Capdiamont\’s Weblog

Fox news: School Clams Up on ‘Gay’ Pledge Cards Given to Kindergartners
Saturday 1 Nov 2008, 11:31
Filed under: Uncategorized | Tags: ,

A California school system refuses to say what action, if any, it will take after it received complaints about a kindergarten teacher who encouraged her students to sign “pledge cards” in support of gays.

During a celebration of National Ally Week, Tara Miller, a teacher at the Faith Ringgold School of Arts and Science in Hayward, Calif., passed out cards produced by the Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education Network to her class of kindergartners.

The cards asked signers to be “an ally” and to pledge to “not use anti-LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender) language or slurs; intervene, when I feel I can, in situations where others are using anti-LGBT language or harassing other students and actively support safer schools efforts.”

The school has acknowledged that the exercise was not appropriate for kindergartners.

Parent Adela Voelker, who declined to be interviewed in depth for this report, said she was furious when she found her child’s signature on one of the cards. She said she contacted a non-profit legal defense organization specializing in parents’ rights.

Meanwhile, a school board member, Jeff Cook, says some type of action should be taken.

“We have a general rule that all instruction should be age appropriate, and this clearly was not,” said Cook, who has served on the school board for five years.

Val Joyner, a school district spokeswoman, told in an e-mail that when deciding what to teach on this subject matter, educators “gather materials from community agencies and other education groups” and that “the materials have grade level indicators which help determine what is age-appropriate.”

The district said the pledge cards were intended for middle school and high school students.

Asked last week if the district planned to take action against Miller, Joyner said she would have to look into the incident. On Thursday she told that she did not have an answer for the question and that she would no longer be doing any media interviews.

Joyner said in an e-mail that Miller, the teacher, “planned to teach students how to become an ally and conflict-mediation through various activities.” She added that the district doesn’t advocate for a specific cause and/or lifestyle, and it has “no curriculum for gay, lesbian and transgender lifestyles.”

The district employs a “Professional Learning Specialist: Equity,” who is in charge of gathering material and helping teachers decide what should be taught on the subject matter.

Brad Dacus, president of Pacific Justice Institute, the group representing Voelker, said parents at the Faith Ringgold School weren’t notified of what was going to take place in the classroom.

He said that teaching students as young as pre-school about gay, lesbian and transgender issues is common in California, but that there are “all kinds of material the average parent could find highly objectionable or potentially harmful” to their children.

When asked if the school district did anything wrong, he said, “possibly,” but he declined to go into detail or say whether Voelker would sue the district.

Dacus would not comment specifically on whether children who signed the pledge could be held responsible if the school determined that they were not honoring it. He said they are minors and there are certain degrees of limited liability, but from a psychological and emotional perspective, it’s a whole different ballgame.

“[There is] tremendous peer pressure put on children to accept a pro-homosexual philosophy and attitude,” Dacus said.

Meanwhile, opponents of gay marriage are up in arms over the incident, which occurred as California voters prepare to vote Tuesday on Proposition 8, which would overturn the state Supreme Court’s ruling legalizing gay marriage.

“How do you teach a 5-year-old to sign a pledge card for lesbian, gay and transgender issues without explaining what transgender and bisexual is?” asked Sonja Eddings Brown, a spokeswoman for Protect Marriage California.



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Yimminy, Cap, I thought you said you didn’t hate gays. Surely you don’t want your kids using hateful words like “faggot” or saying “that’s so Gay.” When I got my teaching credential, we worked with kids to not use anti-gay slurs or racial epithets. Even if you don’t agree with the lifestyle, you wouldn’t want your kids name calling would you?

This is a basic “don’t be mean to other kids” lesson. And really some 5 and 6 year old kids do use those words and your kid might pick up on them. Can’t you remember being in school with the boys who appeared effeminate? Whether they were gay or not they were teased so cruelly. From the posts I’ve read here, I doubt you would want your children participating in such bullying.

To answer Sonja Brown’s question, this is how I would describe the card were I against the lifestyle (which I’m not)–“Some people think it’s okay to say mean things to people who do things mommy and daddy don’t like. But it is never okay to call people names even when they do things we think are wrong.”

Comment by Kym

Cap hates the gays and loves the rails

Keep it real Cap! Real dumb!

Comment by Anonymous

Actually I have friends who are gay. So no I don’t hate them.

How do these children, really know what their signing? Do they really know the difference in lifestyles? How can they know what is hateful?

Comment by capdiamont

I am a gay Mormon. Did you hear about Steve Young & his wife coming out for No on Prop 8? They have signs in their yard and gave $50,000.

Thanks Brother and Sister Young for coming out against a proposition that is UNFAIR and WRONG.

Comment by Gay Mormon

Cap, you also criticized the students who watched their teacher get married two weeks back. Each of these students had a signed slip from their parents approving attendance of their child for the field trip. Why do you think this is wrong?

You remember grade school- every student becomes very close to their teacher. In fact, I always felt like my teacher each year was probably the most important person in my life outside of my intermediate family. I would have been honored to attend any of my grade school teachers ceremony, regardless of orientation. It’s all about celebrating the person you love and respect.

Comment by Anonymous

You have to be taught early what words are hateful and why. Learning that the gay/lesbian slang terms are hateful is a powerful lesson for children.

I remember when I was about 7, and I was reading a world map, and came across the country of Niger. I pronounced it by using the word that slanders African Americans. I was immediately taught that this is a word that you do not use, and I was told how to properly pronounce the country as well. This is a lesson that I have never forgot. Many, if not most of the more influential lessons in life are taught and learned at an early age.

Comment by Anonymous

Of course a 5 year old isn’t likely to understand the difference between homosexual and transgender. It’s up to each parent how much they want to explain but just as we asked a summer school group to sign a pledge to treat others kindly, to do their chores willingly etc., just as my martial arts group asks kids to pledge “obedience to parents” or some schools ask kids to pledge allegiance to the flag–the idea is to inculcate kids into the greater values of our society when they are young, in this case, the value that the teacher was trying to get across was that of treating others kindly regardless of our personal views on their sexual orientation, etc.

Comment by Kym

They don’t even teach sex ed until 4th grade if I remember correctly so why are they trying to introduce children to ideas they wouldn’t have otherwise been exposed to for years?

Comment by Joshua Woods

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