The North American Division used its News Points bulletin to respond to an article in the Huffington Post on the disinvitation of anti-bullying advocate Carrol Grady from the 2012 Teachers' Convention in Nashville, TN. The Huffington Post reported that Grady was told in the days before the convention that she would not be allowed a booth in the convention's exhibition hall, though she had paid for a booth and for airfare long in advance. According to the report, NAD education vice-president Larry Blackmer told Grady that "that several unnamed people complained about her organization's support for gay marriage. Other education officials then allegedly voted to ban her booth from the convention." The article also detailed an alleged attempt to prevent convention attendees from attending a screening of the film Seventh-Gay Adventists off site. According to several teachers, "an email was sent from regional education superintendents that the time of the film screening would be a good time for them to hold a mandatory meeting of all their employees."
The NAD News Points bulletin responded to Grady's disinvitation saying,
The organization, Someone to Talk To, turned in an application to serve as an exhibitor. The application, however, led event organizers to believe that the organization would be providing a counseling resource to educators. When organizers realized that this organization upheld beliefs contradictory to the Church, an immediate call was placed to the organization to let them know they couldn’t serve as a vendor at the Convention. A refund was also offered to the organization.
The memo also sought to draw attention to the Division's anti-bulling efforts.
The Church supports efforts aimed at ending violence and abuse against young people. During the Teachers’ Convention, Adventist Risk Management, Inc., in partnership with several other Adventist organizations, launched The Seven Campaign: Stop Child Abuse Now. The NAD Office of Education also gave attendees a preview of the Olweus Bullying Prevention Program, a whole-school program that has been proven to prevent or reduce bullying throughout a school setting. Event organizers also offered six breakout sessions (equaling eight hours of education in-service) at the Convention dealing with the issue of bullying.
Finally, the bulletin defended the right of church officials to prevent exhibitors from displaying materials at events like the Teachers' Convention.
The North American Division exercises the right to decide which exhibitors are present at any of our events. This does not mean that the North American Division is in any way discriminating against vendors. However, it does mean that the practices of the vendors must not be contrary to the beliefs and practices of the Seventh-day Adventist Church.
This is a companion discussion topic for the original entry at http://spectrummagazine.org/node/4662