California today became the first state to require that school districts include in their social studies lessons the contributions of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) people.
“History should be honest. This bill revises existing laws that prohibit discrimination in education and ensures that the important contributions of Americans from all backgrounds and walks of life are included in our history books,” said a statement from Gov. Jerry Brown (D), who signed the bill after supporters and opponents endured more than a week of suspense.
State Assembly Passes Landmark LGBT Education Bill
A bill to require California public schools to teach the historical accomplishments of gay men and lesbians passed the state Legislature on Tuesday in what supporters call a first for the nation.
Secretary of Education Arne Duncan warned school districts Tuesday against attempting to shut down lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) clubs and gay-straight alliances.
The American Civil Liberties Union of Southern California said Tuesday that a Southland school district is potentially violating students’ constitutional rights by blocking access to informational gay and lesbian Web sites.
ACLU attorneys say the Rowland Unified School District in the San Gabriel Valley uses computer software to keep students from seeing the Web sites of groups that include the Gay Straight Alliance Network and the Gay and Lesbian Alliance against Defamation.
Proposed state legislation, if approved, would add gays, lesbians, bisexuals and transgenders to the list of social and ethnic groups public schools must include in social studies.
At two East Bay private schools the debate has gone beyond whether to include gay history in the curriculum. They have taken the next step, offering a high school class dedicated to gay studies.