Anti-gay memo follows Chino Valley schools superintendent
September 18th, 2012
Clayton County Schools Superintendent Edmond Heatley was moving up in his career. He had served three years as the Superintendent in the county just south of Atlanta and before that he was Superintendent in Chino Valley, CA. But the next step carried much more prestige: Berkeley.
And it certainly must have been a joyous day at the end of August when he turned in his resignation, effective at the end of this month. And why shouldn’t he feel elated, he was the sole finalist. The only remaining hurdle was official approval by the board.
But, well, there was one tiny little thing.
Ya see, back on September 4, 2008, he wrote a memo. It was to inform the school board about an upcoming vote by which the board would “take action and give direction to the Superintendent regarding Resolution 2008/2009-06 in support of Proposition 8”. And the direction he was seeking was pretty obvious from the “Background” he provided:
If Proposition 8 is not successful, then school districts throughout California will inevitably be required to adjust their policies and curriculum to align with the Court’s recent redefinition of marriage.
The resolution also recognizes that the ideal learning environment for children is within a nurturing home governed jointly by a mother and a father as primary educators of their children.
And, to no one’s surprise, the Chino Valley School Board did indeed endorse Proposition 8. Which, I’m sure, pleased Superintendent Heatley quite a bit.
But did I mention that the place he was the finalist at was Berkeley? Yeah, that Berkeley. Alameda County, where Berkeley is located, overwhelmingly voted no. They don’t like Prop 8 so much there and when locals found out about Heatley’s support, things got very loud and heated. (Berkeleyside)
Sarah Cline, the director of the jazz program at Berkeley High, told the board that she was against the nomination of Heatley because she didn’t believe he reflected the values of Berkeley — openness, inclusion, and tolerance. “If you hire Edmond Heatley, it will send a message to my eight-year-old daughter and five-year-old son … that their family is not as good as other families,” she said.
Teachers wrote, parents went to school board meetings, and his employment was put on hold.
There were a number of other concerns, including his approach to budgets and his education, that were raised. But it was his activism on Proposition 8 that put a stop to the employment. And today the Berkeley school board announced that Heatley “withdrew his name” from the selection process. (Atlanta Journal Constitution)
Heatley’s decision was announced in a Tuesday news release by The Berkeley Unified School District. The decision ends weeks of speculation and controversy surrounding Heatley’s next career move. The former Marine had beat out 50 other candidates to become the sole finalist for the Berkeley job.
But community uproar in Berkeley over a resolution opposing same-sex marriage that passed when Heatley was superintendent of the Chino Valley, Calif. school district may have led to his decision to back out.
Which kinda sucks for Heatley. Clayton County already hired an interim replacement so he’s out of a job.
I guess if you live where people think just like you, it may seem wise to participate in a political move to “protect traditional marriage”. But if you want to ever live outside your bubble, the people whose lives you have harmed may not recall you fondly.
And as time goes on, those who chose to love their gay neighbor like – well, not like they love themselves really, more like how they’d love a mangy three-legged dog with fleas – are going to find that decision has consequences far more negative than positive.