seattle Public Schools

[UPDATE 6/13/2014: Click for the response from SPS to this letter]

Dear Mr. José Banda, Superintendent of Seattle Public Schools
 
By way of introduction, I am Scoutmaster of Troop 98 operating out of the Rainier Beach United Methodist Church. This Troop is no longer affiliated with the Chief Seattle Council (CSC) nor the Boy Scouts of America (BSA) at their request, because of their policy of anti-gay discrimination (institutional homophobia).
 
BSA generally and CSC in particular is an employer that discriminates against LGBT in all its employment practices. As such it is in violation of city codes as well as policies within the district. Additionally it is in violation of equal employment codes of the state of Washington. These facts and obligations are well-documented and accessible in this document published by the OSPI:
The discrimination of BSA and CSC is well documented in the public record, and is referred to directly in these recent letters from our elected officials--I urge you to review them: 
Seattle Public Schools (SPS) permits so-called "non-discriminating" programs of CSC called "Learning for Life" (LFL) (sometimes also called "Exploring") and “Scoutreach.” These programs just like all other programs of BSA discriminate against LGBT employment.

I would like to be clear on this point: LFL and Scoutreach program employees are operating under contract or other inter-operation with SPS. They are Chief Seattle Council employees. LFL is owned and operated by local BSA Councils. As they are Council/BSA employees, they are subject to BSA's membership and employment standards -- which means no LGBT BSA employees, in LFL or any other program. BSA and LFL are not separate entities, and as far as I know BSA is the only non-denominational youth organization that has such an explicit policy regarding LGBT employees.

Sir, it is critical for the Seattle Public Schools to become compliant under the law. Please let me know as soon as possible your plans to end further inter-operation between SPS and CSC.

Sincerely,

Geoffrey C. McGrath, MSW
geoffrey. mcgrath @ gmail.com
@geoffmcgrath