ROCKLIN -- Parents objecting to a Rocklin School District Board decision to include a curriculum in the early grades touting the achievements of LGBT people did not allow their children to go to class Friday in protest. They say at least 700 students stayed home in the 12,000 student district.
A heated Board meeting on Wednesday resulted in a 3-2 vote to include a curriculum approved by the state law that seeks to introduce more inclusiveness in school teachings.
But parents say young children are not ready for discussions that may confuse them and that parents, not the district, know the maturity level of their kids the best.
They offered a compromise to introduce the study materials after the fifth grade as some other school districts have done. But a legal opinion by district counsel said that wasn't possible.
District attendance figures weren't immediately announced but district officials did expect to lose some state attendance funding and lamented the lost day of instruction for some students.
It says that the curriculum will be tweaked to take into account some concerns raised by parents but some parents suspect that the decision was predetermined.
Some say they will know of parents signing up their kids for homeschooling and charter schools or private school. More can be learned from a website established to educate parents who are not aware of the board decision at informedparentsrocklin.org.
Sacramento LGBT Community Center spokeswoman and Rocklin resident Rachel Henry argues that the inclusion of LGBT curriculum is a positive thing for students and their understanding of the world:
As a Rocklin Unified School District (RUSD) alumni and a professional cultural humility educator at the Sacramento LGBT Community Center, I know the importance of this inclusive curriculum from both a personal and professional perspective. There are several empirical studies that show textbook curriculum that is explicitly inclusive of the LGBTQ+ has dramatically positive effects on school climate for both LGBTQ+ and non-LGBTQ+ students. Students of marginalized groups, such as the LGBTQ+ community, have a right to see themselves reflected in the history that they study. Students who may not identify with a marginalized group have a right to learn about the diversity of people who have contributed to the world. We cannot do that if that important diversity goes unnamed and unidentified in our history books. There is a decrease of violence and an increase of bystander intervention among students when everyone is learning, collectively as a community, about the amazing and beautiful contributions that a diverse group of historical leaders contributed to.
Some other parents with children in the district agree.
"The reality is, this is not LGBTQ curriculum and it is not sex ed in any form. The RUSD followed state law by adopting social science and history materials that include women in nontraditional rolls, Americans with disabilities through history, the contributions of immigrants to our state and our nation, and works to highlight other underrepresented racial, ethnic, and cultural groups, that happens to include LGBTQ individuals," parent Jasmine Partida said. "Given the deep issues with bullying and safety concerns at all grade levels found in the recent accreditation process, this expanded curriculum is very much needed in our community."