CARMICHAEL, California — The San Juan Unified School District governing board will make its decision Tuesday night to adopt a new LGBTQ-inclusive curriculum, joining several local districts that have made similar changes this year.
The board will vote on a recommended curriculum with new textbooks that will include lessons about the LGBTQ community. The new recommended curriculum comes under the FAIR Education Act (Fair, Accurate, Inclusive, and Respectful Education), which is a state law that took effect in 2012. It requires schools to reference contributions by people with disabilities and members of the LGBTQ community.
“Students are grappling with big questions and looking at historical documents to come up with their own conclusions of history,” said Nicole Kukral, a program specialist with the SJUSD. The new curriculum, according to Kukral, not only meets the state’s requirements, “but also a wider variety of students will be able to see themselves and their family in this curriculum.”
The district also expects the proposed curriculum to get more students interested about history and social science, Kukral said.
Although many parents who support the proposed curriculum, there are many who oppose it. The group Concerned Citizens of San Juan Unified District has collected nearly 3,000 signatures in opposition. They say the material introduces sexual topics at a young age.
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District officials said they understand the frustration and confusion from parents. “They feel their rights as parents are being infringed upon by the school, making the talk about topics that are uncomfortable at home and we understand that,” Kukral said.
If the board approves the new curriculum, the new books will roll out in the beginning of the next school year. If it doesn’t, the district says teachers are required to implement the fair act into their instruction.
“Teachers will be needing to find materials on their own to actually meet those recommendations, guidelines and requirements from the state,” Kukral said. The district says it would make things a little less streamlined, organic and less smooth.
Ahead of Tuesday night’s decision, the district has provided parents with a link that shows the curriculum that is being recommended for adoption and the textbooks that would be used for all K-8 social science and history students.
Tuesday night’s board meeting is schedules at 6:30 p.m. at the district’s headquarters at 3738 Walnut Avenue, Carmichael, CA 95608.
Other districts in the area, such as the Deer Creek Joint Elementary School District and the Elk Grove Unified School District, have already approved new LGBTQ-inclusive curriculum.
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