As we gear up for the election in a few weeks, I thought about a few situations that bring up a question for our public schools. We have all seen the advertisement for Proposition 8, where a little girl comes into the kitchen and tells her mom that today in school she learned that a prince can marry a prince and she can marry a princess. Then the deep voice comes on and says something to the effect of: “Don’t want this to happen to you? Well it can!” (A scare tactic at it’s worst, isn’t it?)
This raises the question: Should this topic be off-limits when it comes to our kids?
Regardless of what you feel about gay marriage and its morality, it is a fact in our society. Yes, many people are trying to block it, but that doesn’t make it any less real (right, Gavin?). So: Are teachers supposed to glance over this topic because some don’t agree?
I think arguments can be made for the age-appropriateness of the topic (just as sex education should not be taught before 5th grade). But are public schools supposed to make moral judgments like this—such as not mentioning that there are many types of families?
In schools now, there is a large push to be “multicultural,” that is, to make sure classrooms are stocked with books with African American characters, for example, so that children don’t always see the same white hero or heroine in their literature. What about the student or child that may be having questions about his or her own sexuality? Should they be given the same consideration, so that they don’t feel so alone or different?
That is a moral issue that can probably be argued to death right here. But the question is: Who are we hurting by not acknowledging this topic? Is it for people who disagree with the whole concept, or are we forgetting about our kids?
It is a sticky issue that I am sure will be debated for years to come. Remember, there have been times in history when many other groups were treated this way. And history was written as a biased, white-centric story. Are we censoring history by not including this?
I will brace myself for the comments to come….