I’ve been hanging on to this post for a while; it was something I thought I should let cool first. But the events of today brought it to mind (and I need a post to fill the space until I find more time to get back to the other argument :-)).
A video was produced a while back to familiarize students with the various family situations of their classmates. It has representation of children being raised in adoptive families, by their grandparents, and more, created hoping to make classroom life easier for such children. Of course, you guessed it, the families represented that have everyone upset are the families headed by same-sex couples.
You can view the actual clips of all of the family types here.
In Philadelphia this film was shown to third graders and outrage quickly followed. I think it best to watch the video before you read the articles, for context, but here are two articles on the tumult:
The First Public Hearing
The Second Public Hearing
“It was the segment on same-sex couples that drew the most ire from parents, who lined up a dozen deep to speak at a microphone - when they weren't shouting out their comments.”
“One woman stood at her seat and yelled, ‘They're 8 years old. They don't need to see homosexual people in the classroom.’”
She “stood” and “yelled” that.
Just today--I just got back--I was invited to our kid’s school (half-day, half-week preschool). I brought our microscope with a monitor and a couple other pieces of lab equipment. I put on a big show for the kids, looking at everything from a flea to bone marrow to their turtle’s lettuce, and they loved it. They didn’t “need” to see me but I can’t imagine the harm I caused that this woman has in mind. And sure, they know I’m a homosexual in that they know R and I are their friend’s parents, just as this video shows, but I’m sure the word “homosexual” means nothing to them (I don’t know my kids have ever heard the word, or “gay” even; it just hasn’t come up). Recently we were there for Dad’s Visitor Day, and before that R went with my mom for Mother’s Visitor Day. It all was wonderful, no one bats an eye, and the school is great about it; in fact, it now never comes to mind when there that it could be a problem… Then I think of people like those in these articles.
Maybe our ease comes because we know all the parents and are involved. We go to all the birthday parties. We did soccer with them all last summer, and that built our relationships and trust (I should say “soccer”, considering the age :-)). We all get along great and not one problem has emerged by our family being so clear to their children, from the classroom to play dates. Maybe we’ve found a paradise of education for our children, but that’s not seemingly what’s out there.
I feel I need to know what damage was done in the minds of such folk, those who would like to keep our families out of the classroom. The harm is done just having our family seen, by just knowing their classmates have a different home? Some possible hints:
“Others called the video ‘adult material’ and said lessons about diversity and tolerance should be taught in the home.”
“Others were less charitable, calling the video ‘disgusting.’”
“‘There was absolutely no necessity to engage third graders in sexuality. That's what you're doing,’ said David Thompson of Medford Lakes. ‘You were wrong... . I firmly believe, that someone had an agenda here.’”
It seems they are imagining something sexual every time they see gay couples. Did they watch the video? I mean, they must have some odd imagination going on, if the mere sight of a gay couple constitutes “adult material” and “sexuality”, right? Don’t they realize some of us are far more prudish than they’ve ever been :-)?
Yeah, though, there is an "agenda" here. Our kids go to school together and they have to interact and learn together. We have to find a way to make that interaction civil, humane, and productive. And all that is important to a school’s central mission of education. We gratefully have that in our little corner of Utah, and such a video is a way to encourage a healthy school environment for those who don’t.
Anyway, on the plus side, I think I did convert some kids to a particular lifestyle today :-). When asked who wants to be a scientist after I was done, most all raised their hands.
One girl, though, kept her hand down. This same girl raised her hand to ask a question while I was talking, and when I acknowledged her she said, “Your miscrocope is wrealwy borwing”.
Whatever, little girl.
That’s not even a question. And at least I can say boring. ;-)