- The Washington Times - Saturday, May 25, 2002

A California public school district is allowing homosexual school employees to "come out" in front of children in school without obtaining parents' permission.
A unanimous resolution allows teachers at the Hayward Unified School District to talk openly about homosexuality or to discuss their homosexual lifestyles with students during class. The district's school board says such action is required under the California Student Safety and Violence Prevention Act of 2000.
Teachers also are allowed to include homosexual figures or role models in class and to read books with homosexual characters such as "Heather Has Two Mommies."
The case in Hayward is part of a growing national trend in how school districts deal with homosexuality.
Scott Lively, president of the Pro-Family Law Center in Citrus Heights, Calif., said yesterday that his organization has received calls from concerned parents in Massachusetts, Vermont, Missouri and other towns in California during the past several months.
"It's a national campaign that is being pushed by homosexual activists, and that campaign is to homosexualize the public-school environment," Mr. Lively said. "One of the goals is to create a voting majority within the high school students who would be in favor of gay perspectives. These are activists who got in positions of authority and use it to advance a selfish social agenda, and, frankly, that's evil."
School district officials said yesterday that the resolution is about training students and teachers about tolerance and how to provide a safe learning environment for homosexual students and teachers. It's not about teaching students about homosexuality, said Kim Hammond, the school district's chief administrative officer.
"We're not saying, 'Let's teach the students about homosexuality,'" Ms. Hammond said. "What we're saying is, 'How do we accept individuals who are different from ourselves?' Our school board is committed to maintaining a safe learning environment for all of our students."
But critics, including the Pacific Justice Institute, argue that the resolution overrides parental rights by not requiring the district's schools or teachers to give notice to parents or allow parents a chance to opt their children out of the instruction.
"This gives teachers a blank check to flaunt homosexuality to students, and that is totally crossing the line in public education," said Brad Dacus, the institute's president. "This is aggressive promoting of changing the attitudes of children about homosexuality. The goal here is not to promote school safety. The goal is to promote a social agenda."
The institute sent a letter to Hayward school officials demanding that the policy be rescinded. "We won't do that because this is the law and we're complying with it," Ms. Hammond said.
Ralph Stern, an attorney for the school system, said in a letter to the institute that its reading of the resolution is "incorrect." "It is incorrect when you state that this resolution authorizes teachers to freely discuss personal sexual issues," Mr. Stern wrote. "We do agree that this legislation does not require school districts to adopt a particular curriculum. Adoption of the resolution does constitute adoption of a curriculum."
The law states that school districts in California should develop specific training procedures to protect students and staff from harassment or violence. The training must focus on strategies for handling harassment, responding to biased behavior, dealing with name-calling and creating a safe learning environment.
Hayward schools approved the resolution after hearing testimony from local homosexual activists that homosexual students face severe isolation and fear when they come out. According to a 2001 national survey, 83 percent of homosexual students reported being verbally harassed because of their sexual orientation, and 21 percent reported being physically assaulted.
The resolution specifically states that each school should develop "procedures that insure that gay youth and staff can come out without fear of reprisal or harassment." It also states that "existing curriculum be reviewed, expanded and improved to ensure teachers can provide positive images of gay people in the classroom and discuss alternative family configurations; and infuse relevant homosexual curriculum across disciplines."
Parents whose children attend Hayward schools said no one should be subjected to harassment or violence, but they don't want their parental rights to be taken away in the meantime.
"I refuse to allow my responsibility as a parent to be violated by covertly dismantling parental authorization required when sensitive family and sex-education issues are addressed as stated in the education code," said one parent who did not want to be identified. "District board members have failed to honor parental discretion and the law."


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