On April 24, WorldNetDaily's Chelsea Schilling wrote an article in which she uncriticially repeats a report from Fox News' Todd Starnes that "a New York middle school instructed young female students to ask one another for a lesbian kiss – and boys learned how to spot young sluts – in an anti-bullying presentation on gender identity and sexual orientation." At the end of the article, Schilling provided the phone number and email address of the superintendent of the school district so that "concerned parents" may contact him.
Just one problem: It's not true.
The school has explained that "female students were not forced to engage in any lesbian kissing," "male students were not told to carry condoms,” and "sexual activity among young adolescents was not condoned or promoted in any way." The school distrct added, "This information had been shared with the media, but was not reported by some." Starnes has also demanded a correction from Fox's Starnes in an email that may as well be cc'd to Schilling:
These sessions were designed by the building leadership in an effort to have eighth graders treat each other with respect and to develop in our young adolescents an appreciation for personal dignity. To suggest that we would condone or promote sexual activity among teenagers is absurd. It is equally absurd to suggest that an activity, designed to have young women feel more confident saying no to unwanted advances from boys, is in some way promoting a lesbian lifestyle. It is my understanding that the role playing activity is part of a program supported by conservatives such as Laura Bush.
The definitions given to students, while overly granular in my opinion, were put forth to make sure that students understand that all gender identities and/or sexual orientations are protected in law in New York State as part of an effort to curb harassment, discrimination, and bullying. It is our intent to adjust this document and be less granular in future lessons.
Please also know that the two college students who helped facilitate these sessions were guided and supervised by the principal and guidance counselors. They were not acting without direction. And, there is no evidence to suggest that they were inappropriately interacting with the students. Reports indicate the opposite is true. I have read both their written accounts of the sessions and written feedback from students. It was all very positive.
Will Schilling correct her article or do a follow-up that reports the facts? Don't count on it -- after all, she has a long history of less-than-factual reporting at WND.