A lesbian couple in Albuquerque is filing a discrimination lawsuit against Rio Rancho Public Schools, claiming their daughter was harassed and bullied in fifth grade—including by the teacher—because she has two moms.
According to KOB Eyewitness News 4, when the girl wrote an essay about her moms getting married in Iowa, the teacher “said that it was disgusting and that people didn’t need to know about it.” The couple’s attorney also said the teacher refused to shake hands with the girl’s “stepmother” (unclear if that’s how the nonbiological mother really identifies herself, or if that is the news channel’s term), and didn’t allow her to take part in volunteer parent activities.
The girl also seems to have been bullied by classmates, but it is unclear to me if that was because she has two moms or for some other reason. The teacher appears to have been less than sympathetic to the girl, in any case.
The Gay, Lesbian, and Straight Education Network (GLSEN) has long documented instances of children of LGBT parents being harassed in schools (in addition, of course, to their extensive work on the bullying of LGBT students, regardless of parentage). In a 2008 report, they found that “nearly a quarter (22%) of students [with LGBT parents] said that a teacher, principal or other school staff person had discouraged them from talking about their family at school. . . . Furthermore, 28% said they heard teachers or other school staff make negative comments about LGBT families.”
As I wrote myself back in 2007, the many lawsuits that have been brought to try and restrict LGBT-inclusive materials and discussions in the curriculum ignore the fact that even if such materials are banned, children of LGBT parents (not to mention LGBT children themselves, as they grow into awareness) will be talking and writing about themselves and their families. Ultimately, limiting the discussion of “homosexuality” in schools means not only restricting the curriculum, but also limiting the free speech rights of many children. At the very least, curriculum bans will make it unclear to many teachers whether such talk should be allowed. And regardless of curriculum bans, there will still be teachers who will try to restrict such speech because of their personal beliefs—in which case, the school board or higher authority needs to make policy very clear.
I don’t know enough about the Albuquerque case to say anything definitive about their claim—but it’s still a sad statement that it sounds like it could be legitimate.