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School board superintendent not anti-gay … says school board superintendent

Last week, Quillblog pointed to a CBC story about a Charlotte County, New Brunswick school board that rescinded an invitation to openly gay author Alex Sanchez to speak to high school students in their district after receiving complaints from intolerant jackalopes local parents. Today, the CBC reports that Sanchez was allowed to speak to area high-school students, but only after the venue was changed to a church in St. Andrews.

Keith Pierce, the school superintendent who originally extended the invitation to Sanchez, said the decision to cancel his appearance resulted in a flood of e-mails from across Canada accusing Pierce and the school principals involved of being anti-gay, a charge that Pierce denies:

“I’m not anti-gay,” Pierce told CBC News on Wednesday. “We’re for all students and meeting their needs,” he said. “But there’s always going to be a debate about the role of schools and dealing with moral issues that are really sensitive,” Pierce said.

It appears that Pierce himself may have had a road-to-Damascus moment after listening to Sanchez speak. Asked if he would recommend the author as a speaker in the future, the CBC quotes Pierce as saying, “Oh absolutely. Definitely. Now that I’ve heard him, he’s wonderful. But I needed to hear that message.” Quillblog notes the irony here, but is pleased that Pierce, and local students, eventually got that chance.