BERRIEN COUNTY, Mich. — REAL News Michiana has learned about a new push from a local LGBTQ organization to recruit children from multiple Berrien County high schools. The group is advertising via flyers at the schools to children, hoping to get them to attend events and meetings for the organization at a local library. REAL News Michiana is working to determine if the events are being organized or advertised in coordination with the schools.
Multiple parents tell RNM the flyers were posted in Brandywine and Niles High Schools. RNM was provided with pictures of the flyers from both locations, where we’re told they’ve been placed in the school hallways.
The flyers, which contain the Outcenter of Southwest Michigan logo, advertise a meet-up for children at the Niles Public Library where kids can get snacks and play games. The event is scheduled for November 16th at 5:30pm.
RNM reached out to both high school principals and both school district superintendents. As of publication, we have not received a response.
OUTCENTER AND SCHOOLS
The Outcenter has been obsessed with kids and Berrien County schools. The organization and its staff is known to target children and the education system in Southwest Michigan, with a main focus of recruiting children to create LGBTQ clubs inside of schools.
In February, RNM broke a story about New Buffalo Area Schools looking to hire the radical organization for professional development of its middle school teachers under the guise of anti-bullying. The school board approved a grant application, put together by one of the district’s music/band teachers.
REAL News Michiana obtained the grant application through a Freedom of Information Act Request. In it, teacher Christina Beushausen, describes the professional development as “role play” exercises from the Executive Director of the OutCenter of Southwest Michigan, Mary Jo Schnell.
The OutCenter focuses much of its efforts on pushing for LGBTQ clubs in schools. On its website, it advertises a “Teen Pride Summit Series” where it says the OutCenter will “Help you start your school’s GSA (Gay Straight Alliance club).” The summit covers a host of issues on how to create a club constitution, fundraising, events and how to recruit for the clubs.
RNM has learned the Outcenter has been sending their staff into Berrien County schools. According to documents obtained by RNM, Outcenter Program Coordinator Gerik Nasstrom, attended and spoke at an October school board meeting in Niles. RNM was not able to find any information that Nasstrom has children of his own in the schools.
Nasstrom is open about his push to reduce the influence of conservative families on their own children.
“Growing up in a conservative faith community left him with an undeveloped understanding of both broader LGBTQ+ issues and his own queer identity.” Nasstrom’s bio reads on the Outcenter website. “After years of deconstructing, education, and self reflection he refocused his efforts on progressive advocacy and outreach to those who are in communities like the one that he was raised in. His goal is to continue the amazing work of the OutCenter while expanding its reach.”
Nasstrom calls himself a “Queer Leftist Christian” on his Facebook page and advocates being “ruthless with institutions.”
MARY JO SCHNELL
While her organization is built to infiltrate and influence schools, Mary Jo Schnell (Outcenter Executive Director) herself is extremely vocal about not allowing parents to have a say in the education of their children. Her social media is full of posts lambasting parents for disagreeing with progressive indoctrination. She also attacks conservatives, Thanksgiving and Chick-fil-A while promoting censorship and Critical Race Theory. You can see several of those posts below.
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