by WorldTribune Staff, March 13, 2019
On Feb. 5, the Elk Grove, California school board unanimously approved new history and social science textbooks for the 2019-20 school year for grades K-8 which includes chapters on historical LGBT figures.
Critics argued that elementary school students are too young to learn about such figures.
One of the LGBT figures included in the new textbooks is Harvey Milk, the first openly homosexual candidate to be elected to public office (San Francisco city commissioner). The California Family Council shared with the Elk Grove board a page from Milk’s biography that details his relationship with an underage boy. The council said that Milk would have never been hired by the school district due to that act.
Parents are not allowed to opt their children out of the history and social science classes the textbooks will be used in.
Under the California Healthy Youth Act, which was signed into law by Gov. Jerry Brown in 2015 and took effect in 2016, all public middle and high schools in the state are required to teach “unbiased and medically accurate” sex education, including lessons on birth control, abortion, HIV and AIDS, as well as sexual orientation and gender identity.
Parents can opt out of the entire sex-ed curriculum, or for instruction on HIV and STI prevention.
Due to the state’s non-discriminate laws, parents may not remove their children from instruction about gender identity, “gender expression” or sexual orientation.
Kira Davis, a resident of Orange County and contributor for RedState, noted that among the teaching materials approved for use are a study guide for the transgender children’s book “I Am Jazz”, as well as a “sexual health toolkit.”
This “toolkit,” funded in part by the George Soros-connected Tides Center, offers kids tips on using sex toys and anal lubricant. It defines “anal intercourse,” “phone sex,” and more as “common sexual behaviors.” It teaches that “abstinence” and “virginity” can mean engaging in a variety of sexual activities, but stopping short of intercourse.
Planned Parenthood is listed as a resource for the “toolkit.”
The Elk Grove board approved McGraw-Hill Education’s textbooks, which were recommended by a district steering committee. “We all better get with the program and treat people right in moving forward and doing the right thing,” board president Chet Madison said before the board vote on Feb. 5.
California’s FAIR Education Act, which went into effect in 2012, prescribes that history textbooks in public schools have information on LGBT figures.
The California Family Council objected to the textbooks’ coverage of LGBT figures in elementary school textbooks. They argued that teachers cannot speak of such individuals without addressing sex, which is inappropriate for elementary students.
Nicholas Bua, an openly gay teacher at Monterey Trail High School, told the Elk Grove board that schools should not have an “opt-out” policy to allow parents to not have their children participate in lessons that address LGBT figures.
“Every student that does not participate in the same learning or is not educated is a part of the ignorance that causes the same systematic issues to persist,” Bua said.
In March of last year, the attorney to the Orange County Board of Education issued a memo arguing that the Healthy Youth Act may allow parents to opt their children out of lessons about sexual health and sexually transmitted diseases, but not for classroom instruction on issues such as homosexuality or transgenderism.
In his March 29 memo, Ronald Wenkart, the general counsel for the Orange County Department of Education, told the county’s board of education that the law’s opt-out provision “does not apply to instruction, materials or programming that discusses gender, gender identity, gender expression, sexual orientation, discrimination, harassment, bullying, intimidation, relationships or family, and does not discuss human reproductive organs.”
Wenkart said parents who disagree with the state’s position on teaching about homosexuality, same-sex relationships or gender identity “may not excuse their children from this instruction,” though parents can still “advise their children that they disagree with” the content matter.
Heidi St. John, an author and speaker who covers faith, motherhood, and homeschooling as The Busy Mom, spoke out against the memo.
“The Orange County Department of Education feels it is their right to give you permission to disagree with them,” she wrote on Facebook. “These are our children! They do not belong to the schools.”
In a January report by NBC-4 Los Angeles, Orange County teacher Brenda Lebsack read from a textbook that could be used to teach students as young as kindergarten about sexual identity. “Babies can’t talk, so grown ups make a guess by looking at their bodies,” Lebsack read from the book.
After reading from the book, Lebsack noted: “I was a kid who was a tomboy, played boy stuff, pirates not barbies. This would have really confused me.”
Lebsack noted that “Parents don’t have to be notified and there’s no opt-out if it’s not considered sex ed and this book goes into that category.”
A recent Orange County study estimates there are 2,400 transgender youth in middle and high schools in the county and another 13,000 who identify as gay lesbian or bisexual, NBC-4 report said.
Michele McNutt, who works with Youth First OC, said “Children should see themselves reflected in curriculum and environment, regardless of age or gender identity.”