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Equality NC Calls on Gov. McCrory to Reconsider Collins Appointment to N.C. Task Force on Safer Schools

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Buddy Collins

Raleigh, N.C. – Equality NC responded today to news that N.C. Governor Pat McCrory has appointed Buddy Collins, an outspoken opponent of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) equality, to serve on the state’s Task Force on Safer Schools.

Equality NC encourages its supporters to contact Gov. McCrory's office at Phone: (919) 814-2000, and ask that he protect *all* North Carolina students by reconsidering his nomination of Buddy Collins. Supporters can also send an e-mail, fax or tweet request via the Office of the Governor website at www.governor.state.nc.us/contact.

Collins, a member of the Winston-Salem/Forsyth County Board of Education as well as the North Carolina State Board of Education, has a troubling record of anti-LGBT statements and actions. In 2009, Collins opposed a move to protect LGBT students from bullying and harassment. Collins also has a history of antagonizing LGBT rights advocates in Forsyth County.

Today, Chris Sgro, executive director of Equality NC, the state's premier LGBT advocacy organization, called on Gov. McCrory to reconsider this appointment. “We call on Gov. McCrory to reconsider his incredibly disappointing and controversial appointment of Buddy Collins to a two-year term on the state Task Force on Safer Schools. Given his derogatory views of the LGBT families and his willingness to put some of our states most vulnerable children at risk of bullying - it defies logic that Gov. McCrory would appoint Mr. Collins to a position so directly tied to protecting the rights and safety of all North Carolina students,” said Sgro. “All students, no matter their sexual orientation or gender identity, deserve a high quality education, in a safe environment and free of harassment of any kind. We fear this choice of Buddy Collins puts these basic tenets in true jeopardy."

BACKGROUND

Collins Voted Against a Policy Revision That Added “Sexual Orientation” to The List of Characteristics in its Rules Prohibiting Bullying and Harassing Behavior. According to the Winston-Salem Journal, “The board gave preliminary approval to a policy revision that added ‘sexual orientation’ to the list of characteristics in its rules prohibiting bullying and harassing behavior. The change is necessary to put the local school system in compliance with state-mandated policy. Board member Buddy Collins voted against the motion.” [Winston-Salem Journal, 7/29/09]

After the Gay Lesbian and Straight Education Network of Winston-Salem Lobbied the School System to Expand its Parent-Student Survey, Collins Said of the Group, “Their Opinions are of no Value to Me.” According to the Winston-Salem Journal, “The Winston-Salem/Forsyth County school system will be sending out its annual parent- student survey this spring with new questions about bullying, racism, homophobia, sexism and discrimination against handicapped students. The move comes despite the objections of some board members who think that including questions about homosexuality is unnecessary. The school system has questioned students and parents about the school climate for more than five years. But after recent discussions with parents, educators, students and representatives from the Gay Lesbian and Straight Education Network of Winston-Salem, officials decided to expand the questionnaire…Board member Buddy Collins said during a school-board briefing last night that the school system shouldn't have agreed to GLSEN's request to include questions about discrimination against gays. ‘Their opinions are of no value to me. They are a group that is totally without qualifications to come to this school system,’ Collins said. ‘Why are we wasting our time with feel-good questions?’” [Winston-Salem Journal, 2/4/03]

Collins Told Superintendent Don Martin That He Was “Disappointed” Martin Allowed His Staff To Interact With GLSEN. According to the Winston-Salem Journal, “This latest saga started a year ago, when an advocacy group called the Gay, Lesbian, Straight Education Network asked the school board to strengthen its anti-harassment policy to explicitly protect gay students. The board said no. Last fall, however, GLSEN members quietly began meeting with school officials to see whether they could try to get a handle on how much harassment goes on at school….School-board members didn’t want anything to do with it. ‘I can’t tell you how disappointed I am that you have allowed your staff to interact with representatives of GLSEN in connection with the survey you presented last night,’ board member Buddy Collins wrote Martin in an e-mail last week.” [Winston-Salem Journal, 2/13/ 03]

In An Editorial, Collins Described Same-Sex Unions As An Effect Of The “Disintegration Of The American Family.”According to the Winston Salem-Journal, Collins wrote in an editorial, “As we enter the 21st century, our society finds itself faced with the far-reaching effects of the disintegration of the American family. The effect of this phenomenon is especially reflected in the classrooms of our county schools. With divorce rates as high as 50 percent and illegitimacy rates in some segments of our society as high as 70 percent, the concept of family has been redefined. Many of our schools must account for blended families, with complicated child-custody orders; fatherless, matriarchal families that often are ill-prepared to support the education of children; and same-sex unions that a generation ago would have been ridiculed as perverse and illegal.” [Winston-Salem Journal, 4/13/02]

Collins Said GLSEN “Has An Agenda To Use Public Schools As A Place To Seek Acceptance Of Its Sexual Practices.” According to Winston-Salem Journal, Collins wrote in an editorial, “Boasting more than 700 clubs in schools nationwide, [GLSEN] has an agenda to use public schools as a place to seek acceptance of its sexual practices. The members begin with seemingly innocuous requests for policy changes, move on to demand sensitivity training among the faculty and finally insist on the infusion of their beliefs into the curriculum. Two speakers at our meetings have confirmed this goal, confirmation of a strategy replicated throughout our country.” [Winston-Salem Journal, 4/13/02]

Collins Said GLSEN “Exposed Children As Young As 12 Years Old To Explicit Descriptions Of How To Engage In Dangerous Homosexual Sex Acts.” According to the Winston-Salem Journal, Collins wrote in an editorial, “Two years ago in Massachusetts, GLSEN sponsored a workshop called ‘What They Didn’t Tell You About Queer Sex & Sexuality in Health Class: A Workshop for Youth Only, Ages 14-21.’ It exposed children as young as 12 years old to explicit descriptions of how to engage in dangerous homosexual sex acts.” [Winston-Salem Journal, 4/13/02]

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