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Manufacturing A Double Standard

Jim Burroway

June 19th, 2006

The conservative Christian web sites Agape Press and LifeSite are reporting that Jacob Parker, the son of Massachusetts anti-gay activist David Parker was beaten up by a group of eight to ten kids in the playground of his Lexington elementary school.

David Parker, if you remember, was arrested last year for refusing to leave the school after a meeting with the principal in which he demanded to be notified when any topic touching on sexual orientation (including same-sex marriage, which is legal in Massachusetts) is brought up in class. He is now suing the school system.

According to the Agape Press, David Parker’s son was attacked on May 17th, on the two-year anniversary of gay marriage in Massachusetts. Mr. Parker claims that other parents put their kids up to beating up his son because they are upset with his opposition to homosexuality. He also complains of a double standard in how his son’s case is being handled:

If the assault against his son had been perpetrated on a child of homosexual parents, “lessons teaching tolerance and diversity or homosexual behavior normalization would be forced upon the young children,” he contends.

But the local newspaper, the Lexington Minuteman reports a very different story. Paul Ash, the Superintendent of Schools, doesn’t know anything about what happened, but he’s going to look into it. Meanwhile he notes that if a student were assaulted, it would “trigger a whole series of actions,” including notifying parents, staff, the school psychologist, the Department of Social Services, and the police.

But the Lexington police department says it doesn’t have a complaint on file and there’s no ongoing investigation. Why?

Neil Tassel, the Parker’s legal counsel, spoke for the Parker family saying that had hoped to keep the incident private. Due to the age of the students involved, they had opted not to go to the police.

So if there is a double standard, it’s of Mr. Parker’s doing by not allowing the authorities to address the problem — according to what his attorney is telling the local press.

David Parker has the prerogative to decide whether or not he should avail himself of the services of the local police department to protect his son. But his actions certainly raise some interesting questions concerning his motives for going public now. Is issuing a press release on a very prominent web site the best way to “keep the incident private?” And how strange is it to complain of a double standard when he short-circuits the very process that he complains would be performed if it had been the son of a gay parent that was beaten?

Maybe it’s just more convenient to manufacture a double standard.

Update: The Lexington Public Schools issued a press release. The fight, it turns out, was over who got to sit where in the cafeteria. What’s more, the Parkers didn’t complain when they were told about the actions the school took in response to the fight, and “following the incident the boys were observed arm in arm at school and subsequently the child who was hit went to the house of the child who hit him for a play date.”

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