Alameda may introduce gay issues to schools


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Alameda students will soon learn that gays, lesbians, bisexuals and transgendered people can also make up a family.

"And the notion is to include everyone and make a welcoming environment for everyone including our LGBT community," Alameda Unified School District Superintendent Kirsten Vital said.

Storybooks, a video and group discussions will be part of a lesson plan introduced in kindergarten. Some of the books that would be part of the new curriculum include 'Who's in a Family' and 'And Tango Makes Three,' about two male penguins who adopt a small baby penguin.

Some Alameda parents are welcoming the new material.

"I think the less narrow minded that we bring up our children, the more open they will be they will be to what they see and what they are exposed to and the more accepting they will be that there are just differences," parent Maybel Castro said.

But some parents and pro-family advocacy groups say the curriculum is not age-appropriate.

"This is not the role of the school," Capitol Resource Institute spokesperson Karen England said. "These are issues that belong at home and these are discussions that belong at home, they certainly do not belong in the kindergarten classrooms of our public schools."

But Vital says it is about teaching tolerance early on.

"It really ties to the anti-teasing, anti-bullying curriculum and helping kids not to tease each other on the playground and not to bully one another and really understand everyone's differences," Vital said.

Other schools districts like San Francisco, San Leandro, and Berkeley already have similar lesson plans.

The Alameda school board will hear from parents in a public hearing at City Hall on May 12 at 6:30 p.m. The board will vote on May 26.

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