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Pro-gay school poster sparks parent protest

Pro-gay school poster sparks parent protest

A Troy High School classroom poster with a message reading "gay people are everyday people" has ignited protests from some parents at the suburban Detroit school. One of the parents, Anthony Cruz, 49, said he expects about 80 people to join the protest at the next Troy school board meeting, on May 17. He said the problem with the poster is that the school is supposed to concentrate on academics and leave other matters for after-school time and activities. Instead, the classroom poster has "a captive audience" in students, Cruz told The Daily Tribune of Royal Oak. He has two daughters at the school. Troy School District spokesman Tim McAvoy said Superintendent Janet H. Jopke has met with some parents regarding the poster and will continue to talk to them about it. He said the poster promotes safety and tolerance. "We do not allow our students to be harassed for any reason. It is an issue of tolerance," McAvoy said. He said the poster, unveiled in October 2002 at the Affirmation Lesbian-Gay Community Center in Ferndale, has been displayed in the Troy High School classroom for two years and isn't posted in any other Troy classroom. He said a student group called Human Equal Rights Organization asked for it. Troy board of education member Ida Edmunds said Jopke approved the poster for the classroom with the sanction of the school board. But Patricia Raezler, 55, a member of Parents Promoting Innocence in Bloomfield Hills, which supports Troy parents in the poster issue, said the school shouldn't be promoting sexuality of any kind. "We are promoting innocence," said Raezler, whose children attend private school. "Once, these types of things were left up to the parents. Then there was a push to inform and let pupils know about sexuality. It hasn't decreased sexually transmitted diseases." Rather than have a poster about a particular group, Raezler said, the schools should be promoting tolerance and acceptance of all people. (AP)

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