Like the LGBT Center OC, the Democratic Party of Orange County is calling for the censure and immediate resignation of Orange County Board of Education President Robert Hammond, who referred to gay people as “sodomites” and wrote a letter to a county schools employee suggesting his outing as a homosexual.
The county party also called on former Lt. Gov. Cruz Bustamante and former state Senate majority leader Gloria Romero to distance themselves from Hammond, whose reelection campaign material states the prominent California Democrats endorse him.
Romero and Bustamante earn paychecks these days from business lobbies seeking more charter schools in the state, as does Christian conservative Republican Hammond.
Laura W. Kanter, director of Policy, Advocacy and Youth Programs with the LGBT Center OC, has also called for Hammond’s removal from the board due to the gay-shaming accusations. David Boyd, a fellow OC Board of Education trustee, has asked for an investigation into whether Hammond was creating a hostile workplace.
But Hammond counters that many others besides him refer to gays as sodomites and that his letter to the district employee was taken out of context. The board president says he was pointing out it is as inappropriate to ask a student his or her sexual orientation as it would be to out a schools employee.
The Democratic Party of Orange County statement:
Whereas: It is the duty of local education agencies to protect children in the public schools from discrimination, harassment, intimidation and bullying on the basis of disability, gender, gender identity, gender expression, nationality, race or ethnicity, religion AND sexual orientation.
and Whereas: Students who are lesbian, gay, bisexual, or transgender (LGBT) are subject to pervasive discrimination, including harassment, bullying, intimidation, and violence and actions that target students based on sexual orientation or gender identity represent a distinct and severe problem that contributes to high rates of absenteeism, academic underachievement, truancy, and adverse physical and mental health consequences among LGBT youth.
and Whereas Orange County Board of Education Trustee and Board President Robert Hammond has attempted to prevent the collection of important data through the California Healthy Kids Survey (CHKS), and has acted to prevent the implementation of policies that protect lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender students and, through the use of homophobic and transphobic rhetoric, has created an unsafe climate in the Orange County Department of Education and a hostile work environment for LGBT people.
Resolved: The DPOC strongly condemns Trustee Hammond’s ongoing attempts to undermine the implementation of the California Healthy Kids Survey as well his use of homophobic hate speech and calls for his immediate censure and resignation from the OC Board of Education.
Resolved: The DPOC calls on former Democratic office holders Gloria Romero and Cruz Bustamonte to immediately disassociate themselves from Trustee Hammond and his homophobic rhetoric and policies.
Adopted by DPOC: Monday, May 23, 2016
The CHKS is described as “the largest statewide survey of resiliency, protective factors, and risk behaviors in the nation. ” Along with partner studies the California School Climate Survey and the California School Parent Survey, CHKS is regarded as a model program in U.S. Department of Education research related to the Obama administration’s “Blueprint for Reform: The Reauthorization of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act.”
Hammond recently called for repeal of the CHKS because one survey question asks seventh- and eighth-graders to reveal their sexual orientation.
OC Weekly Editor-in-Chief Matt Coker has been engaging, enraging and entertaining readers of newspapers, magazines and websites for decades. He spent the first 13 years of his career in journalism at daily newspapers before “graduating” to OC Weekly in 1995 as the alternative newsweekly’s first calendar editor.