By Courtney Sims |Staff Writer|
California is the first state to require public schools to educate K-12 students on the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) community, through required textbooks and mandated courses.
In July 2011 Gov. Jerry Brown signed off on the historical law that requires California’s public schools K-12 to integrate LGBT into school curriculum.
In a statement made by Gov. Brown, he believes “history should be honest.”
California politicians like Sen. Mark Leno are very pleased with Gov. Brown’s enthusiasm of the bill and foresee other states following in the same path.
“This is definitely a step forward, and I’m hopeful that other states will follow,” said Mark Leno, California’s first openly gay state senator, who sponsored the bill, as stated in the New York Times.
Some members of Traditional Values Coalition are disappointed with Gov. Brown’s decision to allow homosexual and transgender education in public schools.
“It is an outrage that Gov. Jerry Brown has opened the classroom door for homosexual activists to indoctrinate the minds of California’s youth, since no factual materials would be allowed to be presented,” Rev. Louis Sheldon, chairman and founder of the Traditional Values Coalition, said in a statement in Time Magazin. According to the American Civil Liberties Union website, “Lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender youth should have the freedom to be open (or not) about their identity and ideas in schools and government facilities. The LGBT Project strives to protect their right to be safe and visible, and to have their identity embraced rather than belittled or erased.”
The California bill comes after backlash the state of Massachusetts received after parents protested against second graders, who were introduced to the book “King & King.”
The illustrated book by Linda De Hann, like any fairy tale ends with a marriage, but instead of a man and a woman the books shows two men tying the knot.
California public school districts are now able to decide how to accommodate the mandated lessons and classes on LGBT.
The new law has both advocates and critics offering strong opinions as to why this could be a good or a bad idea.
“I think it’s great,” said T. Brown, a teacher’s assistant for a local California public school. “It is important to teach diversity at all levels. This law can really educate people and allow them to become tolerable of the things they don’t understand,” Brown continued.
A concern some conservatives have is this may force parents of children in California public schools, who don’t support the teaching of LGBT history to their children, to choose private entities for their child’s education.
Randy Thomasson, president of SaveCalifornia.com, a conservative family group, said parents will be forced to put their children in private school to avoid “immoral indoctrination,” as reported in The Daily News.
Local parents feel the same as Thomasson, fearing that they have no authority about what is being taught to their children.
“First the Federal appeal on Prop. 8 and now this,” said Stacey Flynn, mother of an elementary student in Yucaipa. “I feel as if I don’t have any rights. What about my right to protect my kids?” She continued.
Although the law went into effect in Jan. 2012, the required state textbooks with the new modifications will be in 2013, but schools are required to designate courses to LGBT education.