Part of the Bay Area News Group

Alameda schools, the anti-bullying curriculum

By epearlman
Monday, May 4th, 2009 at 12:02 pm in California, gay rights., Island Life, Race and racism, school board, Schools.

It would have been hard not to notice that there’s been a lot of heated discussion in Alameda about a proposed addition to the Alameda Unified School District’s anti-bullying curriculum. The Alameda Journal last week ran comments in support and against it.

Local Blogger Lauren Do has been tracing what specifically the curriculum will look like. And, for those of you interested, you can always find heated discussion in the comments on Do’s blog. Sometimes commentors make sense, sometimes they don’t. Sometimes they’re nasty and contradictory, sometimes they’re not.

Opposition to the proposed curriculum runs the gamut. From those who believe that homosexuality is a sin, to those who fear that sexual terms will be introduced at too young an age. You can see all the lessons here. The Rev. Laura Rose, pastor of Alameda’s First Congregational Church, wrote this in a letter to the editor:

For those who object to this sort of curriculum on the basis that it is against a specific set of religious or moral beliefs, I would simply say that respect and tolerance for all people as children of God is the unifying and core principle of every world religion.

But more importantly, equality is the core principle of our Constitution and I believe a curriculum that enables children to see all people (and themselves) in a positive light is critical to AUSD’s mission of making Alameda a safe and welcoming place for all children and all families.

You can read Rose’s whole letter here (though you must scroll down). Happy Monday.

[You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.]

  • http://www.linkedin.com/in/jonmspangler Jon Spangler

    Pastor Laura Rose’s letter represents my beliefs on the need for an effective anti-bullying/safe schools curriculum.

    I spent 10 years leading jail Bible studies for inmates before spending 3 years as a volunteer noon supervisor at Franklin Elementary School, near our home. It is critical to teach our children to honor, respect, and accept each other, not only for their own immediate safety but for the good of our society and the protection of persons in the legislative “protected classes” who are vulnerable to discrimination and physical or verbal abuse.

    The harassment of “different” students starts early–in kindergarten–and we need to help teachers “teach peace” and instill healthy, respectful, and tolerant behavior early on. None of this curriculum harms anyone’s moral values or family status: in fact, we are all better off if every child and every family can come out of the shadows of intolerance or invisibility and be accepted “as they are.”

    Approving the original (better) LGBT-specific anti-bullying curriculum is the right thing to do.

  • http://none Sue

    First, I know I am not from your state, but this affects everyone.

    How many times does this state or any state have to vote on this issue? Or visit this issue in our daily life and our school system? California has been voting on same sex marriage since 2000, yet the pro-gay community continues to, and the state of California keeps allowing this vote to go on. What is the point of voting if it is going to get changed or try to get changed all the time? The MAJORITY has spoken, so deal with it once and for all and stop pushing YOUR BELIEFS down our throats! There is a date in April for openly gay students to prance around, where is my children’s special date to prance around and speak about Jesus in school?

    As for the Pastor who wrote the article, you must not read the same bible as I do. You speak of tolerance, but my children are not afforded tolerance for their religious beliefs, in fact, my daughter, who happens to be in Kindergarten, said a prayer before she ate lunch and there was NO tolerance, she was made an example of, she was ostracized because she said a prayer! You speak of tolerance for homosexuals?
    Does the Alameda school district allow children to openly pray and speak the word of God to other children because it is their belief? Probably not.

    The bottom line is…..The MAJORITY of people in this country believe in God. The MAJORITY of the people in this country believe in VOTING. The MAJORITY of people in this country (and your state) voted over and over again to not allow gay marriage and are tired of this lifestyle being in the headlines…there is a reason for that don’t you think? The MAJORITY of people in this country do not want to be pushed into accepting something that is a CHOICE. You CHOOSE to be gay, you CHOOSE to be an outcast from society. The key here is…ITS YOUR CHOICE, you chose this lifestyle so deal with your decision here on earth because God has already spoken on this issue. So, don’t say we must accept it, because we don’t and God doesn’t and he was pretty clear on that in the Bible!

    The problem with our society is that we are continuing to allow the MINORITY population to continue to pursue these issues and scream louder than we are. As for me, I am sick and tired of this issue. How about you tolerate bringing prayer back in school and allow our children to openly speak about Christ and then maybe you would be allowed to do what you want to do too!

  • http://www.johnknoxwhite.com John Knox White

    Sue,

    Over 68% of OUR community voted to reject Proposition and support marriage for everyone. Thanks for your thoughts.

  • E T

    Society is made up of the people who live within it. That means EVERYONE.

    From a Christian perspective, the “great commandment” that Jesus left for his people was: LOVE ONE ANOTHER. That didn’t mean only the ones who agree with you, or only the ones who pray, or the ones that go to YOUR church. Everyone means EVERYONE from tax collectors to who knows what. And the New Testament constantly shows Jesus in action loving and healing people who are not necessarily Jewish, and some of whom are described as sinners by the greater community. Jesus did not define love except by his actions, so there is no small print, only LOVE ONE ANOTHER. Rabbi Hillel said something similar. Mystic teachers of all the great traditions have brought forth the same message.

    So those who think they engage in holy and sacred agape love for others, but only certain exclusive others, are not engaged in the life that Christ or any of these other leaders called their followers to live.

    So, say as many prayers as you want, but pray most of all about what LOVE ONE ANOTHER really means.

  • Jayne Smythe

    Lor’, I go out of town for a visit and come back to find everyone hot and bothered, and not just about the weather! People wearing devil suits and speakers lined up around the block and protests and such…

    I gotta say that folks don’t CHOOSE to be who they are, they just ARE who they are, and no child should have to fear to be who they are in the world.

    No one chooses to be an outcast… pecking order (like, bullying) on the schoolyard of childhood and adult life kinda makes those decisions. But that don’t make it RIGHT or TRUE or LEGAL.

    And I have to agree, with the last poster. Y’all make too much out of the Old Testament and not enough out of what Jesus was saying. Jesus took the commandments and simplified it, so’s we couldn’t forget it. Love God and love thy neighbor as thyself… on this hangs all the law and the prophets. Now much more EVANGELICAL can you get?!

    And Jon has it right, it is all about RESPECT. Everyone is deserving of respect, and we all in this life TOGETHER, so it’d be great if we could all GET ALONG!

    And God bless the children! And ALL the different kinds of families that take on the sacred job of rearing the children. Heaven knows there are NOT ENOUGH OF THEM. So cut the families some slack and help them like any good community should! Takes a village to raise a child, so let’s be takin’ on that village mentality!

  • http://n/a Tristen Schmidt

    I am the mother of a child entering Kindergarten in the Alameda Unified School District this fall. I read the Safe Schools Curriculum and support it. The malevolent speeches of individuals at the Board of Education meetings who have neither read the curriculum nor have children in an Alameda Public School underscored the tremendous need in Alameda for the teaching of respect and consideration toward ALL people. Clearly, the “traditional values” of hatred and divisiveness linger in our community but have NO place in our schools. Outdated notions of being gay as amoral, an aberration or a choice must be addressed with age-appropriate education to oust harmful stereotypes so that our schools can be safe for ALL children.

  • Ty

    I for one am very confused as to why this is such an issue in the first place. It’s not like anyone is forcing anyone to belive anything against their will, you don’t have to agree with it.It’s just teaching tolerance and understanding of different people’s lifestyle. I think it’s a wondeul idea because to change something you have start with the youth because they will make the difference. If what we’re changing is intolerance and misunderstandings about people how is that bad.