This week in one of my classes, we talked about teaching LGBTQ issues in the classroom. We talked about what aspects should be discussed, what age group was it appropriate to start talking about it, and how should we, as educators; go about addressing their comments, concerns, questions, etc. We watched a short expose on a 4th grade class in New York State doing exactly this. It seemed to me that the children had a firm grasp on the subject; some were a little misinformed, mostly due to misconceptions that were presented to them through the media. Some questions asked where when they weren’t exactly sure about a specific thing.
After class, I thought more about what we learned and what we discussed. The thought that came to my mind was, as educators; where does our responsibility to teach social issues like LGBTQ start and end and where the parent’s responsibility begins and ends? At first I was thinking that this maybe a topic that is more suited for the parents that it is not a topic that would need to be addressed in school, but more responsibility would be placed on the parent. It seemed like I would be going over the parent’s head by teaching their children something that they might not agree with and that maybe something like this should be left to be taught at home.
But then I thought about segregation and racism during the time of Brown v. Board, and how equality for all and desegregation was probably a hot topic then, much like LGBTQ is today. The schools were probably teaching the younger students about race equality and some might have thought that this was a topic that parents should have taught at home.
Then I thought that this thinking of mine was flawed, because if the parents were racist, then they could be teaching their children to be racist, which may lead to the student becoming a racist themselves. If the schools did not teach the children the importance of equality, then change might never happen.
So now I am beginning to see where the line of schools and parents come together. It seems to be a place where the schools can teach a topic in order to bring about more understanding and equality, so that way, if they’re not learning it at home, then at least they are learning it at school.