Earlier this week, a large part of San Francisco was stunned, bitter, depressed -- pick your adjective -- when some parents complained about schoolboys taking a field trip to the iconic Castro District. The boys visited Harvey Milk's camera store and stopped by the historic Pink Triangle Memorial Park.
No, they didn't visit any leather shops or adult stores.
We would venture to guess that those same uncomfortable parents aren't going to like this: A Sacramento teacher has published a cutting-edge educational workbook that aims to teach kids about the LGBT community.
The workbook has not yet made it into classrooms, but it very well could if Sen.Mark Leno's (D-San Francisco) Fair Education Act bill, which demands schools start teaching kids about the LGBT community, passes.
Angela Luna, a fourth-grade teacher at Whitney Avenue Elementary School in Sacramento, started on the workbook last year around the time of Harvey Milk Day. She said an activist group asked her to create a curriculum for school that could supplement the Harvey Milk story.
What she came up with was a 28-page workbook, In Celebration of Harvey Milk, which includes a variety of exercises for students in fourth through 12th grades. One exercise features a list of words like "compassion" and "reflection." Kids are then asked to match the words to scenarios listed on the following page.
In another exercise, kids are divided into teams, with the teacher acting as the game-show host and asking questions, such as "What do you think is Harvey Milk's biggest contribution to the United States?" The exercises are tied to state and national standards.
Luna says she piloted her workbook in her classroom last year -- but it wasn't easy. She had to get permission from all the parents before doing it, and eight of them -- out of 22 -- refused to let their kids participate.
Which isn't a bad start, Luna says. "Eventually, it could be very much a part of the school curriculum," she told SF Weekly. "It's an exciting time -- these seeds are being planted, and 20 years from now it will be common."
And so will field trips to the Castro -- maybe.
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