VESTAL — The fight to remove Tennessee Sen. Stacey Campfield's picture from Vestal High School's Hall of Fame isn't over yet.
Speakers plan to attend Tuesday's Board of Education meeting, which begins at 7 p.m. in the administration building off Main Street.
Some Vestal students, staff and alumni have taken issue with comments the 1986 graduate made concerning homosexuality and AIDS. Campfield, who sponsored his states controversial "Don't Say Gay" bill that would ban teachers from discussing homosexuality, made national headlines in January following an interview on Sirius XM radio during which he discussed the origin and transmission of AIDS.
The district has decided against removing the picture. While Superintendent Mark LaRoach condemned Campfield's statements as ugly and unbefitting a Vestal graduate, he has said it's an issue of free speech and that Vestal students are capable of challenging Campfield's statements on their own. In a statement read at the June 12 school board meeting, President Kim Myers cited the First Amendment.
I'm a graduate of Vestal Senior High School in upstate New York.
It has been brought to my attention that a portrait of Tenn state sen. Stacey Campville is hanging on the Wall of Honor at Vestal Senior High School.
For those of you unfamiliar with this person, he has made such claims as "most people realize that AIDS came from the homosexual community – it was one guy screwing a monkey, if I recall correctly, and then having sex with men. It was an airline pilot, if I recall.... My understanding is that it is virtually – not completely, but virtually – impossible to contract AIDS through heterosexual sex...very rarely ." He has taken many positions against the LGBT community and stands by his hateful and ignorant remarks when given the chance to clarify.
How the Vestal BOE feels that someone of this ilk deserves to be honored in the halls of an educational institution escapes any reasonable explanation.
John Perricone Class of '77 is a local teacher and is encouraging people to contact Superintendent (Mark Laroach) firstname.lastname@example.org as well as the Board of Education at email@example.com
Please take the time to contact these people and let them know that a change is needed..and fast. Even if you are from another school district or even another state...if you feel strongly that people who promote hate and ignorance do not deserve to be honored in a school setting (or any setting for that matter) please take the time to voice your opinion as a concerned parent or citizen.
Again, those addresses are;
Superintendent (Mark Laroach) firstname.lastname@example.org
Vestal Board of Education email@example.com