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Back to February Ed Reporter

Education Reporter
NUMBER 289 THE NEWSPAPER OF EDUCATION RIGHTS FEBRUARY 2010

Will the Real Bullies Please Rise?
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A California judge has denied that parents are entitled to keep their kids out of pro-gay school lessons. Numerous Alameda school district parents claimed their right to have their children excused from such curriculum under a California "opt out" provision. Education Code section 51240 allows pupils to skip "health instruction" that conflicts with their parents' religious training or beliefs.

Katherine Alberts, attorney for the district, claimed the controversial lesson is explicitly part of the Safe School Community Curriculum, which is separate from schools' "health instruction." Alberts said the lesson in question aims to teach safety and tolerance, and to prevent bullying and harassment, and asserted that the District's Board intentionally omitted an opt-out option when it approved the material.

Superior Court Judge Frank Roesch agreed and further ruled that "any opt-out right" is "outweighed by the policies against discrimination and harassment of students from LGBT [lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender] families." In an account of the proceedings, one sympathetic blogger reported the judge as saying, "You can't say, 'I'm a bigot, so I don't have to attend tolerance lessons!'" (johnknoxwhite. com, 12-1-09).

The judge also reasoned that allowing kids to be excused from tolerance lessons for gays would logically require allowing prejudiced parents to opt their kids out of tolerance lessons concerning people of other races, ethnicities, or religions as well.

Kevin Snider, attorney for the parents, emphasized that the parents who filed suit support anti-bullying lessons, but object to the current elementary curriculum that "focuses almost exclusively on homosexuality."

A press release from Snider's law firm, the Pacific Justice Institute (PJI), characterized Roesch as an "activist judge," and noted his repeated insinuations that the parents who filed the suit were bigots. PJI also cited Roesch's declaration that homosexual indoctrination is impossible because "people are born that way." The judge also allowed school district attorneys to aggressively interrogate the parents about their religious beliefs, sermons they had heard against homosexuality, and whether they were aware the Bible had been used to justify racism and oppression. (pacificjustice.org, 12-1-09)

This case is only one example of the latest tactic homosexual advocates are using to promote homosexuality in public schools, warns Candi Cushman, education analyst at Focus on the Family. Cushman notes that activists are pushing so-called anti-harassment or anti-bullying policies that include references to sexual orientation or gender identity as a way to enforce pro-homosexual curricula for young children. The ostensible concern with a safe, non-threatening school atmosphere is being "used to skirt parental rights," she said. Cushman also noted that religious freedom rights are increasingly being undermined in favor of pro-gay "nondiscrimination" laws, just as in the Alameda Unified School District case. (citizenlinkblog.com, 12-3-09)

PJI President Brad Dacus remarked, "Most parents do not want their first through fifth graders bombarded with pro-homosexual messages at school. If LGBT advocates really want to stop name-calling and bullying, they should start with themselves."


 
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