Harvey Milk Too Controversial For Sixth Graders?

Harvey Milk, the first openly gay man elected to public in California. Just don't tell the kids!

Harvey Milk, the first openly gay man elected to public office in California. Just don't tell the kids!

It seems that Harvey Milk is too controversial for sixth graders who attend the Mt. Woodson Elementary School in Ramona, CA.

According to the American Civil Liberties Union, sixth grader Natalie Jones decided that after watching the Oscar-winning film, Milk, she would do a presentation about his career in politics and activism. But the school had other ideas. The day before Natalie was to present her project, she was called into the principal’s office and was told that she could not talk about Harvey Milk because it violated the school dristrict’s strict policy on “family life and sex education.”

In what seems to be a lame attempt to placate protesters, days later Natalie was told she could only give her presentation during recess, and students would be required to get parental permission before they could attend…

homophobia The school’s policy states that parents will be notified if their children are being exposed to lessons about “human reproductive organs and their functions, processes, or sexually transmitted diseases” as well as “family life, human sexuality, AIDS, or sexually transmitted diseases.” So how does Harvey Milk go against that policy? Does this mean current event reports about openly gay Congressman Barney Frank also violate this policy?

In a press conference yesterday, Natalie’s mother, Bonnie Jones, called the school’s reaction “unbelievable.” “To say my daughter’s presentation is ‘sex education’ because Harvey Milk happened to be gay,” she exclaimed, “is completely wrong.”

The ACLU has filed a complaint against the school and I couldn’t agree more. This is homophobia at its worst. Since when is the mere fact that a person is gay enough to exclude their contributions to society and remove them from their rightful place in history?

The assassination of Harvey Milk, as well as Mayor Masconi (who was not gay), is part of California’s history. The election and subsequent murder of Milk were events that had a great impact on both California and the country at large. Should this part of history be swept under the table simply because Milk was gay? Wasn’t this what Harvey was fighting about? Lost his life over?

The school’s reaction is over-the-top and it is this type of small minded thinking that keeps homophobia alive and kicking. And that’s why we need to stand up against it, gay or straight, so that some day a person’s accomplishments can be appreciated and celebrated, regardless of his or her sexual orientation.

If you are as shocked and saddened as I am about this homophobic, misrepresentation of the school’s policy, please email the school’s principal at tgrace@ramonausd.net and tell her what you think of her ridiculous decision to censor a sixth grader’s report on a famous historical figure, simply because he was gay.


8 thoughts on “Harvey Milk Too Controversial For Sixth Graders?

  1. eblackwell says:

    What?!!! I wish I could say that I can’t believe it, but the sad, horrible truth is: human beings love to discriminate.

    The school isn’t even give examples from her report on where her subject matter violates policy! They’re just saying it does! I want quoted text where she is teaching sex education or lecturing on AIDS. Otherwise, since the bigot shoe fits, don’t deny you’re wearing it!

    So they’re worried about family life? Adultery and drug use would violate that, right? So no one can give a report or read an article on any US president other than John Adams, Harry Truman, and Jimmy Carter. Because the rest have been proven adulterers or drug users.

    What about George Washington? Can we learn about this guy who couldn’t keep it in his pants? And if we can, why? Because he’s hetero?

    What about a public figure that’s hetero who dies of AIDS? Is that allowed? Or what about Ryan White? Can you give a report on HIM in this school? I bet I can give a report on Senator Joseph “Douche Bag” McCarthy, leader of murder, bigotry, and terrorism in our own land? They’d applaud a report on him, right? Especially how he forced “under God” in the Pledge of Allegiance because if you didn’t love HIS God, you were a commie?!

    People piss me off! And now when I’m so aggravated that I’m making spell checker work overtime in this post, I’m emailing Principal KKK and asking how the meetings are going at the Hetero WASP Supremacy foundation!

  2. That’s a damn shame. Ironically, I just watched the movie last night with my husband and we were blown away by Harvey Milk’s activism and passion. It constantly amazes me when people who are supposed to be TEACHING our children go out of their way to bully them with ignorance, stereotypes and intolerance. His story is HISTORY, and we should all know our American history.

    Thanks, Preston, for bringing this important issue to the forefront… I live in Georgia, and they damn for sure aren’t talking about it here.

  3. I can’t even begin to express how much this crap pisses me off. There are so many more important things in life we should be worrying about, like drugs, gangs, murder, rape, war. Why are so many people missing the point in life??????

    Anyway…here’s something off topic: when you know how people can help and support Andrew’s cause, (web page explaining the story and how they can help, where to donate, etc.) let me know and I will put it up on my blog.

    Have a good long weekend, Preston!

  4. I fail to see how someone being gay violating the district’s policies when it’s about the man’s life and contributions. Seriously?

  5. Man, this is the most ridiculous thing that I have ever heard. I’ve never heard of him before (sad, I know), but I’m going to do some research. Enjoy your look weekend!!

  6. WOW, that’s pretty sad. The school district has some problems. I don’t see how this should even be an issue. Of course it will be though. Like everything that doesn’t fit into the perfect world made up by others. By the way my girls have two grandma’s they think it’s perfectly normal.

  7. Carol says:

    Hi Preston! (This is Carol from the Shakespeare Company) Just want to say…WTF is wrong with some people?

    Also I love that homophobia picture and am stealing it for my own blog. 🙂

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s