Thursday, October 13, 2011

California LGBT History Law Becomes Effective in January

The FAIR Education Act (SB 48) which requires all public schools to include historical contributions by LGBT people and LGBT rights movements will be put into effect in January 2012. “FAIR” stands for fair, accurate, inclusive, and respectful. The law seeks to inadvertently lower the rates of bullying by recognizing LGBT people in history and making LGBT students feel less isolated. SB 48 ensures that students have an accurate picture of people who have shaped American society. Under this new law, the State Board of Education is not allowed to use discriminatory materials or allow discriminatory instruction.

Opponents to this historic law have been petitioning for months in order to obtain the necessary signatures for a ballot referendum to repeal the law in 2012. The groups needed 505,000 signatures by the end of 90 days in order to theoretically overturn SB 48. According to “Stop SB 48” the law promotes LGBT lifestyles and forces children to learn about things their parents tell them are wrong.

Thankfully California is not a state which opts to ignore sensitive topics simply because some parents do not agree with the subject matter. Imagine neglecting the theory of evolution or the issue of global warming due to the objection of a handful of parents. Students must learn about topics which may disinterest them, thrill them, or anger them. That is part of the beauty of our education system.

In order to create critical thinkers, we must provide all of the information we have. The FAIR Education Act has included one more important piece of American history in our children’s social studies curriculums and shown our LGBT students that they are a part of American culture too. We are so thankful that California is setting the example for an inclusive and fair education system.

Take Action: To help promote tolerance and fight bullying in public schools nationwide, write to a Senate member on the HELP Committee and ask them to include the Safe Schools Improvement Act and the Student Non-Discrimination Act as amendments in their upcoming revisions to the Elementary and Secondary Education Act.