A small group of parents raised an issue during Tuesday’s Board of Education meeting regarding lesbian, gay, bisexual transgender (LGBT) curriculum being taught in South Pasadena schools
Alan Ma, whose son attends Marengo Elementary School, brought a collection of children’s books he claimed contains the subject matter that is being read in the classroom.
He expressed his concern that the subject matter was being exposed to youngsters without making parents aware.
“This greatly concerns me and my family,” said Ma, noting that he “read a lot on the topic,” telling members of the school board that the inclusion of the LGBT course study is still controversial.
“We the parents feel extremely uncomfortable for our kids to be exposed to this LGBT content at this very early age,” he said. “We truly believe the LGBT content is not age appropriate for elementary kids. There’s no medical research so far to conclude the social cultural influences on a gender identity and sexual orientation.”
Ma believes teaching young students about LGBT might confuse them. “Because of this, it has caused a lot of confusion and concern among families.” He said some parents have chosen alternative schools for their children next semester.
Lisa Ramirez read a letter from a parent, Linda Liu, who has two students attending Marengo.
While she says the children’s teacher has good intentions teaching diversity in the classroom, Liu is concerned about the identity curriculum, and books, which address gays, transgender …“boys that like to be princesses or mermaids,” said Ramirez. Her letter detailed how she objects to “this type of curriculum to the elementary school children.”
In Liu’s letter, Ramirez added, “There are several articles that are documented that gender identity, LGBT encourages children to question their own gender identity and sexual orientation.”
She stressed, continuing to read the letter, that LGBT programs put kids at risk. “Those who design these programs probably believe they are offering hope to the children who may feel different, have flaws or are unloved. They believe it affirms children’s own LGBT identity as something positive and something that makes up a core of who they are as children to make them feel better. This is not the case…The message of this program sends nothing but tragic high rates of suicide in the LGBT community.”
Michael Magener, reading the second half of Liu’s letter, noted: “Parents need to know that up to 94 percent of school-age kids who identify themselves as transgender will grow out of their desires if parents in schools stop encouraging them to internalize and publicize their LGBT identities. Moreover, data shows that lives are put at risk when schools encourage them to identify themselves as gay or transgender at an early age. For each year children delay labeling themselves as LGBT their suicide risk is reduced by 20 percent.”
Liu believes children should spend school time “for something suitable for their age that will help them build for their futures like math, language,” she pointed out in her letter. Liu fears the new curriculum will influence kids to label others or even themselves who exhibit behaviors of the opposite or different gender.
Lisa Petty, who has three children in the local school district, including at Monterey Hills Elementary and the middle school, shared her concerns about gender identity taught to her 7th grade daughter, noting it changed her whole perspective. “What they presented her made it sound like heterosexual men were aggressors,” Petty, speaking on behalf of other parents, told the school board, “We may have an issue with how this is being presented to these children, that it’s changing their views.”
She read the last paragraph in Liu’s letter: “We ask that you allow parents to opt out from the gender content curriculum if it’s still going to be at the elementary school.”
LGBT instruction in the classroom was not on Tuesday’s school board agenda, so the Board of Education could not officially comment. However, openly gay Board Member Michele Kipke, who looked at the books Ma had brought to the podium perused them and said near the end of the meeting: “I think these are just terrific books. Thank you for bringing these. I hope we can make sure we make them available at each of our schools.”
Editor’s Note: Parents and citizens are encouraged to send in their own Letters to the Editor concerning this and any other topic that they may deem relevant.