California Schools To Teach About All Kinds of People Including LBGTs

Posted on December 10, 2011


SamHenry has been deeply saddened by the suicide deaths of so many school children over this past year.  The number seems to increase annually.  So much of the bullying surrounds kids that others see as “gay.”  Some have been; others have not.  The bottom line here is somewhere they have been taught that people labeled gay are of no value.

This is something that should not happen to anyone in our society.  It is closely akin to labeling Jews during the Holocaust as worthless and worthy of eradication.  This pattern of behavior against any one person or group is a pattern that needs to be curbed.

A California teacher has been using a text that introduces children to all kinds of people, not just gays.  It puts them in a context and not into high relief.  But what it can do is give value to children who feel oppressed and enlighten those who are their oppressors.  The bullies are as much victims as their targets.

No matter our view of the cause of being gay or the value of them, it is imperative that we value all of our citizens and their contributions.  Until we discover what makes someone gay and give them the choice of changing that, this is our best alternative to the early death of little children.

(CNN) – In 10th grade English at Los Angeles’ Grover Cleveland High School, Danielle Taklender’s students read the book “Luna” by Julie Anne Peters.  It’s a story about a transgender teen.

Taklender has been teaching the book for seven years without any fanfare or push back. It’s getting noticed now as her school district takes the lead in developing a plan to comply with the first state law mandating lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender history and social science curricula. The California law, which takes effect in January, stops short of dictating how schools are to comply and leaves that up to the districts and schools themselves to figure out.

Taklender uses “Luna” to expose students to new vocabulary and different ways of thinking about pronouns. The students discuss gender identity versus sexual orientation, as well as gender roles in literature.  Taklender said she teaches this book the same way she teaches every other book.

She says the only negative feedback she has run into was a parent who once requested an alternate assignment after the class finished reading the book.

“No students ever say they changed their sexual orientation because of it,” Taklender said.

The new law, called the California Fair Education Act, also requires schools teach about the contributions of Native Americans, and people with disabilities. It also bans instructional materials that adversely reflect on a person due to their sexual orientation. The requirements are actually an expansion to the education code already in existence, which requires lesson plans to include various ethnic groups.

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