San Ramon parents threaten to boycott LGBTQ Acceptance Week

ByAmy Hollyfield and Lyanne Melendez KGO logo
Saturday, April 2, 2016
East Bay parents threaten to boycott LGTBTQ Acceptance week
Parents at a middle school in San Ramon are divided over a LGBTQ Acceptance Week. Some are threatening to pull their children out of school because they say it's inappropriate, others want it reduced to just one day.

SAN RAMON, Calif. (KGO) -- Parents of one school in San Ramon are threatening to boycott "LGBTQ Acceptance Week." On Friday, a group of them met with the San Ramon Valley School District superintendent to persuade the district to make changes.

It all started when some students didn't like what they were hearing others say.

"The kids have been really concerned about hearing words like 'you're so gay,' and 'that's so gay'" said parent Jennifer Ottley.

Ottley's daughter was one of the students at Windemere Ranch Middle School who decided it was time to educate kids about how their words can be hurtful. So they came up with the idea of LGBTQ Appreciation Week at the school starting April 11.

But when the administration sent home an email about the curriculum, some parents protested. They created an online petition asking that it only be a day, not a week. They're concerned this will indoctrinate children and humiliate those whose religions don't agree with the campaign. The school met with concerned parents and agreed to modify the lesson a bit, but appreciation week is still on.

"This is a message peers wanted to get out to their peers to make sure all students feel comfortable on campus and that's something that's important to us," said San Ramon Valley School District Spokesperson Elizabeth Graswich.

"I think it's just a good way to inform the kids of certain, you know, current issues," said parent Karmina Delaney.

Kids roughly between the ages of 11 and 13 will be shown videos like one about a transgender student who was crowned homecoming queen.

"I finally feel so much happier with myself," said the student in the video.

There will be multiple discussions, ending on a Friday with a "Day of Silence" to spread awareness.

But not every parent welcomes this kind of exposure.

"Not age appropriate at all. We felt it's a subject better addressed by parents at home," said parent John Rocha.

Fellow parent Hyunjin Park added, "I'm against it, I don't know how to express it, but it's kind of hard."

Others like the concept, but suggest that other issues on discrimination be included in the discussion.

"So we want to have four other groups, you know, teaching tolerance all around," said parent Robyn Barney.

Fellow parent Karmina Delaney says, "I think it is a good way to inform the kids of certain, current issues."

"I think it is part of society as we are now. It's good that they're aware of it for the future," said L.D. Grewal, parent.

The principal of the school has already agreed to make minor changes.

"As part of the conversation, the videos aren't going to be shown in full anymore," said Graswich. "The principal has decided to take certain portions of them out and only show portion of it."

For example, at the end of the homecoming queen video there is GoFundMe page to help pay for the transition procedure. That has been taken out.

Other say it's not enough and will consider having their kids opt out.

So what do you think? Share your thoughts in the comments below.