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Parents file lawsuit against school district

This announcement about a lawsuit against the school district regarding an opt-out option for parents who don’t want their children to take the anti-bullying curriculum for LGBT families’ students was released today. A full story will appear in next week’s edition of the Alameda Journal.

Alameda Parents File Suit Over Denial of Opt-out Requests

Alameda, CA – A group of parents filed a lawsuit today against Alameda Unified School District after the District denied their requests to excuse their young children from controversial lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) instruction.

In late May, despite strong opposition by parents at school board meetings, AUSD approved a supplemental curriculum that will promote LGBT alternative families to kindergarten and elementary-age students.  Since AUSD adopted the curriculum, numerous parents have sent letters to Superintendent Kristen Vital, requesting that their young students be opted out of the controversial instruction.  The District recently sent form letters denying all of the parents’ requests.

While the District has claimed that a LGBT curriculum was necessary to address bullying and harassment in elementary schools, documentation from the District obtained by Pacific Justice Institute through a public records request shows that the vast majority of reported incidents on AUSD campuses involve racial tension and opposite-sex sexual harassment, not sexual orientation. In fact, school incident reports show that there were no complaints of harassment due to sexual orientation in AUSD elementary grades.

Today, staff attorneys for Pacific Justice Institute filed suit in Alameda Superior Court, seeking enforcement of opt-out provisions in the California Education Code.  Kevin Snider, PJI Chief Counsel, commented, “Alameda parents believe all children deserve safe schools.  Parents do not support LGBT indoctrination that fails to address the main causes of bullying and harassment in the District and intentionally omits children belonging to the other five protected classes,” Snider stated, referring to race and ethnicity, gender, disability, nationality and religion.  “It is their right to remove their children from this highly controversial program, and we intend to vigorously defend that right,” he continued.

For information on the Pacific Justice Institute go to www.PacificJustice.Org.

lryan

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

    Sad days.

    Unfortunately, this out of town organization is trying to redefine CA education law in order to create an issue that doesn’t actually exist. (required opt-out for tolerance and bullying lessons).

    There was definitely vociferous opposition to the program by a few parents, however there was equally vociferous support.

    To sign a petition supporting the board members who voted to approve these lessons and to show your support for tolerance of diversity and protection from bullying of all people, visit:

    http://johnknoxwhite.com/2009/08/12/stop-the-recall-sign-the-petition/

  • Linda Juhala

    My daughter has mild mental retardation. She is having a hard enough time grasping things that regular kids learn, and is a couple years behind mentally. She is kind and gentle with everyone. This is so inappropriate for her, besides being totally against our religious views! I don’t want her to be even more confused. When “I” think that she is old enough to learn about LGBT, then “I” will tell her about it! I don’t want anyone forcing any indoctrination on my child! To people of faith, this is religious discrimination. I want no part of it!

  • Jon Spangler

    The Pacific Justice (sic) Institute and other religious right groups are abusing the Christian Gospel in order to further the hateful and discriminatory message that “not all children are equal” (my phrase, not theirs).

    As a volunteer Noon Supervisor at Franklin School (3-5 days/week for 3 years) I saw extensive teasing and bullying of kids who were perceived to be “different”: sons and daughters of gay and lesbian or single parents, kids with learning disabilities and physical distinctions, and kids who were thought to be gay or lesbian. The “Safer Schools Curriculum has nothing to do with sex–it is all about the moral imperative to “love one another” and accept each other as equals in the classroom and on the playground.

    There is no place for bullying or hateful speech in our schools, and that is the entire reason for the BOE’s action on May 26. There is no discrimination in this policy against people of faith, nor is it “sex education.” Those who make such claims simply do not understand the BOE’s new policy and the state laws behind them.

    If you want to retain local control over our schools, please oppose the recall, which is being engineered, managed, and run by partisan politicians in Sacramento like the Pacific Justice Institute with money from right-wing churches. Don’t let carpetbaggers from out of town pollute our schools and our political conversation…

  • Leslie Baker

    I believe the discussion must be reframed, away from the single issue of “anti-bullying”, which of course in our schools ALREADY means everybody (and explicitely now gay youth who may not have had that protection before.)

    The fact that this is a public school system requires that we understand and tolerate the differences that exist between people, whether we care for those differences or not. My child has had numerous experiences in school that I have had to correct at home, that do not match my values.

    In addition to the already identified experiences of gay youth, there are also gay parents, siblings, teachers and administrators – who whether they are “out” or not deserve understanding and basic human respect. Bullying is one aspect, but the day to day experiences of all of these people in our communities is the reality of we are addressing.

    The bigotry being raised here cannot and will not be tolerated.

  • Janis Olvarado

    This discussion is too narrow. The conversation requires expansion. Not condoning bullying is not
    the same thing as promoting tolerance and diversity. Without an intense focus on “teaching,” education
    has lost its’ mission.

  • matt jones

    Discrimination is hardly the case. if a child is old enough to percieve differences, whether racial, religious, sex and sexual orientation, it is prudent that they be educated on the subject. the problem with parents demanding the ability to opt out of certain programs is in the same categorey as to why parents may not opt out their children from cirriculum they do not agree with, such as racial tolerance, teaching on evoluion, other religions etc. parents do not have the right to opt out of programs informing children of other cultures, beliefs and so on, because people can treat different classes of people dfferently, unless it is indicitive to their existence- such as requiring specialized education for special needs children. it is not a discriminatory incident it is a needed program to introduce children to family structures that may be different from their own.

  • Michael Williams

    To Linda (Comment #2),

    Your daughter will be taught, along with her classmates, she should feel fully free to love and be proud of her family. She’ll also learn that kids who are different or who have families that are different from some arbitrary norm should be treated with respect.

    There are so many myths being pushed about this curriculum, I sympathize with parents trying to make sense of it all. The definitions of words like “gay” are not part of the curriculum, but provided to teachers so that they have a neutral alternative to respond when these are used as an insult.

    Imagine that your daughter hears (as I think she probably will) a classmate use “retarded” as an insult, even if directed at someone else. Luckily, her teachers have been trained over the years about how to stop that sort of insult and use neutral, functional language to say what a developmental disability really is. And teachers are empowered to do so even though some parents (not this one, for sure) think that kids with mental retardation should not be mainstreamed.

    Teachers asked for this enhancement to the curriculum because they didn’t have the same toolbox for anti-gay harassment.

  • Marshall Goldberg

    The curriculum is posted on the AUSD website:
    http://www.alameda.k12.ca.us/index.php/departmentsservices/educational-services-a-curriculum/compliance-curriculum-categorical-and-eld

    As you can see from reading it, the program is focused on name-calling and teasing. Only in the later years does it brings up homes with two mommies or daddies. Nowhere does it discuss homosexual children or students.

    Mind you, this portion of the Caring School Curriculum consists of one 45-minute session per year.

  • AMotherOf2

    Apparently it’s wrong to want your children to want access into heaven.This is as bad as teaching sex ed in school.Which i myself didn’t have,nor was i curious about.I thank GOD that my Christian Mother (Parents)home schooled me.

  • Elijia

    Am i the only one who see’s the parents side.People who are religious,and raise there kids so,don’t want them to sin,PERIOD.i still remember my 5 year old niece asking what the yucky women were doing kissing.we were at the park.We quickly told her that that wasn’t what God wanted of us,and that it was wrong,and made God very sad,because he placed rules for us,because he loves us,and that people like that blantly disregard it.It should be a parents right,when they talkk to their own children about it.