Trustee seeks apology for spoof photo
Parents opposing a school program used a picture from a satirical
newspaper on their pamphlets.
MARISSA NELSON, Free Press EducationReporter
A school board trustee is demanding an apology from a parents' group that
used a fake photo from a satirical newspaper on its pamphlets opposing the
expansion of a safe schools policy. Simply Truths Our Priority, or STOP,
handed out pamphlets and computer discs with a 300-page book of Internet
research outside a public meeting last week.
The session was a chance for the Thames Valley District school board to
get input on its plan to expand the safe schools program -- a move to
protect gay and lesbian students.
But STOP argues the board is changing the curriculum and will promote a
homosexual lifestyle in schools.
"Satire is apparently lost on rigid individuals," said London trustee
Peter Jaffe. "Taking something from a spoof newspaper and presenting it as
reality crosses the line. (The photo) plays on people's worst fears. I
would hope this group will make a full and public apology."
The photo shows a teacher at the front of a class with explicit sexual
images and terms drawn on the board and is supposed to represent one of
the "countless" classrooms where homosexuality is promoted.
The picture was copied from the Onion, a satirical newspaper from the
United States. The headline of the 1998 story says, " '98 homosexual drive
The story, written out of San Francisco, goes on to say children are being
successfully recruited into homosexuality because of the "gay lobby's
infiltration of America's public schools."
Marilyn Ashworth of STOP said it's concerned the photo represents what
will end up in this region's schools if the board goes ahead with its
"We knew it was a gay paper and we hold that even as a joke, the gay
community is proud of their advancements into the safe schools program in
the U.S.," she said. "We don't think homosexuality in schools is a joke."
Asked whether she believed it was a real photo, Ashworth said the caption
included the teacher's name, city, state and grade.
"We researched in depth and that was one of the things we found," she
said, noting the group spent seven weeks accumulating research.
"We don't come by our findings lightly. . . . Whether it was meant to be a
joke or not, it's not funny to parents who are trying to protect their
Other headlines on the archival page are: Antique dealer sick of
appraising smurf collections and Orgy a logistical nightmare.
Sean Mills, president of the Onion, laughed when he heard the news.
"The motto the writers have is we're not going after the right or the
left, we're just going after people who are dumb," Mills said.
"We're anti-dumb, we're not anti-anything else . . . They're proving our
point. It's a ridiculous notion there'd be recruitment going on. That was
the whole point."
Mills said the photo is fake, the Onion has nothing to do with STOP and
isn't a gay paper.
"In some ways, if you're going to a satirical news source to prove a
serious point . . . you're getting what you deserve."
Trustee Peggy Sattler said she wonders if STOP knew it was a fake photo.
Trustee Linda Stevenson said the photo calls into question the legitimacy
of STOP's 300 pages.
"It's not worth the paper it's written on."
Sadly, the page it's from
is no longer on the net.