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School board breaking federal law with 'gay' day?
Posted By Chelsea Schilling On 06/09/2009 @ 9:38 pm In Front Page | Comments Disabled
‘And Tango Makes Three’ book about homosexual male penguins who name their chick Tango because ‘It takes two to make a Tango.’
A California school district is being accused of violating federal law after it approved a mandatory homosexual curriculum for children as young as 5 – without allowing parents to opt-out of the lessons.
As WND reported, the mandatory program, officially titled “LGBT Lesson #9,” was approved May 26 by the Alameda County Board of Education by a vote of 3-2. Students from kindergarten
through fifth grade are scheduled to learn about “tolerance” for the homosexual lifestyle beginning next school year.
The curriculum is in addition to the school’s current anti-bullying program and is estimated to cost $8,000 for curriculum and training.
Parents will not be given an opportunity to opt-out of lessons that go against their religious beliefs. Some parents are threatening to sue the school board and mount a recall. Opponents presented a petition with 468 signatures from people who don’t want the homosexual lessons in the curriculum.
But Capitol Resource Institute’s Karen England released a statement condemning the program and accusing the district of violating federal law. She said the Protection of Pupil Rights Amendment governs any survey, analysis or evaluation given to students.
Under the regulation, parents must be notified and given an opportunity to opt-out, if the evaluation addresses topics such as:
“Alameda’s new curriculum requires written and verbal expression of student ideas, with a clear intent to evaluate whether students endorse homosexuality,” England said. “It is intolerant of traditional views on human sexuality.”
Alameda Unified School District receives federal funds from the federal Safe and Drug-Free Schools and Communities Act, under Title IV of No Child Left Behind. Recipients of those federal funds must implement a district program on school safety and bullying prevention.
However, England notes, accepting those funds also makes Alameda subject to the Pupil Rights Amendment.
The district’s legal counsel recommended against giving parents an opportunity to opt out of the lessons, claiming only health or sex education topics require opt-out provisions:
[T]he most prudent course of action for Alameda Unified School District’s Board of Education in regards to the proposed lesson is to recommend providing notice to parents, not to allow an opt out of the instruction.
The school district claims it will re-assess the curriculum, but only after it has been in place for a full year.
According to the Island of Alameda, trustee Tracy Jensen addressed a crowd at City Hall following the vote.
“We are not telling anyone what to think,” Jensen said. “We are letting children know that gay people exist and they deserve to be treated with respect, regardless of whether or not you believe that homosexuality is acceptable.”
In kindergarten, the schools plan to introduce children to “The New Girl … And Me” by Jacqui Robins. The book is about a young girl who is new at a school and strikes up a friendship with another girl after a popular boy refuses to play with her.
In first grade, students will read “Who is in a Family?” By Robert Skutch. It explores different types of families. One page states, ” … Robin’s family is made up of her dad, Clifford, her dad’s partner, Henry, and Robin’s cat, Sassy.”
Curriculum for 1st grade students includes ‘Who’s in a Family?’
Teachers will ask children to “identify and describe a variety of families” and “to understand that families have some similarities and some differences.”
“If a student responds that one family in the book is made up of a mother, a father and two children and a cat, you may acknowledge that some families look like this,” the curriculum states, “but also ask students for other examples of what a family can look like.”
Teachers are told to reflect and “reinforce to students that in our school and our community there are many different types of families that provide love and care to each other. Remind the students that all family structures are equally important.”
Second grade students will read about two homosexual penguins that raise a young chick in the book “And Tango Makes Three” by J. Richardson and P. Parnell.
The two male penguins, Roy and Silo, are described as being “a little bit different.”
“They didn’t spend much time with the girl penguins, and the girl penguins didn’t spend much time with them,” the text states.
When the male penguins nurture an egg, it soon hatches. “We’ll call her Tango,” it states, “because it takes two to make a Tango.”
The book declares, “Tango was the very first penguin in the zoo to have two daddies.”
3rd grade students will watch ‘That’s a Family’ film
In the third grade, students will watch a film called “That’s a Family,” featuring some homosexual couples in addition to traditional families.
According to the lesson plan, it aims to “assist students in developing sensitivity to gay and lesbian family structures” and teach “respect and tolerance for every type of family.”
Fourth graders will be required to read an essay titled, “My School is Accepting – but Things Could be Better” by Robert, an 11-year-old who has two lesbian mothers.
They are introduced to terms such as “ally,” “gay,” “lesbian” and “LGBT.”
Teachers are instructed to ask, “How do you think Robert feels when he hears people say things like, ‘this is gay’ or ‘You’re so gay’?”
“This curriculum also puts teachers in an awkward position,” England said. “They’re forced to teach that traditional views are bigoted, even if they hold traditional views.”
By fifth grade, students learn to “identify stereotypes about lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people.” They are told that “LGBT people have made important contributions within the United States and beyond.”
Teachers are asked to write the acronym LGBT and ask students the meaning of each letter. Students discuss why stereotypes are “incorrect and hurtful” to LGBT people and people with LGBT family members.
The children are provided with a list of famous LGBT people, including novelist James Baldwin, singer Elton John, comedian Ellen Degeneres, pop singer Christina Aguilera, Rep. Tammy Baldwin, poet Walt Whitman, singer Lance Bass, figure skater Rudy Galindo, homosexual politician Harvey Milk, Army veteran Jose Zuniga and basketball player Sheryl Swoopes.
Teachers then ask if students are surprised to learn that those famous people are members of the LGBT community. The curriculum also provides a list of LGBT vocabulary words for students, including the following: bisexual, transgender, gay, LGBT and lesbian.
Several parents of Alameda students have said the program only focuses on bullying related to homosexuality and does not mention intimidation and harrassment based on race and religion.
England said California state data show the top reason for bullying in the school district is race.
She said, “If the district is serious about student safety, it should start with anti-bullying efforts on race.”
Nonetheless, due to a 31-year-old federal policy, England said Alameda parents can demand an opt-out.
Contact information for the three members of the Alameda County Board of Education who voted for the LGBT curriculum is as follows:
Vice President Ron Mooney: e-mail or fax: (510) 522-6926
Trustee Tracy Jensen: e-mail, phone: (510) 865-6350 or fax: (510) 522-6926
Trustee Niel Tam: e-mail or fax: (510) 522-6926
Concerned individuals may also call the U.S. Department of Education at (202) 260-3887 and ask officials to enforce the Protection of Pupil Rights Amendment in Alameda Unified School District.
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