VALLEJO, Calif. — Angry parents in the Vallejo Unified School District, located in San Francisco’s East Bay, packed a school district board meeting last week to protest the district’s proposed curriculum plan that includes lessons on gay rights.
The controversy over the curriculum involves three movies that are scheduled discuss same-sex relationships, teaching tolerance to elementary children from kindergarten through the fifth grade.
The School District’s Acting Superintendent, Dr. Floyd Gonella, told parents in attendance that they do not have the right to opt out of a lesson plan designed to promote tolerance.
“We do not feel that this is an area that students can opt out and we feel this is an area we don’t have to give prior notification,” said Gonella, speaking with reporters after the meeting.
At issue is the district not allowing parents to opt out from having their children watch the videos. Parents say they have the right to control what their children learn.
The district was ordered by a court in May 2009 to get ready to discuss the sensitive issues in particular those issues that involve LGBTQ persons.
The ACLU filed suit against the district on behalf of an openly gay student who says she was being harassed by teachers and staff for being gay. The student won the suit and now the district is required to hold mandatory training, which includes showing the controversial videos to students.
Karen England, Director of the vehemently Anti-Gay Capitol Resource Institute, told parents while addressing the school board that “no where in the state law does it prohibit you as a school board from doing an opt in policy.”