Hundreds of California parents protested a controversial proposed curriculum for young students that would incorporate the achievements of LGBT-identifying individuals by keeping their children out of class on Friday.
An estimated 700 students stayed home from school in the 12,000-student Rocklin School District, Fox 40 reports.
An impassioned and packed full board meeting last Wednesday ended in a late-night 3-2 vote to approve the K–5 curriculum approved by the state law that includes the LGBT figures in an effort to be more inclusive in school material.
Concerned parents say the younger elementary grades are not ready for discussions on LGBT issues and that parents should make the call on when to introduce them.
The parents who are opposed suggested a compromise to introduce the material in sixth grade or later, as has been done in some other school districts, the report said, but the school district’s legal counsel said that was not possible.
They’ve started a website titled “Informed Parents of Rocklin.”
California passed the FAIR Education Act, also known as the LGBT History Bill, in 2011. It mandates that school textbooks and curricula be more inclusive of historically underrepresented demographics, including those who identify as or have been deemed LGBT.
Family advocates condemned the bill as radical sexual indoctrination of children, warning that it would lead to California schools presenting homosexuals, bisexuals, and transsexuals as role models to students.
The final decision on curriculum choices lies with local school districts.
There have been similar debates over LGBT-infused curricula in other districts in the Sacramento region and across the state. Two other districts, Elk Grove Unified and San Juan Unified, approved new curricula this year that include LGBT figures.
In the Rocklin Unified School District’s chosen curriculum “Studies Weekly,” the second-grade textbook describes Sally Ride a “good example for all females” and states that she “joined NASA and became the first female and first lesbian American astronaut.”
The Informed Parents of Rocklin coalition had suggested that the district adopt the program “Exploring Social Studies,” which also meets California’s educational standards, but reportedly does not explicitly identify Sally Ride or others as gay or lesbian.
A report from the Sacramento Bee said the District’s legal counsel had said it would not be possible for parents to opt their children out of the LGBT curriculum.
Attendance figures for Friday had not yet been announced, the Fox 40 report said, but district officials did expect some loss in state attendance funds and voiced regret over the lost day for the students.
Officials said as well that the curriculum would be tweaked, with concerns raised by parents taken into account, but that some parents remained skeptical and mentioned the possibility of parents switching their children to homeschooling and registering them for charter schools or private school.