Curriculum undermines parents

Letter to the editor

Posted: Wednesday, January 26, 2005

I agreed with Chris King's Jan. 19 My Turn. I agree that the school curriculum should not go to such great lengths to accentuate differences. I believe that sensitive and controversial topics such as sexual orientation should be left for parents to bring up and teach in a manner consistent with their own beliefs and morals. I read through the entire curriculum and I am troubled that these topics are brought up at such an early age. Children in these age groups are not naturally sexual, yet the curriculum states as an objective for the kindergarten through fifth grades to "learn about acceptance, tolerance and respect for other ... gay, lesbian, and transgender students." The wording allows counselors to bring up these subjects at anytime. At present, counselors do not have to notify parents what they are teaching and do not offer an opt-out.

I find it ironic that recent letters to the editor cry out that they don't want others' "ethical and moral values imposed on other families" (Jan 19), but then insist that theirs be taught in the schools. A new curriculum for the primary grades can teach children that everybody deserves to be treated with respect and kindness. Children can be taught that cruelty is never acceptable. They can learn skills to help them interact with one another. However, going into too much detail and pointing out differences will only encourage curiosity about sexual topics too mature for these primary-age children. Again, it should be up to parents to decide when their child is old enough to understand and what they want them to learn.

I realize that there are problems with harassment and misunderstanding in the older grades. I want my children to be taught in school, in conjunction with my own efforts at home, that everyone has worth and deserves to live without harassment. But I don't want the school to undermine my ability to teach my young children our family's moral and ethical values concerning alternative lifestyle choices.

April Gilbert

Juneau



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