SACRAMENTO, Calif. (BP)–Homosexual rights activists are looking to the New Year with some eagerness, as one of California’s latest hate violence prevention bills is due to take effect Jan. 1 in the public school systems, according to the Internet news site CNSnews.com.
Assembly Bill 1785, approved by the legislature and governor earlier this year, requires the Department of Education to revise its “state educational curriculum to include human relations education,” according to California state government’s Internet site.
In essence, the legislation mandates each public school to provide students with classes “related to bias, stereotyping, and discrimination” as a condition for receipt of taxpayer funds. As defined in the bill, acts of prejudice include those on the basis of “race, color, religion, ancestry, national origin, disability, gender, or sexual orientation.”
When Gov. Gray Davis signed Assembly Bill 1785, he also approved AB 1931, which went into effect immediately and requires the state’s education department to provide school officials with training in the “identification and determination of hate violence.”
It also calls for the development of a grant program that would allow students and teachers to attend the hate crime prevention courses.
California isn’t the only state focused on teaching tolerance for different ethnic, cultural, and sexual backgrounds and preferences in the public school system; Massachusetts has also encouraged its educators to support such opportunities for students.
In the Bay State, “gay, lesbian, and heterosexual students can become involved in many kinds of activities besides holding meetings,” from “gay pride parades to picnics,” according to a segment of the Massachusetts Department of Education Internet site that outlined the homosexual organization, Gay/Straight Alliances.
“Sponsor a day of diversity,” the education department website suggests. “For example, consider how homophobia and racism impact on the life of an African-American gay man. Examine how stereotyping circumscribes the lives of people of color and homosexuals.”
At Marblehead High School, for instance, the Internet site continued, students hosted “diversity panels” to allow spokespeople representing various racial, religious, and sexual orientations the chance to talk about their experiences and suggest changes to promote equality.
The superintendent at Middleboro High School also presided over such a panel that included the participation of a student, parent, teacher, and member of the Governor’s Commission on Gay and Lesbian Youth.
“Cape Cod Technical High School’s group went to a local community college program on homophobia,” the website continued. “Watertown’s Gay/Straight Alliance went to a Red Sox [baseball] game, and Barnstable High School’s GSA went to a youth day at Cape Cod Community College.”
Seniors, meanwhile, at select Cambridge schools vie for an annual award from that city’s Lavender Alliance, whose members recognize those who have “done the most for the advancement and well-being of gay and lesbian students in their schools.”
Chumley is a staff writer with CNSnews.com. Used by permission.