EDITORIAL: At the president’s pleasure

A teacher was told by a 15-year-old high school sophomore that he was having homosexual sex with an “older man.” At the very least, statutory rape occurred. Fox News reported that the teacher violated a state law requiring that he report the abuse. That former teacher, Kevin Jennings, is President Obama’s “safe school czar.” It’s getting hard to keep track of all of this president’s problematic appointments. Clearly, the process for vetting White House employees has broken down.

In this one case in which Mr. Jennings had a real chance to protect a young boy from a sexual predator, he not only failed to do what the law required but actually encouraged the relationship.

According to Mr. Jennings’ own description in a new audiotape discovered by Fox News, the 15-year-old boy met the “older man” in a “bus station bathroom” and was taken to the older man’s home that night. When some details about the case became public, Mr. Jennings threatened to sue another teacher who called his failure to report the statutory rape “unethical.” Mr. Jennings’ defenders asserted that there was no evidence that he was aware the student had sex with the older man.

However, the new audiotape contradicts this claim. In 2000, Mr. Jennings gave a talk to the Iowa chapter of the Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education Network, an advocacy group that promotes homosexuality in schools. On the tape, Mr. Jennings recollected that he told the student to make sure “to use a condom” when he was with the older man. That he actively encouraged the relationship is reinforced by Mr. Jennings’ own description in his 1994 book, “One Teacher in 10.” In that account, the teacher boasts how he allayed the student’s concerns about the relationship to such a degree that the 15-year-old “left my office with a smile on his face that I would see every time I saw him on the campus for the next two years, until he graduated.”

Mr. Jennings’ denials about these events reveal a lack of remorse. He has not admitted that he made mistakes in this case, and he now refuses to answer any questions about the scandal. Don’t forget, this is a presidential appointee we’re talking about. Mr. Obama should make clear what his standards are for public servants serving at the pleasure of the president. Encouraging and covering up man-boy sexual activity are serious offenses. The White House should force Mr. Jennings to come clean.

Mr. Jennings has made extremely radical statements promoting homosexuality in schools and about his utter contempt for religion that render him unsuitable for a prestigious White House appointment. His job in the Obama administration is to ensure student safety, and this scandal directly calls into question his ability to perform that job. Mr. Jennings and Obama administration officials refuse to answer any questions about this newly discovered evidence. A lot of Americans want answers about this guy and how he was approved for a job in the White House.

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