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.
This stuff is stupid, the sandpoint charter school is the best school I’ve been to. The principal at my school rocks she is sweet, caring, and kind. And fyi the teachers are amazing as well they actually care about the students and seem to want the best for you, they will help you to make sure you achieve your goals. And by the way to all you stupid people, having a club isn’t wrong it’s what you do about it that is wrong. So haters stop hating on my teachers, principal and school…..please and thank you?
So you think it’s right to recruit a child to a club that normalizes sexual behavior behind parents backs? What your teachers and principal did was wrong and illegal, and your principal encouraged my child to attend after she knew we said no. They broke Federal Law. You guys need to learn that demanding parental notification is not hating. Not wanting your child in this club is not hate. People have different belief systems, and right now you are judging based on your emotions. I use logic in deciding what is right and wrong. Having the club is fine by me, but when my child, who is vulnerable and on the autism spectrum is brought to this club you’d better bet I will sue, not for money, but to ensure this never happens again. I am the parent here, and one day when you are a parent you will understand.
Maybe I am a parent already. So don’t think I don’t understand how you feel cause I realize how u feel but it doesn’t mean you have to cause trouble for other people and influence others opinions just cause you dont don’t like one thing that happened.
Note the supporter’s of such policies are silent, hoping for this “crisis” to blow over. Secrecy is nothing but ordinary in Sandpoint Public Schools. FBCS’s formal line of authority goes thru LPOSD. The secrecy to keep documents from the public is nothing short of amazing at LPOSD and now appears at FBCS. LPOSD’s SHS has a human rights task force student club (LGBTQ sympathetic? parental notification?). The actions of the FBCS Principal are disgraceful at best. The FBCS Board of Directors, like the LPOSD Board of Directors is/was knowledgeable of these closed/secretive “policies.” Until maximum objection is reached and declared, that time now being upon us, recognition by boards will remain minimal! I don’t know what the Board selection process is at FBCS as they are nowhere publicly to be found. The case for closed societies is now obviously apparent at both LPOSD and FBCS, there was never a better time to find new morally appropriate Trustees at both LPOSD and FBCS than today. Fortunately, LPOSD has three of five Board members up for election in MAY 2017, all open races. Find the true moral and intellectual candidate in those races to add balance to liberal philosophy permeating these school boards, I’m sure our community can do much better. Help spread the names of qualified LPOSD candidates by attending candidate forums. Seek impeachment of any current FBCS Board of Directors who bought into this policy or support of this Principal. Creativity in this effort is left to those who are concerned, “wildfires” starts with a small flame.
I am so thankful that all my children are beyond school age! I find it hard to believe this is even taking place, in ANY school regardless the state! Parents have been stripped of enough rights in regards to their basic rights in raising their own children by state and federal funded entities. We are supposed to be able to entrust our children’s safety with the education system. I would never willing enroll my children in a facility that was so bold as to make a move such as this!! The schools position is to be of academic nature PERIOD! What a disgrace and disservice to foremost, the young minds that attend this facility, their families, and the community. I would have these individuals in court so fast it would make their heads spin!
Why is this a surprise? This is in Sandpoint, after all. The same town that pulls off Shawn Keough getting elected year after year (even though her voting record is spotty conservative at best) are the people who get away doing things like this; the same who are trying to shut down access to Scotchman Peak. Very few people in N. Idaho really care about things like this – nothing to see here, move along.
I’m not necessarily against the club (depending on the intent and activities, which are unclear), but the way this is being done in secrecy, against parental wishes, and with outside activists is completely unacceptable.
I also agree with the comment above that the school should, if anything, be encouraging “normal” relationships – or just stay out of it completely. I’d hate to think someone went through a brief “confused” period in their life and ended up with a longer period (if not life) of difficulty for no particular reason other than some activists encouraged it.
Schools need to stick with education and not interfering with personal life and family decisions. I’m sure it would be unacceptable to these progressives if conservatives had secret meetings at school applying conversion therapy against the parents’ wishes.
The principal should resign effectively immediately. The school board should be demanding that resignation.
After all…this IS North Idaho
Oh – so , having a ‘secret’ invitation only (homo) sex club for minors is ‘progressive’. Got it.
If they were not doing something wrong, they would not have tried to hide it.
Gay clubs for high school students opens the door for those who are easily influenced and confused to make physical contact with others of the same sex. This is something that, among other things, the school ought to work hard to avoid and sponsor events that build character and natural gender relationships. High school is a tough time for any youngster. We ought not to make it worse.
Wow ! There are much, much, darker implications when adults try to set up “Secret” sexual activities with children. As is well known, sexual predators will go to great lengths and use any subterfuge to gratify their sick compulsion. This is an opportunity for some social cleansing.