Videos about gay pride, shown in a third-grade classroom in Glendel, sparked a debate about how and when public identity lessons should be taught in public schools.
At recent meetings of the United School District Council in Glendale, some parents and activists have stated the right to parental control over education, especially when it comes to topics they find sensitive.
Here’s what California education legislation and policy say about such issues.
What does California require for LGBTQ education?
Mandatory learning objectives from the California Department of Education say training materials should include “role and contribution” among others “lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender Americans”.
How this is achieved depends on local school systems and teachers, said Maria Clayton, a spokeswoman for the department. The state-approved framework states that teachers should use “age-appropriate” materials to discuss and teach “the diversity of humanity”.
Recommended resources include materials from Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education Network.
How early should California students learn about issues related to gender expression and identity?
Much of this remains at the local discretion. But government guidelines state that sophomores studying the stories of “diverse families,” including lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender parents and their children … can find themselves and their families in history and learn about life. and the historical struggle of their peers. ”
How much freedom do parents have to pull their children out of the lessons of gender identity?
Parents or guardians may omit lessons on integrated sexual health education and HIV prevention, but not out of instruction which refers to gender, gender identity or sexual orientation.
For example, parents could not pull children out of a social studies lesson on U.S. Supreme Court ruling of 2015 in favor of same-sex marriage.
If the parents choose not to attend the child during such a lesson, it will most likely be recorded as an absence without excuse.
Did Glendale’s third-grade teacher and school follow government recommendations?
There was no evidence that Glendel’s teacher Tammy Tyber violated local or state guidelines. Three short videos approved by Tyber were approved in the district’s unqualified curriculum. The adviser made a reservation about the fourth video, but did not forbid Tiber to show it.
In a statement, Glendale Supt. Vivian Ecchian noted that “we are very deliberate in choosing a curriculum that meets state requirements, in order to ensure an” inclusive and respectful representation of the rich diversity in our community. “
How do the Justice for Poverty Training materials from the Southern Law Center for Poverty participate in this discussion?
Tiber on behalf of the school system tested the widely used materials created by the Poverty Legal Center. These materials were developed decades ago by a nonprofit group to combat racism and white supremacy.
The Training for justice The materials used at Glendale do not include videos of gay pride, but all lessons offered by the organization are designed to promote diversity and inclusion, including empathy for students who do not meet gender norms.
“It’s a concept of making things invisible – we know it’s not a solution,” said Bacardi Jackson, interim deputy legal director for children’s rights at the Southern Legal Center for Poverty. “So we can’t pretend that topics don’t exist. We cannot pretend that humans do not exist. That is why it is very harmful to create a scenario in which some children can come and talk about their identity or their families, and other children are excluded from these exercises. ”
What California education policy compares to the policies of other states?
California’s policies tend to be consistent with states that have liberal leadership, for example New York. But conservative states – including Texas and Louisiana – reasoned or limited learning about gender identity.
A Florida’s new law – which critics call the “Don’t say gay” bill, saying that marginalizes LGBTQ – Prohibits education in kindergarten until the third grade in the class on sexual orientation and gender identity. At least five other states have similar legislation approved or in the works. And at least 19 states restricted or balanced restrict children’s access to gender-sensitive care if it contradicts a person’s biological sex at birth.
Do parents or the public have the opportunity to participate in decision-making about what is taught?
School districts and the state typically have a lengthy public process, including hearings and a comment period, before education officials approve teaching materials. But hearings and reviews of textbooks rarely attract much attention.
Glendel officials noted that there is also a process for filing a complaint about the lesson. Parents should first submit a question to the teacher; they can then turn to the director and finally, if necessary, can file a formal complaint with senior district officials.