A state legislator in Hawaii has filed an ethics complaint with the State Department of Education alleging that the Southern Poverty Law Center is bribing elementary teachers to take an SPLC course called Teaching Tolerance. State Representative Bob McDermott also charges that the SPLC course is biased against Christians and teaches leftist ideas.
McDermott sent a letter to District Superintendant Kathryn Matayoshi on February 28 asking her to halt the implementation of the program. She did not respond to the letter and allowed the training to go ahead the weekend of March 1.
Specifically, McDermott believes a $250 payment to teachers to implement content from the training in their lesson plan is not allowed under Hawaiian law. He says it “raises all kinds of ethical issues.”
McDermott said, “I want political agendas, right or left, out of the schools. I want the teachers to spend the precious little time they have with students educating them in the basics. English teachers should focus on English, things like sentence structure, and not mainlanders’ political viewpoint of social justice. Make no mistake, this program only presents one side of the story.”
McDermott believes the SPLC program is “social engineering” that includes a “disproportionate focus on normalizing homosexuality.” He said, “The theme of this curriculum is so called ‘anti-bias’ unless, of course, you are a person of faith.” He points to one lesson featuring a character named Patrick who is “being raised in a very strict and exclusionary fundamentalist Christian home…” McDermott says if this isn’t “biased, I don’t know what is.”
Other lessons include a story called 10,000 Dresses about a little boy who likes to wear dresses and another about two homosexual penguins in a curriculum for children in kindergarten through second grade. “Why [do] first graders need to know about homosexual penguins?” McDermott wants to know.
SPLC is coming under increased scrutiny and criticism in recent years for including Christian groups like the Family Research Council (FRC) alongside neo-Nazi skinhead groups and the KKK as hate groups. Even liberal columnist Dana Milbank of the Washington Post has scoffed at the inclusion of FRC on the hate list.
A peer reviewed critical analysis just issued by Professor George Yancey of North Texas University demonstrates that SPLC reserves only conservative groups for its hate list, ignoring leftist groups saying the same things that land conservative groups on the list.