The Freedom From Religion Foundation has sent open records requests to three Texas school districts which hosted or scheduled presentations by author and "motivational" speaker Justin Lookadoo on dating with content described as heavily sexist. Lookadoo gives "motivational" presentations that sometimes contain faith-based content.
In fact, in a press kit for one of his recent books it says: "He takes advantage of current hip and relevant cultural twists and turns in the world to show teens that biblical principals [sic] and Christian values are actually ‘cool’ rules to live by."
The requests from FFRF Staff Attorney Patrick Elliott went to districts in George West, Richardson and Canadian. Lookadoo's Nov. 13 assembly at Richardson High School, drew national attention for the blatantly sexist remarks he made. He's scheduled to speak at Nov. 19 in George West and Dec. 11 in Canadian.
FFRF's record requests are geared to finding out how Lookadoo was approved as a school speaker.
According to media sources and persons present, Lookadoo quoted from his book, "The Dateable Rules," to Richardson students: "The reason it's so hard for you [girls] to succeed these days is not because of guys. You're doing it to yourselves. Somewhere between the modern church and the feminist movement, guys turned into pansies." (Lookado and some attendees are at odds on just exactly what he said.)
Lookadoo's "Datable Rules" are a treasure trove of outmoded sexual stereotypes, including, "Let [the man] lead. God made guys as leaders. Men of God are wild, not domesticated. Dateable guys aren't tamed." Another Lookadoo pearl: "Dateable girls know how to shut up."
Richardson Principal Charles Bruner, in a Nov. 14 letter to parents and students, said the PTA "engaged" Lookadoo to speak. School officials were aware of his faith-based background "and confirmed with Mr. Lookadoo in advance of the assemblies that he would not discuss religion or these 'Rules of Dating,' as part of his presentation. As agreed, he did not discuss these topics during either presentation," Bruner claimed.
In FFRF's letter to George West Superintendent Ty Sparks, Elliott said: "We are aware that some Christian missionaries insinuate themselves into public schools by camouflaging their purposes and by professing to be 'experts' in some relevant secular field. It is incumbent upon public officials to perform 'due diligence' when approached by outside groups with vested interests in 'pitching' their messages to a captive audience of public school students. In this case, it takes only a cursory web search to verify Lookadoo’s religious agenda and his controversial ideas on sexuality and gender roles."
Elliott added: "It is difficult for us to see the educational merit in hosting such a speaker. Your community possesses many secular experts, including professionals who have experience, training, certification, and/or degrees in their respective fields and whose presence at District events would not raise constitutional red flags."
FFRF is asking the school districts for their contracts with Lookadoo, along with any correspondence with him about the agreed-upon content of his performance.
The Richardson request includes a request for a copy of any audio or video recording made during his presentation.
According to the Dallas News, dating book co-author Hayley DiMarco had her information scrubbed off rudateable.com after the story mushroomed.
Jennifer Richman, mother of a freshman who heard the speech, told the newspaper: “He definitely was motivational. He enraged a lot of kids.”