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SB 24 embroiled in fight with gay rights group

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The Queens Lesbian and Gay Pride Committee of Flushing called for the ouster of Frank Borzellieri and Mary Crowley Grogan, who opposed Chancellor Harold Levy's order Dec. 1 prohibiting the Scouts from recruiting in city schools.

Levy said the Boy Scout policy that prohibits gays from being troop leaders violated the Board of Education's rules against discrimination based on sexual orientation. Levy barred the Scouts from bidding on contracts with the school system and forbade the Scouts from using school property

Daniel Dromm, president of the QLGPC, said his group supported the removal of Borzellieri because of inflammatory remarks he has made about the gay community for some time.

"It seems Mr. Borzellieri has an obsession with homosexuality and never have I known him to introduce any anti-heterosexual resolutions to the board," said Dromm, who also works as a fourth-grade teacher in the school district.

"It's because of that obsession that we feel that he should be removed," Dromm said. "I believe that anybody that supports this type of measure is violating the Board of Education's no discrimination policy -not only the letter of the law but the spirit of the law."

Borzellieri said the resolution was scheduled to be voted on Thursday at District 24 offices at 80-00 Cooper Ave. in Glendale.

Sharon Maurer, president of SB 26 in northeast Queens, said her board has not taken formal action or discussed the issue as a board, but it may come up at next week's meeting. SB 26 covers Bayside, Glen Oaks, Little Neck Douglaston and parts of Fresh Meadows.

Maurer said on a personal note that it is not an issue.

"Levy is following the letter of the law," she said. "As far as I'm concerned , there are no choices here. I think it's an issue that's a non-issue."

Calls to School Boards 25, 27, 28, 29 and 30 across Queens were not returned.

The QLGPC has been at odds with members of SB 24 before. In June 1999 the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that the Boy Scouts had the right to follow its own policy on gays because it was a private organization. A month later, QLGPC filed a complaint against the Board of Ed on the grounds that it was violating its own non-discrimination policy by having a business relationship with the Scouts.

It was not the first time School Board 24, which covers Ridgewood, Glendale, Maspeth and parts of Elmhurst, has been at odds with a schools' chancellor on gay issues.

Seven years ago the board led a revolt against the Children of the Rainbow curriculum, which taught respect for all people. The curriculum sparked controversy when it became publicly known that a book, "Heather Has Two Mommies," describing a lesbian couple planning to have a child by artificial insemination, was on the Rainbow reading list. The contract of then-Chancellor Joseph Fernandez, who supported the Rainbow Curriculum as well as condoms in high schools, was not renewed.

Dromm said his organization is also calling for Grogan's ouster because she continues to support the resolution.

"Maybe Mrs. Grogan is making a mistake, but Mr. Borzellieri has exhibited a pattern of discriminatory actions against lesbians and gays," Dromm said. "But if she is going to sign onto this resolution, then she should be removed as well."

Borzellieri remains unrepentant and said he looked forward to meeting with officials from QLGPC at his board meeting Thursday night.

"We must take a stand on issues of such magnitude at a time when political correctness has run rampant and the Boy Scouts are under severe attack," Borzellieri said last week. "The Boy Scouts are the bedrock of American values. They always have been, but they are under attack by radicals and a disgrace of a chancellor."

Posted 7:16 pm, October 10, 2011
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