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Parents pull 650 children from school to protest LGBT curriculum: 'Let kids be kids'

Elise Solé
The Rocklin Unified School District in California voted to include LGBTQ figures in its curriculum, which some parents opposed. (Photo: Getty Images)

Parents pulled 650 children from their California school district for one day recently, protesting a new LGBTQ-inclusive curriculum.

On May 1, the Rocklin Unified School District approved a history and social science curriculum to include the work of gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender, and queer people. By doing so, the district is obeying the FAIR Education Act, passed in 2011 and requiring schools to educate children about people with disabilities and of varying sexual orientations and racial ethnicities, both in history and social science.

California is the first state to do so in the public-school system. An example of the curriculum, according to The Sacramento Bee, is a second-grade textbook that calls Sally Ride a “good example for all females,” who “joined NASA and became the first female and first lesbian American astronaut.”

A Rocklin spokesperson tells Yahoo Lifestyle that parents are lawfully permitted to remove their children from sexual health and HIV/AIDS prevention courses, but that the new curriculum, however, unveiled in Fall 2019, is unrelated to sex-ed. Instead of opt-outs, families will be granted an advance heads-up about classroom content.

Parents filled a school board meeting at Granite Oaks Middle School to argue the vote. “We believe that anyone who has made a significant contribution to society should, of course, be included in our history textbooks,” said Rachel Crutchfield, a spokesperson for Informed Parents of Rocklin, according to The Sacramento Bee. “However, the concept of sexual orientation is far too complex of a topic for elementary-aged children to be introduced to at school. Children in second grade simply do not have the tools to comprehend sexuality, nor do we want them to. Let’s let kids be kids.”

A representative for the group, which called for the May 3rd sit-out, did not return a message from Yahoo Lifestyle.

The lesson plans are overdue, say some. “Growing up, I did not see myself included in educational books,” Diana Madoshi, an African-American community member, told The Sacramento Bee. “When you came here, you had to stop at a stop light, and I am sure you didn’t know that it was invented by a black man.”

A high school student told the Bee, “All students should be able to see a role model in their textbook, and say, ‘A person like me did something great, and I can do something great, too.’”

The school district tells Yahoo Lifestyle in a statement, “On May 1, 2019 the Rocklin Unified School District Board of Trustees voted 3-2 to adopt a high quality History Social-Science curriculum designed to meet the needs of our most gifted and struggling students. It is recommended by our committee of teachers who did a tremendous amount of work and reviewed and piloted the curriculum. The curriculum addresses the state mandated Fair, Accurate, Inclusive and Respectful) FAIR Act. This means History Social-Science learning materials will include the contributions of various groups, including people with disabilities, ethnic groups and those who identify as LGBT. We respect all our families opinions and feedback and moving forward we will take extra care in developing the best course of action to ensure our families' values are respected. We will also continue to engage our families regarding the implementation of this curriculum.”

Rachel Henry, of the Sacramento LGBT Community Center, tells Yahoo Lifestyle, “We know that teaching children tolerance, love, and kindness isn’t enough — we have to actively teach about diversity within our community. Because if we’re not naming those identities, we’re ignoring and silencing them.”

“The existence of LGBTQ people is not a ‘sensitive issue,’” she says. “We’re just fighting against the idea that straight is ‘normal.’ Aside from gay marriage — which is only one aspect of equality — gay people still aren’t a federally-protected class.”

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