The Entire Nation is Watching, Will HPISD Take a Stand For Jon Langbert?

Last week Park Cities People brought you the story about Jon Langbert, a local dad who was told he could no longer serve as a leader or wear the uniform for his son’s Boy Scouts of America troop, pack 70 at University Park Elementary, because he is gay. 

His sexual orientation was never a secret, he told the pack leader he was gay and asked if it would be a problem before he agreed to be the popcorn sales volunteer. He was issued a shirt and took over the fundraiser earning $13,000, a $9,000 increase over the previous year.

But when some non-volunteer dads complained, the national debate began. Langbert’s experience initially sparked controversy in the Park Cities and Dallas but soon the entire country was watching.

And Highland Park Independent School District is sticking to their story, the Boy Scouts of America can continue to meet in district buildings that Langbert’s tax dollars support.  

Highland Park Independent School District said it has a long-standing practice of allowing community groups to use its facilities. The policy is designed to not discriminate against any person or organization.

What about groups that discriminate?

In addition to several other national media outlets that have contacted Langbert about interviews over the next few days, he has made appearances on local news CBS, FOX and ABC, as well as radio station KRLD. Here are a few of the others that have taken interest.

36 thoughts on “The Entire Nation is Watching, Will HPISD Take a Stand For Jon Langbert?

  • October 20, 2010 at 11:07 am
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    Shocking – the comments on the Perez Hilton blog are FAR more balanced than the ones on the PCP blog. Wudda never guessed that!

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  • October 20, 2010 at 11:36 am
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    I certainly hope that HPISD will do the right thing. Of course, it’d be really nice if the BSA did the right thing & took this discriminatory clause out of their mission, like the Girl Scouts did in 1991. I am so proud of both Jon & Merritt for bringing this story to the public on both the local and national levels; I’m sure the responses their efforts have elicited have been challenging, as well as heartening. To everyone who responded to the previous threads on this topic…I was comforted by the measured, polite responses from those who disagreed with Jon’s position and quietly joyful at the support both my friends have received.

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  • October 20, 2010 at 1:12 pm
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    A nit to pick for sure, but why do we keep referring to the parents who complained as “non-volunteers”? Does that somehow forfeit their right to an opinion? It’s an opinion that I personally view is wrong, but their right nonetheless, and one that is shared by others.

    Also, how do we know that they don’t volunteer at other things? I do not volunteer my time to my childrens lacrosse or football teams, but I do coach soccer, baseball and basketball. So can I comment on those sports that I coach, but not the ones that I don’t volunteer in?

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  • October 20, 2010 at 1:21 pm
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    The “non-volunteer” thing is relevant because it shows that the people who complained were not even involved in the process to begin with.

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  • October 20, 2010 at 1:35 pm
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    I wonder how much else of your story is wrong – its not a “pack.” It’s a Boy Scout Troop.

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  • October 20, 2010 at 1:40 pm
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    @B, I do not read Perez Hilton, but I will take a guess based on some of the over the top antics of his that the 89+ comments on the initial post here included a broader range of thoughts from all sides and less snarky sniping from mostly one side.

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  • October 20, 2010 at 2:38 pm
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    Avid Reader – I don’t read Perez Hilton either but did look at the link Merritt provided. I fully expected the comments to closely resemble the comments I had been reading here. MUCH to my surprise, they were far more balanced and consistently reflected the idea that the BSA is a private organization that has the power to make their own rules. If someone doesn’t agree, their choice is to not join. You might want to take a look.

    If the 2 blogs were put in front of me, I would have guesses that his comments came from PC residents and the comments on the PCP blog came from his followers. Not exactly sure what that says about the folks that are posting here, but I’m sure it’s something…

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  • October 20, 2010 at 2:56 pm
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    No, third grade scouting is a Cub Scout Pack. Perhaps John Smith is confused because UP Elementary hosts both Cub Scout Pack 70 and Boy Scout Troop 70.

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  • October 20, 2010 at 3:08 pm
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    John-

    It is called a “pack” as well–as in Pack Meetings, etc. Productive comment though! Tell Abigail that I said, “Hi!”

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  • October 20, 2010 at 3:22 pm
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    This is a tragic situation that is made even more tragic by the sensationalism and one sidedness of this blog. Very sad.

    @Merritt – do you suggest HPISD kick Troop 70 out of UP Elementary?

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  • October 20, 2010 at 3:36 pm
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    It is so disheartening to see this type of situation is still happening in 2010! Society harps that parents are not involved enough and then tells a parent that is trying to be involved, his services are not warranted because he is gay. Sad!

    BSA is a private organization and has the right to set its own policies. HPISD is not a private organization though. Since it is funded by all citizens, tt should not be allowing organizations of any type that discriminate, exclude, or otherwise denigrate any human being to use any of its facilities.

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  • October 20, 2010 at 3:59 pm
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    Do the Girl Scouts use HPISD facilities? Do they allow boys?

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  • October 20, 2010 at 5:05 pm
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    I agree with B above. I was shocked that Perez Hilton’s commenters were so much more balanced than the PCP blog!! I thought exactly the same thing-that I would have guessed them to be opposite.

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  • October 20, 2010 at 5:34 pm
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    @B,

    The Girl Scouts is an organization expressly for girls, or people with XX chromosomes. Hence the “Girl” Scouts. But they do not discriminate against girls or women who are lesbian. They take the appropriate, neutral approach when it comes to this matter — they don’t expressly promote gay issues, but they don’t condemn them either. And they certainly don’t prevent girls or women who are gay, from participating.

    In contrast, the Boy Scouts is an organization expressly for boys, or people with XY chromosomes. Hence the “Boy” Scouts. But they DO DISCRIMINATE against boys and men who are gay. They outwardly prohibit such boys (or men serving as leaders) from participating.

    What kind of message does that send to youth & teenagers who may be trying to accept who they are, or for people who have a gay brother or father? It tells them that they are somehow inferior, or less worthy than their peers.

    Boys who are gay, or who are presumed to be gay by their classmates in school, are much more likely to be bullied & harrassed by other kids, and more likely to commit suicide in response to being abused, and not knowing where or to whom to turn for help.

    Just last month alone, 5 boys (aged 13 to 18) committed suicide after being bullied for being gay, or being presumed to be gay — including 13 year old Asher Brown of Houston.

    Many people are never going to be okay with homosexuality. And that’s okay. But we probably aren’t also going to agree with everyone’s religious beliefs, political affiliations, style of clothing, or taste in food, either. But we have to learn to embrace each other, and find our unity through our strength in our diversity — which includes race, gender, religious beliefs, political affiliations, and yes, our sexual orientation. That’s what the United States of America is (or should be) about.

    Something the Boy Scouts of America could learn.

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  • October 20, 2010 at 5:43 pm
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    for clarification-
    cub scout pack 70
    and boy scout troop 70
    are two separate entities.

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  • October 20, 2010 at 5:50 pm
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    The reaction of the majority of our community warms my cold, cynical heart. It’s time for a change BSA – either move it to the churches and out of our public schools, or drop the bigotry and discrimination and join the rest of us here in 2010. I admire Mr. Langbert for doing this and wish he and his beautiful family the very best.

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  • October 20, 2010 at 8:34 pm
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    @kmom,

    The Park Cities are traditional & conservative, but I’d like to think that we’re tolerant of gay people too. The Park Cities has the most highly educated adults in Texas, and many of the people who live in our community are leaders of major businesses & organizations, as well as lawyers, doctors, and other professionals. I find it very hard to believe that people in those occupations would never interact with someone who is openly gay.

    Furthermore, I’d like to think that our community would stand up for one of our neighbors who is being unfairly discriminated against. (Even if there is nothing more we can do about it).

    This may also have to do with geography too — the Park Cities is very close to downtown, Oak Lawn & Cedar Springs, which is the epicenter of gay Dallas. I’m not sure the “outer suburbs” (Plano, Allen, Frisco) would be as tolerant of gays.

    The (unofficial) rule of thumb for gay people moving to Dallas, is to “live no further north, or east, of the boundaries of Loop 635.”

    There is a reason for that. IJS.

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  • October 20, 2010 at 10:20 pm
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    Not sure HPISD can do much about letting the Boy Scouts meet in their facilities since there’s a special federal law (promoted by the States Rights people, of course) making sure the Boy Scouts can meet if other organizations are allowed to. Would be a big problem for many groups if HPISD stopped letting any of them meet in their buildings just so HPISD could deny that right to the Boy Scouts.

    However, the schools could stop supporting the Boy Scouts in other ways, such as not letting them do the morning anouncements at UP or whatever it is they let them do–things not covered by that special law protecting the BSA and other “patriotic groups.” Just a thought.

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  • October 21, 2010 at 3:49 am
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    I would rather have my kid attend scouting with a parent who is openly gay than fear that there might be a closeted pedophile, which is what happened with a swim team coach back in the 1960’s to a friend of mine.
    I applaud Jon Langbert for being open about his sexual orientation. There are so many gay people who don’t dare to. And as we can see, a lot of them are legislators who get outed as gay or bisexual by their own mistakes.

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  • October 21, 2010 at 4:20 am
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    Just another attempt by the Obama leftists to erode any values or morals left in our society. They ask us to be tolerant of others, but when we want our children to have the right to pray in schools, their tolerance disappears and they discriminate against us. When we are in power, we attempt to reconcile and compromise. When they are in power, they force their will upon us (Obamacare).

    In less than 288 hours, a wave will hopefully wash all these hypocrites out of office and we will begin a return to government by the people, for the people. It is well known the Boy Scouts do not accept the lifestyle of gays. If you DO NOT agree with a group’s values, DO NOT JOIN IT.

    I am not a member of the Democratic party, the NAACP, a labor union, a mosque, MoveOn.org, Amnesty Intl, the Sierra Club, Log Cabin Republicans, a gang or mafia. Why? Because I DON’T believe in their values.

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  • October 21, 2010 at 6:04 am
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    @B, Followed the Perez link after hours…blocked at work…and I stand corrected. I am pretty shocked that the Perez Hilton blog of all places has a more even keel on this issue than our own Park Cities Blog, but it also seems like the posters on that site are more used to encountering such a situation and don’t fly off the handle with knee jerk reactions.

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  • October 21, 2010 at 9:21 am
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    No, no – you misunderstood me. I know exactly how warm, caring and wonderful this neighborhood can be. I was sick for 10 months, with kids in school just a little over a year ago. The outpouring of support, the amazing amount of meals, gifts, flat out love and care me and my family received is unbelievable. I’ve been in this community for 14 years now, I’m not a lifer like my husband but I’ve been here a long time and I know about this community. 14 years ago I don’t believe the conversation would have gone quite like this publicly, things have changed and changed for the better. Where you see it most is with our kids. They are accepting of the LBGT community in a way did we didn’t grow up with. It just IS to them, most of them anyway. The thoughts of discriminating against them is absurd to kids of today.

    True story – 6 years ago I’m driving four 11 year old park cities boys to the movies. I ask one of them, “Where’s your sister today?” He answers, “she’s going shopping with my uncle David, he’s my gay uncle from LA and he is a film producer. He is so cool.” My son pipes up, “I have a gay uncle John and an aunt Kevin. They’re awesome.” Boy number 3 says, “I have an aunt Susie, she’s a lesbian and her wife is Darla. When I go visit them they take me EVERYWHERE and buy me tons of presents!” Boy number 4 lets out a huge sigh and says, “I wish I had a gay aunt or uncle. My family is so BORING.” Two of these boys have since made Eagle, btw.

    Times they are a changin’, the boy scouts are a wonderful organization for boys and their fathers. They should welcome all family’s, no matter their race, religion or sexual orientations to join them in all of the wonderful learning and character building things that they have to offer. It’s about family love, all family’s. This man and his boy have been wonderful contributors to the local (pack, den, troup – whatev’s), it’s time for the BSA to revisit their policies, and if they can’t be inclusive and they cling to their discriminative ways – off our public school property’s is where they belong.

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  • October 21, 2010 at 10:50 am
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    This matter is simple and clear to people who don’t have a desperate desire to fill in their psychological holes by politicizing every issue that comes along.
    You people out there who, in issues like this, just default to calling everyone who doesn’t jibe with your view, Nazi’s and bigots. No, you’re the moronic knuckledraggers that don’t take time to weigh the issues rationally. That also makes you irrational by definition.

    There is no movement to take this homosexual and excommunicate him or to lynch him or any such thing. This avowed homosexual is whining to everyone who will listen (which is, unfortunately, all you enablers of liberal conformity and selective believers of Biblical principles) because the Boy Scouts, a private organization, excused an avowed homosexual from having a ‘leadership position’. That simple policy was based on Biblical reasoning.

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  • October 21, 2010 at 10:51 am
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    And, please, go visit with your pastors and hear what they might have to say about your fervent support of the plight of homosexuality. God only wishes for you to have such blind support of His Own Word. Shame on you.

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  • October 21, 2010 at 10:54 am
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    I LOVE kmom’s story about the boys and their gay relatives. Made my morning.

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  • October 21, 2010 at 11:37 am
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    Yeah, Uncle David and the lesbian couple “take the kids everywhere” and “buy them tons of presents”…and that’s why the kids think they’re more awesome than their other relatives. And their own parents are “boring”.
    Nice, really nice.

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  • October 21, 2010 at 12:03 pm
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    Agree with hpmom: love kmom’s story! At first I thought T-Bone’s comment was taken from The Onion. And as for XT’s castigation of “selective believers of Biblical principles,” I guess XT would stone a disobedient child and does not cut her hair or trim his beard.

    Merritt’s question for this post was what HPISD will do. Answer: nothing. Someone could suggest an alternative to illegally refusing to let Boy Scouts meet in school buildings. But HPISD won’t do that either.

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  • October 21, 2010 at 12:45 pm
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    XT–Meet Jesus–the one that died for us ALL!

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  • October 21, 2010 at 12:59 pm
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    @kmom & hpmom,

    Amen to that. I think that American society, in general, is becoming more tolerant towards gay people. I think the younger generation — as in our kids — view the whole thing as a “non-issue” for them.

    When I was younger, I’ve said some not-so-great things about gay people. I don’t think it was because I hated gay people, but it was a lot easier for me to use slurs against gay people to make myself seem more “macho” and “one of the guys” as I was on the high school football team. Furthermore, I couldn’t possibly understand why a guy would be attracted to another guy. For me, as a straight man, it just seemed strange.

    Several years ago, I found out that my nephew is gay and after hearing about the things he’s gone through & challenges he’s faced because of being gay (he’s from Virginia) — it made me re-evaluate my positions on some things in life. Looking back on what I did and said 20 years ago, sometimes makes me a little embarrassed. But, life is a learning process.

    I’m a Republican & I’m not an Obama fan; however, I still never thought we would see an African-American president, at least not in my lifetime. In a few years, we could possibly see our first female US president.

    Society changes very, very slowly, but American society is slowly becoming more tolerant (and in some places, totally accepting) of gay people. For those people who are gay, or who have relatives/family members or friends who are gay — know that it will get better.

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  • October 22, 2010 at 8:28 am
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    @Brouhaha, that’s a fascinating article. I never would have thought Ted Olson would be an advocate for gay marriage, but he articulates his position very eloquently. Thanks for posting the link!

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  • October 22, 2010 at 9:00 am
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    I say “FREEDOM!!!!!!!!!!!!” We must have the freedom to love, sleep with, hook up with, insert our body parts into and slobber over any person, thing, or mental image we want to, whether in the privacy of our home or otherwise. We must have the freedom to scoff at, condemn, exclude, ignore, or vomit at others that do the same. We must have the freedom to have exclusive organizations that we like, and the freedom to vilify those organizations that exclude us. We must have the freedom to support and speak out for fashionable causes like gay rights, pets rights, and carpool lane rights, and at the same time remain free to trash our neighbors and their kids for fashion faux pas, social awkwardness and the crime of selecting the undesirable and uncool clubs, organizations, or activities to support. We have to fight for the right to rise up in righteous indignation at those attacking the seemingly downtrodden, popularly sympathetic, or politically correct, and at the same time be free to resist calls to help the truly excluded, neglected, discriminated, and disenfranchised that live or beg just miles from us or clean our homes. Although we may suffer great personal sacrifice, we must be free, willing, and able to mushroom any controversy to the level of the city, state or hopefully national consciousness, even if there may be other more subtle or effective ways to of handling it, because it is every citizen’s right to be interviewed by vacuous newspeople and promoted by ratings chasing producers.
    we must never forget that wars were fought for the right to have a reality TV show and corresponding book deal. We must have our freedom to strike out immediately, with as little thought or investigation as possible, when we see an act of social injustice, but retain our freedom to take great umbrage at those that criticize us without “having all the facts.” We must fight for our freedom to resort to name calling and character assassination when others can’t seem to agree with us, but be quick to claim such tactics as “off limits” when used against us. Above us, we must fight to maintain, nay I say expand, our rights and abilities to post anonymously on the internet, so that we may say those things we have not the courage to say in person or by our own names, because things were pretty boring before the internet. Now I have to go, my blue face paint is running.

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  • October 26, 2010 at 12:49 pm
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    I wholeheartedly support Jon and his desire to be an active leader in the Boy Scout troop. His sexuality is not and should not be an issue.

    Pedophilia is a problem that warrants keeping adults away from the BSA. Being gay is a completely separate consideration and has no bearing on Jon’s ability to be an honest, effective leader.

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  • September 10, 2013 at 5:01 am
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    Not sure why they are just picking on homosexuals in the boys scouts. Couldn’t the same be said about a straight male leading or coaching a girls soccer, baseball, basketball or swim team. The real question here is: Will this gay guy attempt to molest my child? What else is the problem people? Being gay does not mean the person will prey on your child. Do you think the gayness will rub off on your kid? Grow up people..diversity is all around us. Its about time people accept one another. Open up your mind and stop being so insecure. Your child will be a better adult than you are if you keep your mouth shut and start listening. My two cents.

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  • September 10, 2013 at 3:06 pm
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    Wow Gloria. Did you just revive a 3 year old blog thread? Yes you did. Awesome!

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