Action Alert: REALLY support safe schools in Alameda*

* UPDATE: The venue for the “Carryover” Board meeting has been changed to accomodate what’s expected to be larger crowds.  The Carryover School Board meeting will be held Monday at 6:30pm at Alameda Unified School District’s Kofman Auditorium, 2200 Central Avenue, Alameda, CA.  Google map here.  Peaceful vigil beforehand from 5pm on (see next post for further details).

AUSD School Board President Mike McMahon keeps a well-stocked website and has archived the whole debate here, including links to parents’ groups for and against the curriculum, and testimony heard at the May 12 meeting.  Anyone planning to go who hasn’t already been a part of the safe schools work in AUSD should read up on the matter at the Alameda C.A.R.E. (Community Alliance Resource for Education) website.

I wrote yet more on this later today, here at “More on Alameda’s Caring Schools Curriculum”

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groundspark

Remember earlier in the week — like, Wednesday — I passed along an action alert about a School Board meeting in Alameda (a town in the East Bay of the San Francisco Bay Area)?  Well.  I finally got a report on the meeting, and it seems that the topic of safe schools and anti-bullying curriculum in Alameda indeed got into the crosshairs of right wing activists.

Educators, LGBT families, and their allies in Alameda Unified School District have been working for over two years to develop a curriculum on family diversity and anti-bullying for the schools. Featured in the curriculum is the award-winning film by local film company Groundspark, “That’s a Family!” which profiles multiple family structures: step-parents, grandparents raising kids, interracial families, and LGBT-headed families.  Wednesday’s school board meeting was to take up the matter of adopting the curriculum.

Read what Groundspark Communications & Marketing Coordinator Kate McNally posted on the Groundspark blog yesterday:

The second area of concern is the Alameda Unified School District is hearing public comment on their new proposed elementary school curriculum that promotes respect for family diversity and gender non-conforming youth. The curriculum, featuring our film That’s A Family!, has been proposed after 2 years of meetings between elementary school educators, staff, and community members. While the new bias and bullying prevention lessons have broad community support, hundreds of right wing activists bussed down from Sacramento and made a spectacle at a previous meeting held on Tuesday. They showed up early, filled the room, and kept legitimate local supporters and educators from attending. One person dressed as the devil and argued that teaching children respect for all families was the road to hell. Their hateful words hurt the families and children that were present – and we need to show the school board that we stand together in support of our community! The Alameda school board needs to hear your voice to remind them why LGBT-inclusive education is important to our communities!

The school board will be meeting again, this time on Monday, May 18th at 6PM in Wood Middle School’s Multi-Purpose room (420 Grand St, Alameda, CA)Alameda Unified School District’s Kofman Auditorium, 2200 Central Avenue.  We are urging people to go and show their support for curriculums and classrooms that are inclusive of all people and families. If you would like more information about this event, or want to learn more about what you can do to help, please contact us at info@groundspark.org.

We cannot possibly stand by as hundreds of right wing activists, bussed in from way out of the Bay Area, make a mockery of the careful, thoughtful work of local supporters and educators. I’ll be there, mindful of the passions this issue raises, and tempering their extremism with common sense.  I’m wearing my nice work clothes, and leaving my baseball cap (and megaphone) at home for this one.  Basically, it’s “I see you one way-out-of-towner in a devil’s outfit, and raise you one reasonable, calm, parent and educator from this area.”  (Google map here.) I hope anyone in the Bay Area who feels strongly about this joins me and others there. Please pass this news on.

One Response to Action Alert: REALLY support safe schools in Alameda*

  1. susan2 May 15, 2009 at #

    I just came out of a workshop where I spent part of the day working with teachers on how to craft assignments and classrooms in which students learn to value respectful dialogue, where complex issues are studied and where students learn to explore diverging views on issues. But sometimes, looking at diverging views respectfully just doesn’t seem appropriate–I can’t believe the lengths to which some people feel entitled to go in order to make trouble for other people. Getting in the way of a program that teaches respect for all? Geez.

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