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Crowd Gathers to Speak Out About SJUSD Adopting LGBTQ-Inclusive Textbooks

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SACRAMENTO -- In solidarity, dozens wore green Tuesday in support of LGBTQ history to be included in the curriculum at the San Juan Unified School District.

"I would like to ask the members of the audience that support the adoption of the history social science curriculum to please stand," said Bill Simmons, president of the SJUSD Teachers Association.

That curriculum is designed to be more inclusive of historical figures, such as assassinated San Francisco Supervisor Harvey Milk. They would be part of new history and social science studies, portraying their social and civil rights activism in context with what personal factors motivated them.

"Whether or not he is LGBT or not, that's a particular, important piece of history that students should know about," said English teacher Robin Durkee.

"We learn about wars, we learn about slavery, things that people don't agree with," said high school senior Tracey Ballesteros. "And sure, this may be something that people don't agree with but it's still a part of our history and it's very important to teach our kids about that."

But there were also many opposed to the proposed curriculum.

"We really just care about what people did as a person to help the world," said one speaker. "Even at my age, when I hear about personal labels, it makes me uncomfortable and in my opinion, labels should stay personal."

The group Concerned Citizens of San Juan Unified School District has collected more than 2,500 signatures in opposition.

"We just feel like it's too young to educate our first-graders about sexuality," said kindergarten mother Jenica Williams. "We should have the right as parents to be able to teach our kids and inform them. But not to hate, because I think that's what we're seeing, that we're being hateful and that's not the message at all. We just want to protect their innocence."

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