Spammer accuses school of “brainwashing”

Many parents woke up on March 12, 2009 to find an anonymous email from a “concerned parent” expressing outrage over a presentation a lesbian pastor gave during Days of Diversity.

The writer accused CVHS of “outright brainwashing” and the pastor of giving students “step by step instructions on how to become gay,” accusations that the school and pastor deny.

Days of Diversity is “a week-long event in which the students, teachers, administrators, and the community celebrate diversity through several mediums,” according to the CVHS web site. The program has been running for nine years and this is the third year of LGBT (Lesbian Gay Bisexual Transgender) presentations.

“Days of Diversity is to develop education of cultural experiences,” said Principal Pete Alvarez when asked why Days of Diversity is important. “We’re about educating all students at CVHS.”

The email begins “Time to WAKE UP!” and indeed many were jolted to their senses as they read through the accusations of indoctrinating students with the “gay agenda,” and directing them to web sites “that should be labeled porn sites.” The writer then encouraged parents to call Alvarez to complain about the presentation.

“If a parent is concerned he should call me instead of sending emails to other parents,” said Alvarez.

Reverend Dr. Arlene Nehring, pastor of Eden Church in Hayward, who gave the presentations, expressed sentiments of empathy to the author of the email. “The person who wrote it was clearly someone under tremendous stress,” Nehring said during a phone interview a week after the email circulated.

Nehring found the letter disappointing, as it was based on misinformation and the author did not use proper terminology in conveying his thoughts.

“This email begs the case for diversity education,” she said. “We don’t all have to agree. We rarely do or will. But we should be able to express ourselves without being abusive to one another.”

How the anonymous writer got a large number of parent email addresses is unclear. Alvarez does not believe the writer got them from CVHS.

A few minor changes will be made to Days of Diversity in the coming years as a result of the complaints in the email.  Alvarez intends to post presenters on the school web site and provide information about the content of the presentations to avoid the spread of misinformation.

“I hope this negative event is not what students remember about Days of Diversity,” said Robin Munsell, event organizer and leadership teacher.