Sandpoint Charter School Secret Gay Club
by Shari Dovale
The Principal of Forrest M. Bird Charter School in Sandpoint, Mary Jensen, has admitted that she, and her staff, have recruited students to join a secret gay club against the wishes of their parents.
It has not been identified as to what criteria they used to identify the students they chose for this clandestine group. It is known that she and her staff did not want the parents to find out.
The staff, coordinating with community activists, attempted to start a Gay-Straight Alliance (GSA) club at Sandpoint Jr. High School but were thwarted in their efforts when the parents of the students refused to give permission for their children to participate.
Via Liberty Counsel:
A school administrator was caught colluding with community activists to recruit students of the Forrest M. Bird Charter School to join a Gay-Straight Alliance (GSA), while intentionally hiding this information from their parents. Principal Mary Jensen admitted the secrecy under which school staff and others had operated.
Some of the same adults had even facilitated kids meeting off-campus at a local library under the supervision of “supportive” third parties. Jensen stated that they wanted to be “a progressive school on that sort of thing, but we did not want to be ‘in-your-face’,” so parents could not prevent their children from attending.
She states “we’re keeping it kind of on the down low,” because “this is North Idaho,” and “kids who wanted to participate in the club did not necessarily want their parents to know.”
The story came to light when a student, who is an Autism Spectrum Disorder (“ASD”) child, was recruited by Jensen, along with staff members Michael Bigley and Becky Campbell, to participate in the secret club.
Ms. Jensen also stated that a “community member for PFLAG is transgender,” and that this individual and Morgan Gariepy (the East Sandpoint Library Teen Coordinator) wanted the club to sponsor community events for the LGBTQ and “Allies.”
“Once they get the club going, the next step is to start community events – probably next year.”
“The adults – me, the Bigley’s, Allison, Leo Huntsinger, and then Morgan, we spent months trying to do this thing.”
When the child’s parent found out about the secret club, they made it very clear to the school that they did not want their child participating. The school refused to honor the parent’s wishes and continued to send the child to GSA meetings during school hours and on school property.
When called out about this denial of parental rights, the staff confirmed they “will not assist Mr. & Mrs. Doe in their desires for their child’s associations while in the School’s care.” So, they doubled down and restated their intentions to continue to hold meetings without informing the parents.
Principal Jensen verified that the GSA was wholly created by adult staff and outside persons over “months” and that staff then hand-picked and recruited students they believed should be in the GSA.
Copies of the correspondence went to its board members: Jim Zuberbuhler (chair), Kate McAlister (vice chair), Robin Ruppert, Chris Warren and Bill Hertzberg. It seems that they have placed their stamp of approval on denying parental rights, as well.
Parent permission slips, and parent involvement, are standard procedure in this school. They are required for nearly everything, including field trips, medicine, and even dress code. Yet, they are not required for a political-activist group.
The School now claims no violation of parental rights, despite staff intentionally recruiting students without their parents’ knowledge, and intentionally keeping parents ignorant that their children are being recruited by outside adults for a politically-activist club which promotes homosexuality and gender confusion.
The School “will not comply with [the] demand” for its teachers to be present in a supervisory, rather than activist, capacity. The School will “allow” and may “encourage” non-school persons to be present at the GSA meetings at the ostensible “invitation of students.”
The School, belatedly, claims that it will not recruit or actively encourage students to join the GSA, but it still refuses to inform parents of children whom it already recruited.
Though Principal Jensen said they didn’t want the word to get out and be ‘in-your-face’, so parents could not prevent their children from attending, now that the word has gotten out, it seems she is all about being ‘in-your-face’ for denying parents the right to have a say in their child’s life.
They seem to recognize that in North Idaho, moral convictions are important in the family unit. This is not their agenda. They want to change the Christian conservative culture in our community, and they intend to use the children to accomplish their objectives.
Do they not see what this will do to the credibility of their school? How can a parent knowingly enroll their child in a school that so blatantly disregards parental rights? The loss of trust here is Enormous!
The law sides with the parents, and so does North Idaho.
Idaho law allows for recordings with authorization from one party. Listen to Principal Mary Jensen admitting the secrecy.