Friday, May 22, 2009

You Have To Be Taught To Hate

A San Diego-area sixth-grader's report on slain gay rights leader Harvey Milk was not welcomed by the school's principal. Instead, the principal sent letters to parents giving them the option of not allowing their child to listen to the presentation by classmate Natalie Jones--who learned of Harvey Milk through the Gus Van Sant film, Milk. Officials cited the district policy requiring that parents be notified before any classroom instruction about sex, AIDS or 'family life.'

Uh, Principal Asshat? The report was about Harvey Milk. Not his sex life. Not AIDS. And not his 'family life,' whatever that means.

About half the class received permission and listened to the report, which was given during lunch hour rather than regular classroom time like other students' reports, the ACLU said.

That's right, the ACLU is involved. The ACLU of San Diego and Imperial counties asserts that officials misinterpreted the district's policy on sex education and, in the process, violated Natalie's free speech rights. The group has given the Ramona Unified School District five days to respond or face a possible lawsuit."
Natalie Jones' mother says, “This whole thing is unbelievable – first my daughter got called into the principal’s office as if she were in some kind of trouble, and then they treated her presentation like it was something icky. Harvey Milk was an elected official in this state and an important person in history. To say my daughter’s presentation is ‘sex education’ because Harvey Milk happened to be gay is completely wrong.”

It's this kind of ignorance and homophobia and bigotry that keeps us from moving forward. If you can't discuss gay people in classrooms--gay people not gay sex--then what does that say to our children. It says gay people don't matter; we don't count. It continues a streak of intolerance that has gone on far too long.


Sasha (Malchik Gai) said...

I'm just simply amazed this is even an issue. This may be ludicrous but to me;it's like not letting the kid do a report about MLK Jr. because they want to make sure the other kids are allowed to hear about black people. Am I wrong in feeling this is something comparable? If I'm wrong I apologize but, that's sure what it feels like the way I read it.

Beth said...

Unbelievable. At least the girl's mother has her head on straight.

frogponder said...

By taking this action the principal made absolutely sure that each and every child in that school knows about Harvey Milk and, in an odd way, reaffirmed what Harvey Milk stood for.

Joy said...

That's a reasonable analogy, Sasha. Excellent point, FP!!

This is ridiculous!

Mark in DE said...

As usual, you hit the nail on the head with this one, Bob.

Berry Blog said...

This is a wonderful seres of posts on HM. Great job as usual. There's a lot of power in your writing voice Bob.