NYC high school’s decision to honor sex offender Peter Yarrow offends parents, students

NYC high school’s decision to honor sex offender Peter Yarrow offends parents, students

“Is it even legal for him to be in a school?” That very good question was raised by one of the outraged parents whose children attend New York’s La Guardia High School for the Performing Arts. The reference is to Peter Yarrow, the Peter of the iconic folk group Peter, Paul, and Mary, and to plans announced by the school to fete Yarrow, who is an alumnus.

Yarrow’s peter made headlines of its own in 1970 when the singer seduced a 14-year-old girl in a Washington, D.C., hotel room as her 17-year-old sister looked on. He pleaded guilty to “taking indecent liberties” with a minor and spent three months in the clink. In 1981, he was pardoned by President Jimmy Carter, which no doubt erased the unpleasant memories of the child he molested.

The event honoring Yarrow — which is being billed as “Peace, Love, and the Power of Song” — is scheduled to take place at Lincoln Center on May 21. But a number of the school’s musically gifted students say they are “uncomfortable” appearing in the same auditorium with Yarrow and refuse to perform for him.

The New York Post notes:

After word leaked that Yarrow would be honored, a La Guardia student wrote on the Facebook page for the school’s vocal majors that a teacher told her that any student could choose to decline to take part in the gala.

“IMPORTANT! So, I talked to [the teacher], and she said that whoever is uncomfortable performing in the gala honoring Peter Yarrow does not have to participate,” the student wrote, adding that anyone who didn’t want to sing with the folk star had to reply to her post with their real name and chorus information.

Within 24 hours, 10 girls and two boys wrote back that they didn’t want to sing for the performer.

As noted earlier, many parents are also less than enthusiastic about the school’s choice of honorees. Said one:

They have lots of famous alumni who went to that school. Is this really the best choice for someone to honor and be on stage with these children?

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Howard Portnoy

Howard Portnoy

Howard Portnoy has written for The Blaze, HotAir, NewsBusters, Weasel Zippers, Conservative Firing Line, RedCounty, and New York’s Daily News. He has one published novel, Hot Rain, (G. P. Putnam’s Sons), and has been a guest on Radio Vice Online with Jim Vicevich, The Alana Burke Show, Smart Life with Dr. Gina, and The George Espenlaub Show.


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