Dana Rudolph

Alameda Diversity Curriculum Is Not Health Ed; Parents Can't Opt Out Their Kids

Filed By Dana Rudolph | December 04, 2009 12:30 PM | comments

Filed in: Living, Politics
Tags: Alameda County, anti-bullying, bullying, California

Many of you followed last spring's story about the uproar by some conservatives when the Alameda, California school board decided to adopt an LGBT-inclusive safe-schools curriculum. Now comes a new ruling stating that because the diversity curriculum doesn't constitute health education, parents cannot opt their children out of it. Finally, a glimmer of understanding that teaching about LGBT people and families doesn't mean teaching about sex.

The ruling comes in response to a group of parents who filed a lawsuit over the district's refusal to excuse their children from attending the classes. The parents are supported by the conservative Pacific Justice Institute.

On Tuesday, Alameda County Superior Court Judge Frank Roesch tentatively denied the parents' request. He said the lessons don't constitute health education, as the parents are arguing, and thus don't fall under the state legislature's has opt-out rules related to health lessons.

John Knox White has details of the proceedings over at Stop, Drop and Roll. He reports that Judge Roesch was persistent in trying to pin down Kevin Snider, the Pacific Justice Institute's General Counsel, on exactly how anti-bullying education is a part of Health Education:

Judge Roesch quickly stepped in to ask a question that he would return to over and over again. If a hypothetical teacher presents the question "A nurse has 30 stethoscopes and gives 5 to a doctor, how many stethoscopes does the nurse have?" is that health education?

Answer: No because it doesn't meet the criteria of the Health Education Code.

He rephrased it later as "A mother nurse has 30 stethoscopes and gives 5 to her brother, a doctor, how many stethoscopes does the nurse have?" now it's dealing with both family and medicine, is it health ed?"

Again, no. In the end, Snider similarly failed to prove that the anti-bullying curriculum was part of health ed. He did, however, reveal what the real fear is here , claiming, "Lesson 9 puts one group above all others and therefore it's indoctrination into LGBT lifestyles."

Judge Roesch was not swayed. He also asserted that allowing opt-out would go against California's educational policy of providing equal rights and opportunities to all persons:

The result would be that parents who object to instruction in tolerance of individuals or families of other races or of mixed races, of persons with disabilities, or of persons or families of other races, ethnicity, or religion, would have the right to have their children excused from instruction on those topics. This result could not have been contemplated by the Legislature, since it substantially hinders the ability of schools to implement California's policy under Education Code section 233 to provide equal rights and opportunities in public schools to all persons, regardless of sexual orientation, disability, gender, nationality, race or ethnicity, or religion.

The school board can now move ahead to approve an anti-bullying reading list at its meeting on December 8.

The case now goes to appeals court.

(Thanks, Groundspark!)


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Regan DuCasse | December 4, 2009 4:10 PM

...'puts one group above all others and therefore it's indoctrination into LGBT lifestyles'.

WHAT!?

How does being educated ABOUT gay people put them ABOVE anyone?

The fact that he uses the word 'lifestyle' to describe a biological aspect shows that he himself could use the very education he's wants denied other young people.

What kind of school would be allowed to operate that ONLY educated in books that ended or had lessons up to the year 1932? What if no other knowledge regarding human biology, sociology or anthropology ended at that year?
And yes, what if there were parents that objected to a school teaching PAST that point, preferring lesson plans and information that remained in that time period?

For a school to allow themselves to be cowed by anyone who expected information and lessons and social integration to be RETARDED back to 2,000 years, let alone 50 years about ONE thing and ONE group of people who are part of the entire of human history and all it's human cultures is absolutely ludicrous.

For parents to demand that schools engage in this retardation and so exclusively, is equally ludicrous and inconsistent with the progress that education and social integration has actually made.
Apparently, they don't want to be made aware of that progress and how their stance has no basis in positive results to continue it.

If their opinions COULD be compared to those who objected to Brown vs. Brd. of Education in 1954 and could see the DIRECT parallels to their opinions and demands to that of committed segregationists, would they have any shame or would they be angry at just what such a comparison actually revealed?
I guess they didn't learn about that in school either.
And such ignorant people shouldn't be demanding to have influence on education.

Excellent points, Regan--I had the same WHAT?! reaction myself, though in my post I focused on the judge's response.

You ask, "What kind of school would be allowed to operate that ONLY educated in books that ended or had lessons up to the year 1932?" to which I will just point out the schools that are still trying to teach creationism over evolution. Sigh.

I like this judge. Very clear picture of the issues.