Because their lives are at stake.
On Tuesday night, at the Board meeting, I heard a lot of talk from opponents of the health curriculum about “agendas.” They were concerned about socialist, fascist, United Nations agendas in the document, but more than anything they worried about the imaginary menace of the “gay agenda.”
As I testified to the Board, I do have an agenda as a teacher: to ensure that my students have the opportunity to be healthy, become educated, and learn to think for themselves. They deserve to feel safe in school and know that their sexual orientation doesn’t diminish their humanity.
Two heartbreaking stories this week, one about a 13 year student who killed himself following taunts from classmates and another about a Rutgers student who committed suicide after roommates secretly recorded and broadcasted a sexual encounter, make it clear that schools play a vital health role for the safety of students. Our schools must confront harassment and violence against students and must work protect the physical and emotional health of children who face very real threats.
It’s time for the critics of the proposed curriculum to start answering questions about their position. Do they really believe we should withhold information that will protect the health of students? Should we deny the fundamental humanity and equality of all kids?
The tragedies of this week make it clear that we must not.