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Lexington superintendent threatened over diversity curriculum

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Lexington superintendent threatened by radio host

By Ian B. Murphy and Bryan Mahoney/Staff Writers

GateHouse News Service

LEXINGTON ?

Lexington superintendent Paul Ash of Newton has been threatened by a New Jersey radio host urging listeners to ?use threats and violence? against Ash for the school district's new diversity curriculum.

The radio host says ?I advocate parents using FORCE AND VIOLENCE against Superintendent Paul B. Ash as a method of defending the health and safety of school children presently being endangered through his politically-correct indoctrination into deadly, disease-ridden sodomite lifestyles.? The site lists Ash?s last known addresses, a phone number, and a birth date.

Ash is in meetings this afternoon and could not be immediately reached for comment.

Lexington police refused comment on an ongoing investigation. Ash lives in Newton, and the police department there is handling the case. That department also refused comment on the investigation.

Ash gave a presentation on the curriculum last month, and it will be implemented next school year. The curriculum comes from a committee of parents, teachers and administrators in Lexington who were charged to develop a set of teaching that fostered ?a safe and welcoming place for all children.?

The goal of the curriculum was to ?serve students from different racial, linguistic, and socioeconomic backgrounds,? and to ?serve students from [gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgendered] families.?

The Lexington school administration developed the diversity curriculum to address topical classroom issues highlighted by an ongoing lawsuit filed in 2006.

The suit was filed by two families, the Parkers and Wirthlins, after the Parkers? son, Jacob, brought home a book as part of the diversity book bag from his Estabrook Elementary kindergarten class in 2005. The book, ?Who?s in a Family,? showed various family types including a same-sex-headed household, as well as single parents and grandparents raising children. The Wirthlins? son, Joey, who was then in first grade, was in class on a day that marriage was the topic. At the time, a book on a prince marrying another prince was read to the class, ?King and King.?

David Parker was arrested in April 2005 after refusing to leave a meeting with the principal and a curriculum director. Parker demanded his child be removed from any discussion regarding sexuality and homosexuality, including spontaneous discussions within the classroom.

In January 2008, a three-judge panel of the 1st U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals upheld an earlier decision to dismiss the federal lawsuit, although an appeal is still possible.

?We do not suggest that the school?s choice of books for young students has not deeply offended the plaintiffs? sincerely held religious beliefs,? said the decision, written by Circuit Judge Sandra Lynch. ?If the school system has been insufficiently sensitive to such religious beliefs, the plaintiffs may seek recourse to the normal political processes for change in the town and state.?

Copyright ? 2008 GateHouse Media, Inc.

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