Last week’s Policy Watch profile of state Board of Education nominee A.L. “Buddy” Collins by Education Reporter Lindsay Wagner was enough to cause a believer in public education to have some real concerns about Collins’ appropriateness for the position. Collins admitted in the interview to essentially supporting the entire far-right school privatization agenda.
Over the weekend, however, came more damning news: As reported by Amanda Terkel at the Huffington Post, Collins is also apparently a loyal trooper in the ongoing social conservative effort to oppose laws and policies that protect LGBT kids from bullying.
This is from the HuffPo article:
“A. L. “Buddy” Collins is an attorney and a longtime member of the Winston-Salem/Forsyth County School Board of Education. He has clashed with the Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education Network (GLSEN) over the years surrounding the group’s efforts to stop bullying on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity.
‘Buddy Collins has always been a retrograde voice, inimical to the interests of youth, on the school board,’ said GLSEN Executive Director Eliza Byard. ‘He has directly tried to block efforts to fully understand [students'] experiences in the service of making things better in schools in his district.’
Matt Comer was born and raised in Winston-Salem and went to public school at R.J. Reynolds High School, which is under Collins’ jurisdiction. Collins was on the board while Comer was a student, and the two even shook hands when he crossed the stage for graduation in 2004.
‘Every time this issue [of LGBT bullying] came before the school board, Buddy Collins voted against it,’ said Comer, who is now editor of QNotes, a Charlotte-based LGBT publication. ‘Buddy Collins was a ringleader in making sure GLSEN had no access to the schools.'”
Today, in response to the story, the advocacy group Equality NC called upon its members to call Governor McCrory and ask him to reconsider the nomination.