Club News

History behind ULTRA Teen Choice being booted from DC Public Schools


History behind ULTRA Teen Choice being booted from DC Public Schools

            ULTRA Teen Choice has worked in DC Public Schools since December, 2002.  We have had a relationship with Stuart-Hobson Middle School dating back to 1999, before ULTRA Teen Choice was incorporated as a nonprofit organization.  This relationship has spanned several Principals, without any problems occurring until March, 2007.

            At that time, students who participated in classroom presentations received an Abstinence Awareness week flyer, with abstinence awareness facts, plus a listing of events that were occurring during Abstinence Awareness Week.  The flyer listed sponsors of Abstinence Awareness week, some of which were churches.  You can see the flyer at, “1/2 size Abstinence Awareness Week Flyer”.  One parent, Tina May, sent an email to the principal and a few other parents that expressed several concerns:  including “the list of the sponsors of the program included some religious groups”.  She also accused me of being “intolerant of homosexuality”, and brought up my affiliation with a church, and suggested people read some internet posts about my community ministry.

            I asked Ms. May about the existence of this email (which is now posted on our website,  while at a PTA meeting.  She vigorously denied that she had written an email about my religious affiliation

            Ms. May complained to the DCPS HIV/AIDS education Office, the Principal of Stuart-Hobson Middle School, and the health teacher.  Mr. Wilhoyte, the assistant superintendent of schools for the district found no problem with our program, nor did the assistant principal, when she reviewed the assembly that we were holding.  Eventually, permission slips were sent out, although, inexplicably, none of the 7th grade students were allowed to attend the assembly (I never received an explanation for this).

            Ms. May, who is, as far as I know, the only parent representative for the Local School Restructuring team for the Capitol Hill Cluster Schools, brought the matter to that body.  Apparently, they held a pro-comprehensive sex education presentation, without any input from the greater school community, and especially from Stuart-Hobson parents, since the LSRT serves three schools with children as young as three years old in attendance.  ULTRA Teen Choice was never invited to any meetings, and was refused a chance to give a ten minute presentation at the May, 2007 PTA meeting.  Since the LSRT does not have minutes in the school office and library, as required by DC school guidelines, I am not sure about what was decided when and by whom.  Also, since I can not get a list of who is on the LSRT, it is hard to gauge if the body is representative of the student body and parents served.  However, I do know that 87% of the students at Stuart-Hobson are African American, and the make up of the LSRT does not reflect that constituency, and that there was no outreach to the larger community, also contrary to LSRT Guidelines.

            The LSRT met with the Health teacher, Mr. Leonard Booker in the spring of 2007, and asked to have City Year’s so called comprehensive sex education program. introduced to Stuart-Hobson Middle school.  This meeting with Mr. Booker, which include Ms. Dina Bruce, agreed with Mr. Booker that both ULTRA Teen Choice and the City Year Program would be offered at Stuart Hobson.

            However, in the Fall of 2007, when school started. The LSRT complained to the principal that “[the program] does not match the DCPS health standards and they do not want an abstinence only program at Stuart-Hobson”.  However, to this day, the LSRT has never replied to our request to specify what standards are not being met.  (see the website for the emails).

            Next, enter the new administration of Michelle Rhee.  Apparently frustrated that they could not get rid of the ULTRA Teen Choice program yet, Ms May and the LSRT found a listening ear in the special assistant to Michelle Rhee, Richard Nyankori.  Instead of answering what the objection to the UTC program is, the LSRT enlisted Richard Nyankori’s help.  On November 21st, 2007 I received a memo from Dr. Nyankori saying, falsely, that “The chancellor has place a moratorium on all external providers of health and consumer education.  Her goal is to ensure providers  programs are consistent with DC standards.”  We also received word from the Principal, Brandon Eatman through our faculty advisor that we were to stop the program after November 22.

            On November 30 Dr Nyankori met with myself , six parents of UTC Club members, and five students who participate in the program.  The parents and students told him loud and clear that it is absolutely unacceptable to cancel the program and that the youth benefit from the program.

            On December 5th, I met with Dr. Nyankori and Chad Ferguson.  They suggested that I make some sort of  statement affirmative of gay and lesbian rights, and said that since I am opposed to the inclusion of gender identity and sexual orientation as topics of discussion for middle school, as proposed for the New Health Education Standards, that the Chancellor will not approve our program.  I just receive a memo from Chancellor Rhee affirming that, but not answering  most of my questions.  (see the UTC website).  I have responded with a number of questions for Ms. Rhee.

            This is a clear case of religious and ideological discrimination.  This is in violation of the DC Human Rights act, which ironically, DCPS is falsely claiming that I am violating.  The statement that there is a moratorium was aimed only at UTC, and in my opinion, is cause for termination of Mr. Nyankori.  Public officials cannot make false statements in favor of their own personal viewpoint.  Dr. Nyankori is a well know advocate for gay rights.

            ULTRA Teen Choice has now been barred from working in two of the three schools where we are currently active.  If the edict form Chancellor Rhee is carried out, we will not be allowed in any DC public schools.  Ms. Rhee has also incorrectly stated that we may not use DC Public School facilities for an after school program.

Powered by Allinta CMS