Intolerants Rally Around OC Education Board Rebuke of Harvey Milk Day

Categories: School Daze
Harvey Milk
The life of Harvey Milk may have inspired several Bay Area politicians, millions of Americans and the Oscar-winning performance by actor Sean Penn, but a day dedicated to the life of the first openly gay man elected to public office in California is too much for the Orange County Board of Education to bear.

The board voted unanimously on Sept. 17 to oppose state Senate Bill 572, which would declare "Harvey Milk Day" on May 22.
Ken Williams
"SB 572's agenda would interfere with our children's education and detract from our schools' academic purpose," says Ken Williams, the proudly conservative president of the board. "The governor vetoed this social engineering bill last year and he should veto it again."

The board cloaked its objection behind commemorative school exercises mentioned in the bill, saying they would "reduce important classroom time in core subject areas." 

"Instructional time is at a premium and students cannot afford to lose quality educational time," reads the board's opposition statement.

Funny, the board has never said that about efforts to introduce prayer time in public schools.

Williams is an interesting bird. The Garden Grove native was elected to Orange County Board of Education in 1996 after running on a "back to education basics" theme. His website touts how he "serves his constituents as a conservative advocate promoting the family, public safety and safe schools, high academic standards, educational accountability, parental rights and a . . . traditional approach to education."

The physician also speaks out against what he calls "socialized medicine," sex education that does not stress abstinence and definitions of marriage that involve anything other than one man and one woman.

The board's opposition to Harvey Milk Day was hailed by, which calls itself "a statewide pro-family, pro-child organization."  

Randy Thomasson
"The effect of SB 572 upon children as young as kindergarten could be extreme," says Randy Thomasson, that group's president. "There's no definition and no limit to the 'suitable commemorative exercises' that children would perform in honor of Harvey Milk. This could include gay-pride parades on campus, cross-dressing exercises, and mock gay weddings. There's nothing prohibiting this and no parental permission either. This instruction, whether taught directly or indirectly, is not what parents want or children need."

Thomasson claims schoolchildren would be exposed to Milk's "very controversial values."

"Based on the historical record of Milk's sordid life, this could include teaching elementary and secondary schoolchildren that adult-child homosexual 'sex' is okay, having multiple sexual relationships at the same time is okay, and telling a very public lie is good if it 'gets you ahead.'"

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