Alameda allows LGBT Lesson #9

May 26, 2009 12:00:00 AM PDT
Same-sex marriage may not be legal in California, but after Tuesday night learning about same-sex parents will be mandatory in Alameda schools. The curriculum is controversial and drew a large crowd at what turned into a heated board meeting.

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School board members were deciding whether to accept or reject LGBT Lesson #9. It's part of an anti-bullying curriculum that teaches students, kindergarten through fifth grade, about other families including those with same-sex parents. Regardless, opponents asked why it did not include racism or religious intolerance.

"If one of us went to our child's school principal because one of our girls was being bullied because of her head scarf, do you think that the Alameda Unified School District would hire a consultant to advocate for our beliefs to be imposed on every child and every elementary school in Alameda?" said parent Aisha Balde.

Two of the five board members believed students should have the chance to opt-out of the lesson, but the district's legal counsel recommended against it.

"This is really anti bullying curriculum. Not health or sex ed, and that's why he said it's not appropriate necessarily to have an opt-out provision," said Kirsten Vital, superintendant of the Alameda Unified School District.

"I believe the safe school curriculum is necessary to stop other students from having to go through the torture I went though for my sexual orientation," said Brian Harris, a high school student.

In the end, the board voted 3-2 to adopt LGBT Lesson #9 without allowing students to opt out.

The board will re-access the curriculum after one school year. Opponents say that if a student can't opt-out, it could result in a costly lawsuit for the school district. Regardless, supporters say if a student gets hurt because his or her parents are gay or lesbian, that could also result in a costly lawsuit.

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