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Jennings Student Was of Age in 1987


The smear campaign against Obama appointee Kevin Jennings for advice he once gave to a former student who had admitted to sleeping with an older man has hit a road block. The student's driver's license, obtained by media watchdog Media Matters, shows that at the time the conversation took place, he was of legal age of consent in Massachusetts.

Right-wing pundits have been harping on an entry in Kevin Jennings's book One Teacher in Ten: Gay and Lesbian Educators Tell Their Stories, where he admitted to talking to a male student about the teenager's relationship with an older man. Conservatives have called for Jennings to be fired because he did not report the student's relationship with the older man, which in some states would have constituted statutory rape because of the age difference.

However, the driver's license shows that the student was 16 in 1987 -- therefore he was of the legal age of consent in Massachusetts, with his birthday occurring at least a month before Jennings had started teaching at his school that fall.

Jennings is currently the U.S. Department of Education's director of the Office of Safe and Drug-Free Schools. He was the founder and executive director of the Gay, Lesbian, and Straight Education Network, an organization that advocated for safety in schools for LGBT students.

A smear campaign helped along in large part by Fox News has been jabbing at Jennings for months, saying, among other things, that his being gay and his admitted past drug use make him inappropriate for the post.

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