Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Report About Harvey Milk Requires Permission Slips

See what you think about this one...
The American Civil Liberties Union on Wednesday threatened to sue a San Diego County school that refused to let a student present a report on slain gay rights leader Harvey Milk until her classmates got their parents' permission to hear it.

David Blair-Loy, legal director of the ACLU of San Diego County, said the principal of Mt. Woodson Elementary School in Ramona violated the free speech rights of 6th-grader Natalie Jones, who was the only student in her class prevented from giving an in-class presentation.

Principal Theresa Grace concluded last month that the subject of the girl's project triggered a district policy requiring parents to be notified in writing before their children are exposed to lessons dealing with sex, according to Blair-Loy and Natalie's mother.

After the principal sent letters to alert parents about the "sensitive topic," Natalie was allowed to give her 12-page PowerPoint report during the May 8 lunch recess, but not in class, Blair-Loy said. Eight of the 13 students in her class attended, he said.

In a letter to the Ramona Unified District on Wednesday, the ACLU demanded that school officials apologize to Natalie and clarify its sex education policy. It also wants the girl to be given the chance to present her biographical account of Milk's life and death in class.

"It's not about sex, it's not about sex education. It's a presentation about a historical figure who happened to be gay," Blair-Loy said. ACLU says school censored student's Milk report

So the rule is that you need parents' permission for "any lesson dealing with sex." Since Harvey Milk was homosexual, apparently, the principal feels this meets the criterion. I wonder if they have to send permission slips home if someone is going to speak about a heterosexual person.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Andrea- not anon
Sounds like the perfect place for the showerheads to move.

May 26, 2009 1:45 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Is the powerpoint available on the net?

Might be worthwhile to look at it before drawing conclusions.

May 26, 2009 6:26 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Well, if the student is going to talk about Milk's life as a gay activist, then of course the issue of homosexuality is going to come up, and it's appropriate that the school's policy be followed. These are eleven and twelve year old children.

It's not like the student said she was going to do a book report on the life of an electrician and how this electrician invented a new type of circuit breaker, and the school didn't let her do it because the electrician happened to be gay.

May 26, 2009 11:23 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

besides, the whole topic of AC/DC might come up

May 26, 2009 11:57 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"Anonymous" - You sanctimnoniously opine "These are eleven and twelve year old children." It is obvious that you have little, if any, contact with 11 and 12 year olds. Today's kids in the 21st century know much, much more about life than you did when you were their age (and probably know much more than you do at your present age).
Using children as a cover-up for your own insecurities is infantile. Homosexuality is a fact of life. If you believe that not talking about it will protect "innocent children" from the vissisitudes of life, I've got a bridge in Alaska I can sell you.
Get a life!

May 27, 2009 9:49 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

so we are now giving up on the innocence of children ?

wow. sad statement.

May 27, 2009 12:25 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The school asked for parental permission. Sounds reasonable to me.

May 27, 2009 12:53 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Actually, I would argue that kids know less today about important things -- like enjoying a childhood of innocence -- than they do today.

If you want children to be little adults, then don't have children. Simply hang around with adults, gay or otherwise, and LEAVE THE CHILDREN ALONE.

Voila! Everyone's happy.

May 27, 2009 12:56 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"Actually, I would argue that kids know less today about important things -- like enjoying a childhood of innocence -- than they do today."

You would argue kids know less today than they do today? I don't think you're going to get very far with that argument. You might want to try a little proofreading before you hit "Publish this comment" next time.


May 27, 2009 2:07 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

every gay I've ever met hates kids

May 27, 2009 2:39 PM  
Blogger Tish said...

The problem is that the school allowed the child to research and write the report and then let her know that her subject was not acceptable by singling her out for different treatment.

If Harvey Milk was not an acceptable subject, the teacher was responsible for letting her know that she needed to select another topic. If the teacher approved the topic and allowed the student to research and write the report, then the topic had the school's approval.

May 27, 2009 2:59 PM  
Anonymous Aunt Bea said...

every gay I've ever met hates kidsHow many gays have you met? Not very many, apparently. Many gay and lesbian couples provide loving adoptive families for unwanted children, and many of those children are harmed by laws that deny their legal parents the same legal rights as straight parents.

Kept From a Dying Partner’s Bedside


When a loved one is in the hospital, you naturally want to be at the bedside. But what if the staff won’t allow it?

That’s what Janice Langbehn, a social worker in Lacey, Wash., says she experienced when her partner of 18 years, Lisa Pond, collapsed with an aneurysm during a Florida vacation and was taken to a Miami trauma center. She died there, at age 39, as Ms. Langbehn tried in vain to persuade hospital officials to let her visit, along with the couple’s adopted children...

...As recounted by Ms. Langbehn, the details of the Miami episode are harrowing. It began in February 2007, when the family — including three children, then ages 9, 11 and 13 — traveled there for a cruise. After boarding the ship, Ms. Pond collapsed while taking pictures of the children playing basketball.

The children managed to help her back to the family’s room. Fortunately, the ship was still docked, and an ambulance took Ms. Pond to the Ryder Trauma Center at Jackson Memorial. Ms. Langbehn and the children followed in a taxi, arriving around 3:30 p.m.

Ms. Langbehn says that a hospital social worker informed her that she was in an “antigay city and state” and that she would need a health care proxy to get information. (The worker denies having made the statement, Mr. Alonso said.) As the social worker turned to leave, Ms. Langbehn stopped him. “I said: ‘Wait a minute. I have those health care proxies,’ ” she said. She called a friend to fax the papers.

The medical chart shows that the documents arrived around 4:15 p.m., but nobody immediately spoke to Ms. Langbehn about Ms. Pond’s condition. During her eight-hour stay in the trauma unit waiting room, Ms. Langbehn says, she had two brief encounters with doctors. Around 5:20 a doctor sought her consent for a “brain monitor” but offered no update about the patient’s condition. Around 6:20, two doctors told her there was no hope for a recovery.

Despite repeated requests to see her partner, Ms. Langbehn says she was given just one five-minute visit, when a priest administered last rites. She says she continued to plead with a hospital worker that the children be allowed to see their mother, even showing the children’s birth certificates.

“I said to the receptionist, ‘Look, they’re her kids,’ ” Ms. Langbehn said. (Mr. Alonso, the hospital spokesman, says that except in special circumstances, children under 14 are not allowed to visit in the trauma unit.)

Ms. Langbehn says she was repeatedly told to keep waiting. Then, at 11:30 p.m., Ms. Pond’s sister arrived at the unit. According to the lawsuit, the hospital workers immediately told her that Ms. Pond had been moved an hour earlier to the intensive care unit and provided her room number.

At midnight, Ms. Langbehn says, her exhausted children were finally able to visit their unconscious mother. Ms. Pond was declared brain-dead at 10:45 that morning, and her heart, kidneys and liver were donated to four patients.

In her lawsuit, Ms. Langbehn is being represented by Lambda Legal, a gay rights group. “We want to send a message to hospitals,” said Beth Littrell, a lawyer for the group. “If they don’t treat families as such, if they don’t let patients define their own circle of intimacy and give them the dignity and care to be with their loved ones in this sort of crisis, then they will be held accountable."

If you really cared about kids, you'd work to make sure all loving families have the same legal rights, FOR THE SAKE OF THE CHILDREN.

May 27, 2009 3:28 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Tish -- I'm the anon who wrote that children are not little adults. I agree with your last assessment. If the teacher approved the subject and the student went through all of the work to do it -- then the student should not have been singled out and treated differently.

Perhaps one option would have been to "upgrade" ALL of the student reports by making it a special "faculty-only presentation" -- or special one-on-one reports to the principal or something....

May 27, 2009 3:32 PM  
Blogger Tish said...

A teacher at Piney Branch Elementary School in Takoma Park tried to do this to my daughter in 1994 and I wouldn't let her get away with it. I was expecting my second child when my daughter started 6th grade. My daughter got her classroom teacher's permission to do her big year-long science research project on pregnancy and childbirth. After my daughter had been researching and compiling presentation materials, as well as journaling about the things she learned from our visits to the midwife for over 6 months, the science teacher called to say that my daughter couldn't present this project because it was too controversial. I asked her who had decided that baby brothers were controversial. Then she said there would be objections. I asked her who had objected. Then she said that the project wasn't age appropriate. I pointed out that these students had had the family life unit a year earlier.
Finally it came out that the teacher didn't want pictures of naked bodies on the science fair poster board. I asked her if she had examined the presentation materials because I knew that all of the pictures depicted clothed women. She had never looked at my daughter's materials or talked to my daughter's teacher. She just decided to pull the plug. But I'm a PIA and I wouldn't let her do it. I told her that if she hadn't questioned the project when it was first proposed, then it was approved and would be presented. On the night of the science fair, my daughter sat with her baby brother in her lap and answered questions. The report was written by a 6th grader and it was age appropriate for a 6th grade audience. Her classmates' questions were 6th grade level questions. There were no objections from any one.

May 27, 2009 4:55 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"every gay I've ever met hates kids" That, "Anonymous" is without doubt the most assinine, stupid, ignorant comment you have ever made here.
Perhaps the one gay person you possibly have met might dispute you on that assertion. No doubt he would definitely question your sanity. Your hatred has just about taken over every aspect of your personality...we are all so very, very sorry for you.

May 27, 2009 5:05 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"Anonymous"...would you be so kind as to point out where the previous Anonymous stated anything about giving up on childhood innocence?(you said "so we are now giving up on the innocence of children ?
wow. sad statement.")
The "sad statement" appears to be yours, not his/hers.

May 27, 2009 5:15 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"Anonymous" - You sanctimnoniously opine "These are eleven and twelve year old children." It is obvious that you have little, if any, contact with 11 and 12 year olds. Today's kids in the 21st century know much, much more about life than you did when you were their age (and probably know much more than you do at your present age)."

The statement about children's lack of innocence was here. I have a 13 year old and I disagree. you can still shelter them to some extent, you can still determine what is age appropriate for children to watch, you don't have to give up and expose them to everything ! be a parent for goodness sake.

May 27, 2009 11:21 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

oh, and almadea has decided that transgender is an appropriate term to teach fifth graders. Here we do this at what, grade 8 or age 12 ? california is going for age 9.

May 27, 2009 11:22 PM  
Anonymous svelte_brunette said...

Anon complained:

“oh, and almadea has decided that transgender is an appropriate term to teach fifth graders. Here we do this at what, grade 8 or age 12 ? california is going for age 9. unreal.”

In Colorado, a 2nd grade boy returned to his school as a girl:

(See http://www.9news.com/news/article.aspx?storyid=85989 )

I was 7 in second grade. Shortly after turning 9 in the fourth grade, I was sick and tired of the physical and emotional abuse heaped on my by my peers, apparently for not being “boy” enough and tried to end it all with a pocket knife to my left wrist.

One’s gender identity forms in early childhood, long before any awareness of sexuality. If a trans child shows up in school in the 2nd, 3rd, or 4th grade, hopefully there has been some groundwork laid to make life easier for everyone involved.

Gender Identity Disorder can be induced by society in perfectly “normal” kids if they are forced to behave and dress like the opposite gender. The symptoms they present are exactly the same as those expressed by trans kids. ( See http://everything2.com/title/David%2520Reimer )

There are plenty of ways to explain to a child that one of their classmates is changing gender in an age appropriate fashion. No gory or sexual details are necessary.

With any luck, currently transitioning adults will be the last generation to have to go through their entire childhood, puberty, and at least part of their adult life forced to conform to the wrong gender.

Allowing trans kids to transition as early as possible will spare them decades of suffering. This is nothing to fear teaching our children about.



May 28, 2009 1:55 AM  
Anonymous Robert said...

I think we have a new troll with difficulties using the shift key.

May 28, 2009 11:47 AM  

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