The Los Angeles Times, a vehement defender of gay rights in California and particularly during the recent Proposition 8 battle, remarkably, came out today opposing the recent effort to introduce gay curriculum in Northern California elementary schools.
You may remember that the Alameda Unified School District, which has celebrated “Coming Out Week” in many of its public schools for sometime, voted to begin introducing gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender concepts in classrooms from kindergarten on up. Even supporters of gay marriage have been ambivalent about such a move. Now the L.A. Times seems to speak for all of us:
The unsigned editorial in today’s L.A. Times is fascinating on several levels. Key paragraph:
In attempting to discourage taunting of gay students, the Alameda Unified School District turned what should be a basic lesson on treating others kindly into a primer on sexual identity. Its new anti-bullying curriculum for kindergartners through fifth-graders will begin in the fall and focus solely on gay and lesbian issues — as if harassment based on race, religion or failure to wear cool clothes were nonexistent. Parents who might object cannot opt their children out of it. It’s a heavy-handed approach to take with students at a tender age.
. . .
[The district] went too far in adopting a curriculum that introduces topics involving sexuality at an age when most children are ill-equipped to consider them. The new curriculum familiarizes second-graders with the concept of same-sex couples and teaches fourth-graders the words “gay” and “lesbian.” A year later, it calls on the teacher to write the acronym LGBT on the board and ask students the meaning of each letter (it stands for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender, the four main forms of alternative sexual identity).
The district is using a facts-of-life curriculum to impart a Golden Rule lesson: Treat others as you want to be treated. Mean behavior is not OK. This is best taught by creating a school culture that values and rewards kindness and that doesn’t hesitate to discipline bullying.
During last fall’s Propositi0n 8 election anyone who raised this issue was derided as a liar or a fear-monger (not to mention a “hater”). It will be interesting to see the reaction the Times editorial gets. So far, the comments to the on-line version are not encouraging.
No one supports bullying children — about their sexuality or anything else. All children should be taught — at home and at school — the “Golden Rule” lesson the Times endorses. But there is no reason to teach elementary school children anything about human sexuality. Anyone who argues otherwise has some explaining to do about what the real agenda of such education might be.