(CNSNews.com) - A pro-family group has sent letters to public school superintendents across the country warning of increased liability risks for public school officials if homosexuals mentor children through the Big Brothers Big Sisters of America (BBBSA) program.
"As the recent scandals in the Catholic Church demonstrate, when an adult uses a position of authority and influence to take advantage of a young person, immeasurable harm can be inflicted both to individuals and to institutions," Benjamin Bull, chief counsel with the Alliance Defense Fund, said in a letter to state boards of education and school districts across the country.
"Schools open themselves to substantial legal liability if physical or emotional abuse occurs as a result of a school-based mentoring program," the letter cautioned.
Since a new policy was initiated last summer, parents are not informed when a school or the BBBSA pairs their children with a same-sex homosexual mentor, the Alliance Defense Fund said.
"Because of the potential for sexual misconduct and abuse, Big Brothers Big Sisters prohibits persons of the opposite sex from mentoring at-risk children. At the same time, it permits practicing homosexuals to meet with children of the same sex in the complete absence of parental notification and consent," Bull told CNSNews.com.
The same potential for sexual misconduct exists for homosexual pairings as exist for opposite-sex pairings, Bull said.
"This tells me that common sense has not caught up with the political agenda and demands of homosexual activists. There's certain pressure on Big Brothers and Big Sisters to allow practicing homosexuals to serve as mentors," Bull said.
"But common sense concerns about sexual misconduct have been dropped by the wayside in order to satisfy the political demands of this very loud and noisy group," Bull added.
The ADF letter cautions that "nothing less than complete, written, informed consent by parents is sufficient in light of a school's responsibility for the safety of children."
BBBSA instituted a policy change in July of last year to forbid the exclusion of any mentor from its 500 affiliates across the country on the basis of "race, age, color, religion, national origin, gender, marital status, sexual orientation, veteran status or disability."
Calls to BBBSA were not returned. Officials insist, however, that it is standard BBBSA policy to thoroughly screen volunteer applicants and reject anyone it believes would not be a safe Big Brother or Big Sister. The organization also seeks to honor the individual preferences of parents or guardians when selecting which volunteer will be matched with a child.
E-mail a news tip to Lawrence Morahan.
Send a Letter to the Editor about this article.