Pesky Progressive Change Agents at Lake Forest High School
Pesky Progressive Change Agents at Lake Forest High School
Written By Laurie Higgins   |   03.17.17

Close on the heels of the “progressive” boondoggle at New Trier High School, another affluent high school on Chicago’s North Shore has its own boondoggle in the offing. Though smaller in scope (thus far) and far less public than all-school dogma day at New Trier, the contempt for diverse views, the brazenness of the attempt at censorship, and the presumptuousness of the staff members involved are no less remarkable.

Three staff members at Lake Forest High School in Lake Forest, Illinois sent an email to the entire staff with this message:

Hi everyone.

We wanted to let you know the specific topic of our individual [Professional Development] session (“Moving Beyond Safe: Affirming Our Students’ Diverse Identities”) this week.  

Studies—as well as well as the words of our actual students—tell us that students need teachers to intervene when they witness anti-LQBTQ language or behavior and to step in when heteronormativity is being promoted.

So this week we will focus on different methods and techniques for interrupting and stepping up.

We hope you’ll consider joining….

-John, Dan, and Deborahanne

For those unfamiliar with all the rhetorical inventions of sexual subversives, “heteronormativity” is their term to denote the belief that the human species is binary (i.e., there are two sexes) and that heterosexual activity is the normal, natural, and preferable form of human sexual activity. Further, in the world of “progressivism,” “heteronormativity” is bad.

So, what John Wanninger, Dan, and Deborahanne Reimer seek to do is have the entire staff, faculty, and administration “step in” and “interrupt” students who express the view that the human species is composed of two sexes and that homoerotic activity is not normal, natural, good, or moral. In other words, these three government employees—affirmers of diversity and agents of change—seek to use this government school to censor speech. They seek not merely to censor epithets and obscenity but to censor the expression of ideas with which they disagree.

This trio of tricksy little devils (John, Dan, and Deborahanne) urge staff to “step in” and “interrupt” under the guise of promoting “safety”—well “safety” as redefined by those with micron-thin skins easily punctured by micro-aggressions.

In their ideologically insular (i.e., non-diverse) world, the only way to “feel safe” is to prohibit the expression of any speech that makes them “feel bad.”

But if “safety” can be achieved only through banning expressions of moral propositions, are all expressions of moral propositions going to be banned at LFHS? Or are just moral propositions that John, Dan, and Deborahanne dislike going to be banned? What if someone feels “unsafe” by John, Dan, and Deborahanne’s criticism of “heteronormativity”? Can that person step in and interrupt them?

Who will be the arbiter of what constitutes banned promotions of “heteronormativity”? If a student expresses opposition to sexually integrated locker rooms and restrooms, will John step in and interrupt her? If a student expresses the view that marriage has a nature central to which is sexual differentiation, will he step on step in and interrupt her? What if a student were overheard saying that he thinks homoerotic activity undermines human flourishing (gasp)? After John, Dan, and Deborahanne recover from the vapors, will they frantically step in and interrupt?

But are students who identify as homosexual in reality “unsafe” if they hear the expression of a moral proposition with which they disagree, or are they uncomfortable?

If the Lake Forest community believes the civil expression of moral (or ontological) propositions with which someone may disagree actually makes dissenters “unsafe,” then they must ban the expressions of all moral and ontological propositions. In a public school setting, it is not only unjustifiable but dangerous to ban only some.

Let’s not forget that neither love for persons, nor acceptance of persons, nor commitments to safety and inclusivity require affirmation of everything humans feel, believe, or do.

The first signatory on the email is John Wanninger, an English and theatre teacher who is also the sponsor of the extracurricular “LGBTQ” club Alliance, which promotes the affirmation and celebration of homosexuality and gender confusion and condemns “heteronormativity.”

In an interview last September with the student newspaper, Wanninger, who was “inspired” seven years ago to “reboot” the defunct homosexual club, describes his many efforts to use his taxpayer-funded job to promote his assumptions about homosexuality:

What are some LGBT/Ally events?

[National Ally Week] is sponsored by a group named GLSEN [Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education Network]. They have all kinds of stuff on their website about activities and they have a social media presence. This week they are doing a “#myallies” thread where LGBT students are explaining why their allies are important to them. October is actually LGBT History Month to celebrate known and lesser known influential people who you may or may not know were LGBTQ identified throughout history and some of their contributions. In April is the Day of Silence, which is sponsored by GLSEN. That always happens in the middle of April. That has grown a lot for us as well….

Tell me about the conference in D.C. What is one takeaway that you found to be impactful on your own role at LFHS?

“The conference was amazing. It was called the GSA [Gay-Straight Alliance] Advisors, and it was sponsored by GLSEN along with the NEA, the National Education Association, which is the National Teachers Union. I was one of 38 people who got to go. It was a lot of really powerful sharing….I also just bonded a lot with people who are trying to do what I am trying to do, which is make school safer for everyone.”

Do you have any final inspirational or insightful thoughts you want to say?

“…my work with Alliance and other aspects of the LGBT community of our school is just an offshoot of why I am in this profession.”

It seems his professional goals are inextricably linked to the sexuality ideology of the Left.

Here’s something about which too few community members think: Not all staff members are “progressive.” In every school, some—sometimes many—staff members are conservative. They are annoyed, frustrated, and dispirited by the relentless and bold attacks on their values, beliefs, and truth by Leftist colleagues but fear professional and personal retribution if they were to voice their opposition. They long for community stakeholders to take a stand against the usurpation of their schools by Leftists in the furtherance of Leftist dogma.

Here’s another little known fact about public schools: Even many teachers who hold “progressive” political positions object to the divisiveness that is fomented in schools by Leftists who promote their views on  controversial cultural issues through curricula and professional development. These teachers actually  honor diversity and understand that there are good people—including some of their students—who oppose bullying, support inclusivity, and believe “heteronormativity” serves society well.

Before anyone from the government steps in and interrupts me, I’m going to express my view that  Lake Forest community members should step in and interrupt John, Dan, and Deborahanne before their approach to controversial issues takes root and like a weed overtakes the pedagogical commitments of Lake Forest High School. While they’re at it, they should take a close look—a very close look—at the professional development offerings provided at taxpayer expense on late arrival days, Institute Days, and in summer workshops.

Oh, and they should ask the administration why no parents were told that John, Dan, and Deborahanne are urging all staff to censor student speech.

Read more:

Warning to Parents: The Day of Silence is Almost Here

New Trier High School Needs Accounting, Diversity, and Logic Lessons

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Laurie Higgins
Laurie Higgins became the Illinois Family Institute’s Cultural Affairs Writer in the fall of 2008. Prior to working for the IFI, Laurie worked full-time for eight years in Deerfield High School’s writing center in Deerfield, Illinois. Her cultural commentaries have been carried on a number of pro-family websites nationally and internationally, and Laurie has appeared on numerous radio programs across the country. In addition, Laurie has spoken at the Council for National Policy and educational conferences sponsored by the Constitutional Coalition. She has been married to her husband for forty-four years, and they have four grown children and nine grandchildren....
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