LAUSD unanimously passes resolution to encourage LGBTQ education for all schools

The resolution also served as the board's official recognition of June as Pride Month.

Wednesday, June 7, 2023
LAUSD passes resolution to encourage LGBTQ education for all schools
The Los Angeles Unified School District Board of Education unanimously approved a resolution Tuesday encouraging all district schools to incorporate lessons on the LGBTQ+ community into their curriculum.

LOS ANGELES (CNS) -- Days after a Pride Month assembly at a North Hollywood elementary school prompted a protest by dozens of upset parents, the Los Angeles Unified School District Board of Education unanimously approved a resolution Tuesday encouraging all district schools to incorporate lessons on the LGBTQ+ community into their curriculum.

The resolution introduced by Board President Jackie Goldberg and Member Nick Melvoin served as the board's official recognition of June as LGBTQ+ Pride Month -- while also honoring October as LGBTQ+ History Month; Oct. 11 as National Coming Out Day; Nov. 20 as Transgender Day of Remembrance; March 31 as Transgender Day of Visibility; and April 12 as a Day of Silence honoring the contribution of the LGBTQ+ community.

It noted that research has suggested that 25% of high school-age students in the country identify as LGBTQ+, and youth identifying as LGBTQ+ are at a higher risk for experiencing homelessness, being victims of bullying, and attempting or dying by suicide, and national research indicates that mental health struggles and rates of suicidal thoughts have trended upward among LGBTQ+ youth in recent years.

"Every school district, including ours, must continue to take a stand in supporting our LGBTQ+ youth and ensuring that every student has the resources they need to thrive both academically and socio-emotionally as a valued member of their school community," the resolution read, in part.

By approving the resolution, the board called for the district to "renew our commitment that all LGBTQ+ students and staff feel safe, heard and respected, and that staff are aware of all available resources for LGBTQ+ students who are experiencing mental health issues."

Most notably, the resolution encourages all schools to incorporate lessons on the LGBTQ+ community in instruction.

Melvoin said the purpose behind the resolution is to ensure students are educated about the world in which they live.

"I brought a resolution commemorating and celebrating June as Pride Month and we're reiterating the districts commitment to supporting all of our students and families including the LGBTQ+ community," said Melvoin in an interview with Eyewitness News. "We usually do this when we look at other states or other countries that show intolerance and prejudice and bigotry. I didn't know that I'd be doing this on the heels of intolerance and so much misunderstanding in our own community."

A handful of people spoke in favor of the resolution during the meeting, including at least two parents. No members of the public spoke in opposition.

"As a black queer man who grew up in LAUSD, I'm more than thrilled that the district is recognizing LGBTQ students and staff," said one former student who spoke at the meeting.

On Friday, dozens of parents descended on Saticoy Elementary School in North Hollywood in protest of a Pride Month assembly. Parents organizing the protest said they were not condemning the LGBTQ+ community, but wanted the right to decide what -- and when -- their children are taught on the subject.

The days leading up to the assembly were marred by news that a small Pride flag on the campus was set on fire, further aggravating tensions.

The protesting parents were met at the school Friday by LGBTQ+ advocates and other supporters, creating a sometimes tense standoff that included at least one scuffle between the opposing sides and prompting police to form a skirmish line to keep the factions separated.

No injuries or arrests were reported.

The Saticoy assembly included the reading of "The Great Big Book of Families,'' which discusses diverse and different types of families.

Superintendent Alberto Carvalho denied that the book contained any sexual material, countering accusations by some critics who accused the school of giving sexualized instruction to children.

During Tuesday's meeting, Goldberg read "The Great Big Book of Families,'' noting that it includes one sentence in it that said, "Yeah, guess what, families can include two moms or two dads.''

Goldberg, who is openly lesbian, got emotional, pounding her hand on her desk as she referenced the Saticoy protests, saying, "I am very tired of having young people and adults in the LGBTQ community hear three days of yelling and screaming about this. What do you think that did to them? ... What do you think that did to them? It made them afraid! It made them afraid. ... How dare you make them afraid because you are.''

Meanwhile, in Glendale, hundreds of people gathered outside a meeting of the Glendale Unified School District board, which was scheduled to approve a resolution recognizing Pride Month, and a skirmish broke out among different factions. According to reports from the scene, at least one person was arrested when a fight erupted.

Copyright 2023, City News Service, Inc.