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EDITORIAL: Jennings falsely claims discrimination

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As President Obama's "Safe Schools Czar," Kevin Jennings' job is to protect students from harassment and harm. By Mr. Jennings' own accounts, there are at least two students he failed to protect from dangerous situations. Regarding one of these cases, he admitted, "I can see how I should have handled this situation differently." But time after time, Mr. Jennings has acted as if political causes are more important than veracity. That is not someone who should be trusted with our children's safety.

The twists and turns keep getting stranger. There are questions about whether Mr. Jennings has made up false claims to dramatize the difficulties homosexuals face - claims he used in speeches to illustrate his own angst. Brewster, one of the two former students whom Mr. Jennings consoled about their sexual relations, contradicted significant parts of Mr. Jennings' story about him.

Mr. Jennings tells one thing to one audience and then contradicts himself to others. In a 2000 speech to a Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education Network conference in Iowa and other talks, Mr. Jennings related how difficult it was to be homosexual back in September 1987: "I was a very scared young gay teacher. I had been fired at my first job for being gay. And in my second job, I wasn't quite sure how to deal with that.... My best friend had just died from AIDS the week before." He brought up his friend's death, and when it occurred, to transition into the events involving Brewster. The event is supposedly what encouraged him to tell the sophomore, "I hope you knew to use a condom."

In his 2006 autobiography, "Mama's Boy, Preacher's Son," Mr. Jennings has a completely different explanation for what happened at his first teaching job at the Quaker Moses Brown School in Providence, R.I. Contrary to being fired for being a homosexual, Mr. Jennings concludes the chapter discussing his time at the school by writing, "My days at Moses Brown ended, without my ever having been asked or having answered the Question [about whether he was homosexual]. For two years I have lied, letting my students and myself down in the process. I vowed I would never do it again."

On numerous occasions in this chapter, Mr. Jennings laments how he wished people knew he was homosexual, and how he particularly wanted the students to know. He never mentions that the administration knew about his sexual orientation or that he was fired. His best friend's traumatic death from AIDS is never mentioned in Mr. Jennings' autobiography nor any of his other books. It's unusual that a story used to move audiences in speeches is left out of an autobiography that describes what life is like being homosexual.

Close investigation shows numerous inconsistencies in Mr. Jennings' record of his own life, which he uses to advocate his cause. This cause shouldn't be put ahead of children's safety or the truth.

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