Another Obama administration staffer, another scandal… Kevin Jennings is, allegedly, the director of the Department of Education’s Office of Safe and Drug Free Schools. As a young man, Jennings was a teacher in Concord, Massachusetts.
From the ABC News blog Political Punch:
In the Spring of 1988, a young woman who knew Jennings was gay, brought to his office a high school sophomore whom Jennings called “Brewster” in the book.
As Jennings wrote:
‘Brewster has something he needs to talk with you about,’ she intoned ominously. Brewster squirmed at the prospect of telling, and we sat silently for a short while. On a hunch, I suddenly asked ‘What’s his name?’ Brewster’s eyes widened briefly, and then out spilled a story about his involvement with an older man he had met in Boston. I listened, sympathized, and offered advice. He left my office with a smile on his face that I would see every time I saw him on the campus for the next two years, until he graduated.
Jennings in 2000 told a GLSEN conference that Brewster told him he ’met someone in the bus station bathroom and I went home with him.’ High school sophomore, 15 years old. That was the only way he knew how to meet gay people. I was a closeted gay teacher, 24 years old, didn’t know what to say, knew I should say something quickly. So I finally, my best friend had just died of AIDS the week before, I looked at Brewster and said, ‘You know, I hope you knew to use a condom.’
Great idea of safety… a minor discusses trolling the bus station and the best that our future Director of Safe and Drug Free Schools can dredge up to advise the student is condom use. When called up this “error in judgment,” Mr Jennings responded with the tried and true political formula:
Jennings today issued a statement saying, “Twenty-one years later I can see how I should have handled the situation differently. I should have asked for more information and consulted legal or medical authorities. Teachers back then had little training and guidance about this kind of thing.
Oh, I don’t know, Mr. Jennings… I would think “common sense” would cover this particular instance.