The New York Times reported today on the Evesham, New Jersey School District’s decision to uphold a ban on the film That’s a Family, because of its inclusion of children with same-sex parents. (See my post on the matter.)
The Times tries to remain a neutral reporter, offering opinions both for and against showing such subject matter (depictions of same-sex families, not sex education) to children of elementary-school age. The big point they overlook, however, is that there are children of same-sex families already in preschools and elementary school classrooms. These kids know about same-sex families from birth—or at least from the point they can say “Mommy and Mama” or “Daddy and Papa.” This blows the whole “third grade is too early” argument out of the water.
When schools ban films and books showing same-sex families, they also make our children feel like oddballs and outcasts. No one would think of showing an educational film today that didn’t include racial diversity, and for good reason. Same principle should apply here. This isn’t a matter of teaching children about some distant community. This is about teaching children to respect others who may be sitting right next to them, sharing a juice box.
Furthermore, as I wrote a couple of weeks ago for Bay Windows (and have said before), “it is ridiculous to imagine notifying parents every time a child from an LGBT family wants to share family photos during show and tell or write an essay about going on an R Family cruise.”
They can ban curriculum items (films, books, etc.) that depict same-sex families, or have parents “opt out” of scheduled discussions, but to fully expunge us from the classroom, they’ll have to expel our children or limit their freedom to talk about their own families. And with most schools desperate for parent volunteers, do they really want to tell our children they can’t bring both parents to the school potluck? I make a darn good lasagna and my partner makes a mean batch of oatmeal cookies.