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Teaching homosexuality in school???? Updated with a news article concerning this

Posted by on Feb. 13, 2009 at 4:26 PM
  • 41 Replies

I saw this in another group but what do you think of the idea of teaching about homosexuality in schools?


Here is an article from NYTimes concnerning on school district implementing this last year:  http://www.nytimes.com/2007/08/15/education/15education.html

Lessons on Homosexuality Move Into the Classroom

Published: August 15, 2007

ROCKVILLE, Md.

After five years, one legal defeat and a challenge on the way, Montgomery County, Md., is at the frontier of sex education in the United States. This fall, barring last-minute court action, the county will offer lessons on homosexuality in its 8th- and 10th-grade health education courses.

To school officials, the lessons are a natural outgrowth of sex education and of teachings on tolerance and diversity. They consist of two heavily scripted, 45-minute lessons for each grade and a video demonstrating how to put on a condom. The lessons’ central message is respect and acceptance of the many permutations of sexual identity, both in others and in one’s self.

School officials said they were not seeking to promote a political agenda, beyond tolerance and a kind of cultural literacy. “Our charge starts with educating students,” said Betsy Brown, who supervised the curriculum’s development in consultation with the American Academy of Pediatrics. “This is part of education.”

But critics, who have filed lawsuits seeking to stop the lessons, contended that the Montgomery County schools, just north of Washington, have gone too far. John Garza, president of the Citizens for a Responsible Curriculum, a group leading the opposition, said parents can block television shows they deem morally questionable, “but then we have the schoolteacher affirming unhealthy behavior.”

Montgomery is a mostly well-educated, politically liberal enclave. But opponents of the new curriculum, portrayed as a vocal minority by school officials, may be more in sync with the mood of parents nationally.

According to a 2004 national poll by the Kaiser Family Foundation, Harvard University’s Kennedy School of Government and National Public Radio, roughly three out of four parents say it is appropriate for high schools to teach about homosexuality, but about half say it is appropriate in middle school.

WHEN asked about the issue in greater detail, more than 50 percent of high school and middle school parents supported teaching what homosexuality is about “without discussing whether it is wrong or acceptable.” Only 8 percent of high school parents and 4 percent of middle school parents said schools should teach “that homosexuality is acceptable.” The survey had a margin of error of 6 percentage points.

Montgomery County may be ahead of the country on sex education, but it may also just be out there, stranded on its own.

The controversy illustrates how fraught the road can be for educators who venture beyond academics to influence students about sensitive social issues, risking not just lawsuits, but also losing step with parents and voters. In New York City, the controversy 14 years ago over the “rainbow curriculum,” which included the book “Heather Has Two Mommies” as a first-grade text, cost Chancellor Joseph A. Fernandez his job.

“It’s a myth that our schools don’t teach values about lots of things,” said Debra W. Haffner, director of the Religious Institute on Sexual Morality, Justice and Healing, which promotes discussions about sexuality. “We don’t put communism, socialism and capitalism on an equal footing in our classes on government.”

But for a raft of reasons, many of them unconscious, teaching about sexuality is different, said Susan K. Freeman, a historian at Minnesota State University, Mankato.

For many parents, boy-girl dating may not mean that their child is sexually active, she said. By coming out as gay, though, “they’re announcing their sexuality.” Parents make a tacit assumption of sexual activity, and “that presents a problem for a lot of people,” she said.

The Montgomery County lessons begin by defining terms like “prejudice,” “homosexual” and “transgender,” and warn students not to assume that because they are not yet attracted to the opposite sex, they must be gay. The eighth-grade curriculum tells gay students that “concerns about how family and friends will accept the situation are reasonable, and fears about being teased or even attacked are not unfounded.”

In the 10th grade, the lessons, which presume that sexual identity is innate, again discuss the stresses of coming out, but add, “Many people who are gay, lesbian, bisexual or transgender celebrate their self-discovery.”

Kevin Jennings, the executive director of the New York-based Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education Network, said the curriculum could reduce bullying over sexual identity.

“I don’t know how denying information to young people about sexuality or sexual orientation does anything to promote their health and well being,” he said.

Mr. Garza objected to schools teaching that homosexuality is not subject to change and failing to mention higher rates of some venereal diseases among gay men. “When you get into these hotly contested areas of moral judgment, that’s where the school needs to get out of it, or at least teach all sides,” he said.

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by on Feb. 13, 2009 at 4:26 PM
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Replies (1-10):
momto1sweetie
by on Feb. 13, 2009 at 4:41 PM

I'm unaware  that this is taught as a "subject" or "content", but for me, I would prefer to see issues  like respect, diversity and tolerance being taught.

Our student  population (and society for that matter) is made up of so many different races, religions, backgrounds, orientations, learning and physical challenges, etc.  I think children would benefit from a robust and holistic approach that focuses on appreciating, embracing and respecting ALL differences.

Right now, schools unintentionally segregrate the studen population by labeling children as "typical", "special", or via their ethnic/cultural background. I realize that SOME of these labels provide for services, but the unintended, inadvertant message is delivered to students nonetheless.  If we stopped focusing on "groups", "labels", etc and started focusing on the human and humanity element, the answer to this question is alot easier to understand.

IMO.

KC33
by Kim on Feb. 13, 2009 at 5:04 PM

A well rounded child should know and accept everyone as equal so why would this topic be an issue for anyone?

Ms.Dean
by on Feb. 13, 2009 at 5:14 PM

Agreed!

Quoting momto1sweetie:

I'm unaware  that this is taught as a "subject" or "content", but for me, I would prefer to see issues  like respect, diversity and tolerance being taught.

Our student  population (and society for that matter) is made up of so many different races, religions, backgrounds, orientations, learning and physical challenges, etc.  I think children would benefit from a robust and holistic approach that focuses on appreciating, embracing and respecting ALL differences.

Right now, schools unintentionally segregrate the studen population by labeling children as "typical", "special", or via their ethnic/cultural background. I realize that SOME of these labels provide for services, but the unintended, inadvertant message is delivered to students nonetheless.  If we stopped focusing on "groups", "labels", etc and started focusing on the human and humanity element, the answer to this question is alot easier to understand.

IMO.


ladiesnight
by on Feb. 13, 2009 at 7:49 PM


Quoting KC33:

A well rounded child should know and accept everyone as equal so why would this topic be an issue for anyone?


Totally agree with that!  What's there to teach?  Do we teach about heterosexuality in school? 

Angela19947
by on Feb. 13, 2009 at 8:11 PM

This really is a touchy subject for me.  I am a Christian Mom who has a ex who is homosexual. I teach my son to hate the sin not the sinner. I feel it is wrong for the school to teach this it is the parents who need to teach these things. My son does not know that is dad is gay and I will let him come to me, and tell how I feel God made sex for a man and women that aremarried not for any two unmarried people, it is not for same sex people. It a gift from God. I think parents should talk to their kids about moral things not Teachers.

IhartU
by Gold Member on Feb. 13, 2009 at 9:31 PM

To my knowledge, it's already taught in Health class, so what's the big deal?

Sirenabella
by Member on Feb. 13, 2009 at 10:47 PM

How exactly do you teach homosexuality? I was under the impression they were teaching equality, respect, tolerance, etc. IMO that is a wonderful thing.

cm08
by on Feb. 13, 2009 at 11:18 PM

It should be taught at home. 

spoiled_wife
by Member on Feb. 13, 2009 at 11:20 PM

Homosexuality is a subject in school now a days? Things sure have changed since my son was in school I quess. Back then, his school taught tolerance, understanding and acceptance of all people. Which is a good thing. To many people teach their children just the opposite.

                                      

CharmaineL
by Bronze Member on Feb. 14, 2009 at 10:39 AM


Quoting spoiled_wife:

Homosexuality is a subject in school now a days? Things sure have changed since my son was in school I quess. Back then, his school taught tolerance, understanding and acceptance of all people. Which is a good thing. To many people teach their children just the opposite.

Great siggy and good point!

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