New information retrieved on Kevin Jennings student controversy

Student involved in Obama official Kevin Jennings' controversy was of legal age.
The student involved with Obama official Kevin Jennings was of legal age at the time Jennings provided advice. Photo courtesy of chandlerswatch.com
The student involved with Obama official Kevin Jennings was of legal age at the time Jennings provided advice. Photo courtesy of chandlerswatch.com

The controversy concerning Kevin Jennings, assistant deputy secretary for the Office of Safe and Drug Free Schools, has been cleared of some negativity toward him.

Jennings was criticized for outing himself in his book, One Teacher in Ten: Gay and Lesbian Educators Tell Their Stories, as having a conversation with a teenager involved with an older man. He said he gave the teenager relationship advice in 1987. The controversy stirred when it was unclear whether the teenager was of legal age.

However, Media Matters secured the student’s driver’s license from 1987, and he was 16 at the time. According to an Advocate.com article, some states enforce constituted statutory rape based on age and relationship. The student would have been considered legal age in Massachusetts at the time.

President Barack Obama appointed Jennings. Jennings is also the founder and executive director of the Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education Network advocating safety in schools for LGBT students.

Many conservatives have wanted Jennings fired for the situation because he did not report the student’s relationship at the time. A smear campaign against him, mainly hurting and criticizing a public official’s reputation, has been attributed to Fox News for the past few months.

Read the full article here.

—Kim Brown

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