What You Can Do about LGBT Curriculum in Your Kid’s Public School

As a parent, you have the responsibility to protect, guide, and support your child’s education. Equally, you have the right to interact in a meaningful way within your child’s school community to positively impact their future success and learning. As you consider how you can move forward in these areas, remember to focus on what you can control rather than what you can’t. Commit to supporting your relationship with your child to cultivate healthy discussions about potentially sensitive topics such as LGBT curriculum.

How much do you really know about what’s taught in your kid’s public school? It’s the nature of education to adapt and evolve with the cultural swings of society. Across the history of public education in the United States, public schools have adopted more fluid processes in administrative decisions. Currently, one common administrative decision most education systems face involves the inclusion of LGBT curriculum in public schools.

If you’ve decided to send your children to public school, you have a necessary responsibility attached to your child’s education. On average, your child will spend six to seven hours per day at school. These metrics only include instructional time. Think about the moments before and after school where your children discuss a variety of topics with their friends. It’s likely that you only receive a small window into these conversations.

Whether they realize it or not, your children desperately need your consistent involvement in their educational journey. Apart from financial and extra-curricular support, your investment in what occurs within the classroom can reap positive benefits for your child’s future. Let’s explore how you can engage not only your child on issues such as LGBT curriculum in public schools, but your administration and school board as well.

LGBT Curriculum in Public Schools

Location is an important factor in virtually all education-related decisions within the United States. Legislation regarding curriculum and educational standards tends to differ from state to state. However, there are several universal laws that regulate educational practices throughout the country.

Although LGBT curriculum does not currently fall under this category, there is an upward trend in its inclusion throughout multiple states in recent years. States such as California, Colorado, Illinois, and others each have passed unique LGBT curriculum in their public schools.

Generally, these laws outline LGBT inclusive curriculum focused on social science, history, and government courses. Often, these laws focus on the textbooks public schools issue to students. According to Education Week, “any textbooks bought with state funding must cover the roles and contributions of LGBT people.” Additionally, the textbooks cannot “include content that is discriminatory to any particular gender or sexual orientation.”

On the other side of the debate, some states such as Texas, Florida, Oklahoma and others have passed legislation which restricts the teaching of LGBT curriculum within schools. Specifically, these restrictions focus on discussions around alternative sexual lifestyles, transgenderism, and homosexuality.  

Central to our children’s intellectual and social development, education provides the necessary outlet for discovery, learning, and interaction with complex ideas alongside friends and peers.

Organizations such as the Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF) commit to educating parents on current situations involving K-12 education, as well as parental rights within the context of religious freedom. A conservative organization itself, the ADF establishes its philosophy based on a family’s worldview. But what happens when a public school’s worldview directly clashes with your family’s worldview? More specifically, how does this play out with LGBT curriculum in public schools?

Examples of LGBT Curriculum in Public Schools

There are a variety of key examples involving the inclusion of LGBT curriculum in public schools. Some of these examples contain authentic stories of parents taking a stand within their child’s public school system. Other examples focus on general and practical realities of LGBT curriculum in public schools. However, both are relevant to you, your children, and your family.

LGBT Content in School Libraries

The Daily Citizen chronicled an example of LGBT curriculum in public schools which pitted a Virginia mom versus a school board. Per the Daily Citizen’s review, two particular library books feature “foul language and sexually graphic descriptions, images and excerpts.” In this case, the school board ultimately overruled collective parental concern in favor of reinstating these books within the school library.

LGBT Books for Kindergarteners

Another recent situation involving LGBT curriculum in public schools put younger kids at the center of the conversation. Also covered by The Daily Citizen, a particular school district added more than 100 books to classrooms that feature depictions and descriptions of homosexuality and transgenderism. Some of these books detail the use of different pronouns from the traditional “he/she”. Going further, some of these books explicitly describe sexual encounters between minors of the same gender.

LGBT History Month

Recognized throughout October, LGBT History Month celebrates the achievements and history of LGBT icons through raising awareness for students of all ages. Across the nation, observance and celebration of LGBT History Month is not intentionally mandated by education systems. However, since it is celebrated by a range of activist and education organizations, it is widely recognized as an important and necessary part of the educational calendar.

According to the LGBT History Month’s website, the month exists to “celebrate our [LGBT] heritage.” Supported by the Genders and Sexualities Alliance Network (GSAs), LGBT History Month often establishes learning opportunities, lesson plans, and educational materials focused on teaching children about homosexuality and gender identity.

LGBT Educational Training for Teachers

According to their website, The Gay, Lesbian, and Straight Education Network (GLSEN) exists to ensure that every member of every school community is valued and respected regardless of sexual orientation, gender identity, or gender expression.

In public school environments, this mission often involves specific LGBT educational training for teachers. These training sessions focus on professional development including knowledge of LGBT student experiences, cultivating allyship, and advocating for LGBT curriculum in public school systems.

In further detail, LGBT professional development also specifically focuses on pronoun use and inclusion within the classroom setting. The term “misgendering” is often cited as reason for educators to intentionally lead their classroom to adopt LGBT-aligned ideology within the classroom.

What Parents Can Do

Even if you are not actively or directly involved with your child’s school district or educational system, you can have an impact. From interacting with your child’s school board to developing space for discussions with your children and their friends, there are a variety of opportunities to positively impact your community.

1. Know the Facts

Take the necessary steps to educate yourself on relevant topics of interest within your child’s public school. As a parent, you can explore facets of your child’s school such as curriculum, library materials, reading lists, and other school-related content. Then, you can also discover your specific state and local laws concerning LGBT curriculum in your community

2. Familiarize Yourself with the School Board

Whether your child’s public school board meets in person or online, make an effort to be present. For example, parents should have the right to see the requirements for curriculum-based decisions such as a public school’s book collection. Then, you can effectively argue against obscene and vulgar content within your child’s public school.

3. Join a School-Sponsored Committee or Group

In most public school systems, there are opportunities for parents to voice their concern or support for various curriculum or school related decisions. For instance, parents can join a book collection review committee which helps approve content for school districts. Similarly, you have the right to explore which databases and digital content sites your school district allows for research and education.

4. Talk with Teachers and Other Parents

Finally, it’s important that you remain in communication with other parents in your child’s school community. Discuss objectionable content within curriculum or your concerns involving topics such as LGBT curriculum. As always, maintain grace and understanding in these conversations. Also, avoid gossiping over what you heard about your child’s public school’s curriculum choices. Investigate the truth for yourself so you can continue to engage in healthy conversation about controversial topics.

What Your Kids Can Do

Don’t forget that your child is the one at school every day. As much as difficult topics and conversations weigh on you as a parent, they might weigh on your child even more. Instead of neglecting their emotions and opinions, engage them in healthy, positive discussions about what they see, hear, and experience every day at school.

1. Check-In Conversations

Let your child know that it’s safe for them to talk with you about anything. Especially confusing or problematic topics such as LGBT curriculum. Then, support your child’s educational journey through encouraging them to make wise decisions filled with grace and kindness. Reiterate that you’re on their side. As a parent, you’re advocating and protecting them rather than trying to embarrass or humiliate them.

2. Join a School-Sponsored Committee or Group

Just as parents can join committees dedicated to advocating against objectionable and vulgar curriculum, your children can too. Organizations such as student council or student congress provide avenues for your children to voice their opinions and arguments about topics they passionately support. If your child expresses interest in these areas, encourage them to learn more about available opportunities in their public school.

3. Talk with Their Friends

In some cases, your children will be more comfortable talking about sensitive issues like LGBT curriculum with their friends than with you. That’s okay! Don’t worry if your child doesn’t open up to you immediately. If you notice that they’re engaging in these conversations with their friends (and they likely are), then encourage those conversations with your verbal support. Provide the necessary answers and check-ins to ensure that your child is set up for success in their friendships.

4. Contact Local and State Representatives

If your child is more politically minded or cares about activism, encourage them to contact their local or state representatives. This could be an excellent opportunity to bond with your child as they express their opinions and feelings. Consider how you can establish communication with a local or state representative through a letter, email, or even in-person meeting.

Final Thoughts

There’s no practical way for parents to know everything that happens at their child’s public school. Even so, there are ample opportunities for you to make a positive difference. Also, you can have a healthy presence in your child’s educational journey.

Changes within educational systems are often subtle. Gradual adjustments to educational legislation such as LGBT curriculum can go unnoticed for years. Then, suddenly the curriculum appears within all facets of a school system.

As a parent, you have the responsibility to protect, guide, and support your child’s education. Equally, you have the right to interact in a meaningful way within your child’s school community to positively impact their future success and learning. As you consider how you can move forward in these areas, remember to focus on what you can control rather than what you can’t. Commit to supporting your relationship with your child to cultivate healthy discussions about potentially sensitive topics such as LGBT curriculum.

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