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Founder of San Juan Hills' Gay-Straight Alliance Applauds New Bill to Change Curriculum

The Fair, Accurate, Inclusive, and Respectful Education Act requires social science classes to highlight the contributions of the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community.

The founder of the Gay-Straight Alliance Club said he is thrilled that Gov. Jerry Brown recently signed new legislation that requires social science classes to include the roles that gay, lesbian, bisexuals and transgender people have played in history.

“This law is very important because a lot of the time students at school only see stereotypes of LGBT people, from a variety of different sources—particularly in the media—and this law would give them another perspective by showing the contributions that LGBT people have made in history,” said senior Benji Delgadillo.

In turn, such awareness should reduce bullying and harassment of LGBT students and “improve the school climate as a whole,” he said.

In April, Delgadillo traveled to Sacramento to testify on behalf of the Fair, Accurate, Inclusive, and Respectful (FAIR) Education Act, which not only requires the teaching of contributions of the LGBT community, but also the disabled and people of other cultural groups.

In a blog about the trip, Delgadillo said his junior history book did include information about the 1960s' Stonewall Riots, considered to be the first public protest that marked the start of the gay-rights movement. But he had heard from other students that her teacher never discussed the riots with previous classes. So he asked why.

“By not hearing about LGBT history, a whole group of people that I identify with was being discounted,” he wrote about the teacher he did not identify. Delgadillo said he spoke to several teachers on campus.

“I explained that if he took the initiative to teach about LGBT history in the classroom, it would show students another side of LGBT people. … This would in turn change the school climate to be a more safe and inclusive space for all students and reduce bullying,” he wrote in his blog.

Delgadillo said his teacher responded positively and changed a PowerPoint presentation to include information about the Stonewall riots and the gay-liberation movement. “I had never smiled so much during a lesson in school. It made me so happy that I had the support of my teacher.”

San Juan Hills High AP history teacher Joe Snedeker said because teachers are on summer break until a week before school starts in September, there’s been no discussion on how to incorporate the bill’s objectives into the curriculum. He said he expects administrators to be working on the issue.

CUSD staffers, however, did not respond to a reporter’s questions about the bill.

“I do believe the textbooks will need updating,” Delgadillo told Patch. “And they actually will be updated to include LGBT history in a few years with the new cycle of updating textbooks. 

Meanwhile, conservative groups decried the bill’s signing.  

“Thousands of Californians—and citizens nationwide—contacted the governor, asking him not to place decisions regarding age-appropriateness of content outside the awareness of parents and not to open impressionable, young children to lessons crafted only to advance a pro-homosexual worldview,” wrote the California Family Council of Riverside, which has ties to Christian-based Focus on the Family

CFC challenged Brown’s assertion that “history should be honest” by rhetorically asking: “[I]s it honest to delve into the background of those who have shaped our history and single out those with a pro-homosexual worldview?”

Correction/Clarification: Delgadillo is an openly transgender student who identifies as male and uses male pronouns.

Elsa July 19, 2011 at 10:08 PM
no comment.
Daniel July 19, 2011 at 11:19 PM
I believe your reporter used the incorrect pronouns...
Alberto Barrera July 19, 2011 at 11:22 PM
It is my opinion that lgbt history is of the same importance to the total human experience as Arnold Schwarzenegger's affair. I am shocked that more importance is being placed on lgbt history than the conflict in Darfur, not once have I heard anyone talk about it in any of my history classes.
CE July 20, 2011 at 12:12 AM
Penny, commenter Daniel is correct. Benji Delgadillo is male. http://www.gsanetwork.org/news/blog/making-school-fair-one-class-time/04/25/11 http://www.gsanetwork.org/about-us/board
Judith Anderson July 20, 2011 at 05:07 PM
Alberto, remember this online news agency reports on HYPER-LOCAL news, and true, human sexuality has many real expressions as you pointed to in both LGBT history and local HS actions and school district policy, as well as the ex gov's lifelong sexual habits. Darfur is definitely of global AND therefore local importance. Have you written the LA TIMES, NY TIMES, OC REGISTER, or others broader news agencies to report more?
pjd July 20, 2011 at 06:18 PM
I have written the Governor strongly objecting to Sodomy being included, favorably or not, in school curriculum. No type of deviant behavior should be glorified. It would be best for anyone attracted to the same sex to have industrial-sized hormone therapy that agrees with the plumbing God gave him/her. Anyone convinced he/she was born a deviant should avail oneself of gene therapy. Having tantrums and forcing oneself on other's is selfish and wrong.
Penny Arévalo July 20, 2011 at 06:47 PM
Corrected with an apology. In Benji's own words: "I am an openly transgender student who identifies as male and uses male pronouns."
shelly July 20, 2011 at 08:19 PM
pjd, Homosexuality is not a choice and it is not deviant or wrong. It is simply how God made people. Heterosexual, homosexual, transgender is how God made people. I realize I am responding to a comment that may have been written to inflame but who exactly is throwing tantrums and forcing oneself on others? What does that have to do with anything? Benji is an intelligent kid/young adult who is speaking out for everyone.
CE July 20, 2011 at 10:11 PM
pjd, this legislation will not cause sodomy to be included in the curriculum. BTW, the number of straight couples who practice sodomy is larger than the number of gay couples who do.
CE July 20, 2011 at 10:11 PM
Thanks for the correction, Penny!
Dusty w Otero July 21, 2011 at 04:22 AM
ok come ..on sodomy being in the curriculum..C E is right straight people or a gay person who happens to maybe be in a different body and thinks he is a woman and the woman thinks he is a man if they want wach other...Big Deal its 2011..God shines its light I didnt say his light..or a Buddah light all the grear sages in the Planet we call Earth,,Give ther LIGHT TO ALL HUMANS.. stop and smell the roses ..thank you
Capo mom July 21, 2011 at 10:38 PM
If you have a problem with gays, blame straight couples. They are the ones that keep having gay children. I disagree with this legislation however. I don't think the sexual preference of most historical figures can be accurately discussed. Nor is it relevant.
Marsha July 22, 2011 at 06:59 AM
I agree with the idea behind this Bill, but, I believe schools need to focus on the basics first, reading, writing and arithmetic. Schools everywhere are strapped for funds, the purchasing of new training material just to meet the requirements of this Bill would be silly. I do believe that new training material should include the contributions made by the LGBT community, then when schools need to acquire, new or more training material, for whatever reason, it would be included.
shelly July 22, 2011 at 02:14 PM
By teaching the contributions of LGBT citizens in social science you are also teaching tolerance which our society needs to learn. There is way too much bullying and harrassment of LGBT citizens. We teach about the contributions of different ethnicities and women now but that was not always the case. When I went to K-12 the curriculum for social science was taught only from a European perspective as if the rest of the people of the world did not exist or only existed in their colonial relationships with Europeans or European descendants. Education helps to teach tolerance and end prejudice. The sooner the better for this inclusive material.
Kim McCarthy July 25, 2011 at 03:57 PM
Dear Gov. Brown...shouldn't you be working on the debt crisis isn't CA bancrupt? Has anyone told you how many kids in CA are flunking English and Math and can't speak the native languange of the country they are residing in...America? Have you checked into the drop-out rate? How about the escalating numbers of teen pregnancys--since your welfare W.I.C. program gives them a choice of choosing having unwanted babies on the backs of the government as a career of choice. LGBT citizens? This obsession of dividing people by how or whom they want to have sex with or what gender they identifiy with? Stop dividing people in categories by skin color, sexual preferences, religion, etc... there is no point to it! I support LGBT choices...I think they should be treated no differently than anyone else! Marriage--insurance etc. should be their right as individuals. Leave it out of the classroom...start teaching reading , writing, arithmetic, ENGLISH (shouldn't take maore than a few months for a child to grasp the language of the country they are living in.)
CE July 25, 2011 at 04:03 PM
Dear Kim McCarthy... don't you know the Governor had nothing to do with this bill other than signing it?
Kim McCarthy July 25, 2011 at 04:09 PM
CE: Oh excuse me, I thought the Governor was the LEADER of the state not the signer of whatever is put before him. Consider commenting on the content of the article rather than my comments--it would be a better use of your time.
CE July 26, 2011 at 04:09 AM
Umm, in case you hadn't noticed, I did already comment on the article. Is there some rule against commenting on the comments?
shelly July 26, 2011 at 06:44 AM
Dear Gov. Brown, Thank you for signing this legislation that includes information about the contributions of LGBT citizens in Social Science. Since many elementary, middle and high school students know how to read, write and do arithmatic other classes are necessary to educate our youth and help prepare them for college and their lives. Thank you Gov. Brown for signing legislation that helps move us forward and end discrimination. Education helps.
shelly July 26, 2011 at 06:53 AM
Kim McCarthy, "How about the escalating numbers of teen pregnancys--since your welfare W.I.C. program gives them a choice of choosing having unwanted babies on the backs of the government as a career of choice. LGBT citizens?" What? Teen pregnancy in California has dropped. http://latimesblogs.latimes.com/lanow/2011/02/teen-pregnancy-record-low-rate-california-.html
smoothpuss2 July 26, 2011 at 07:05 AM
CE, don't you work for the City of SJC?
shelly July 26, 2011 at 01:43 PM
Dear Gov. Brown, Thank you for not being the emperor of California but the Governor, and thank you for doing your job and allowing the legislature to do theirs. Thanks goodness we have a government of checks and balances and do not have a government where one branch has all the power because that would be a dictatorship.
CE July 26, 2011 at 03:25 PM
Facts are terribly inconvenient, Shelly.
Kim McCarthy July 26, 2011 at 03:31 PM
"Nothing in all the world is more dangerous than sincere ignorance and conscientious stupidity." MARTIN LUTHER KING, Jr.
Student July 26, 2011 at 04:41 PM
Thanks, Kim, for clearing that up!
shelly July 26, 2011 at 05:39 PM
Thanks goodness for this new legislation to move us beyond ignorance. Great quote Kim.
Ryoma Meeiz January 19, 2013 at 02:26 AM
I can't tell if that comment about straight couples is over-exaggeration or a real comment. Anyway, at times the sexual preference of historical figures could be relevant, and in those cases a quick mention of it being one of their influences for doing things is teaching facts for the students to learn.
Ryoma Meeiz January 19, 2013 at 02:28 AM
Sounds as if even the student is advocating for it to be in the next scheduled batch of books, so you will just have to hope that is how those responsible for enforcing this law will view it as well.

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