WACO, Texas — A group known as Speak Up TX plans to speak at a meeting of the Waco Transformation Board Tuesday night concerning a documentary shown to kids in a summer reading program that featured a teen who shot and killed a fellow classmate who was gay.
The reading program is run by Baylor Freedom Schools, a partnership between Baylor School of Education, Waco Independent School District and Transformation Waco, Prosper Waco, and the city of Waco, according to the Baylor University School of Education website. It was founded by the Children’s Defense Fund.
Anne Newman with Speak Up TX said children as young as 11 were shown the HBO documentary "Valentine Road: The Murder of Lawrence King."
It tells the story of 14-year-old Larry King who wore women's clothes at his junior high school in California. He was shot and killed in his classroom by 15-year-old Brandon McInerney in 2008 after King asked him to be his Valentine.
“When parents enroll their children in a summer literacy program, it’s likely that they don’t expect them to see a film about the shooting death of a middle school student, learn how to be ‘agents of change’ for a political agenda, or to be indoctrinated with ‘tolerance’ curriculum from the disreputable Southern Poverty Law Center,” Newman said.
Baylor University sent the following statement:
"The incident referred to is an aberration, and new processes are now in place that ensure(s) that the learning opportunities students receive in the Freedom Schools program are appropriate for their age. The students range in age from 11-13, and no films will be shown rated PG-13 or higher from this point forward.
"Baylor has taken action to include personnel changes as part of the program.
"Additional measures include written descriptions of the curriculum to be sent home each week to each family, in addition to the mandatory weekly parent meeting. Parents may opt their child out of any piece of the curriculum, and the program will continue to reinforce this option with parents. In the future, the Freedom Schools will provide a complete syllabus of programming for the parents at the mandatory parent orientation before the camp begins.
"The University takes great care in providing educational and enriching programming for these students, and our utmost priority is ensuring a safe and healthy educational environment for all."
Chief Executive Officer for Transformation Waco Dr. Robin McDurham said these are concerns they have addressed with Baylor in the past. She said Transformation Waco is pleased with the way Baylor handled things.
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