Attendees of vigilA substitute teacher said she will quit her job and home-school her children if a resolution that calls for the development of a curriculum to meet the needs of gay and lesbian students is passed by a national association this week.
hope for rejection
of gay curriculum
The NEA proposes to
accommodate gay, lesbian,
bisexual and transgender students
By Rosemarie Bernardo
Ronnie Simao, substitute teacher at Makakilo and Kapolei Elementary Schools, said: "I think it's horrible what might be taking place in our schools.
"I would leave my job if I would have to start teaching such terrible things."
Simao was among dozens of people who attended a candlelight prayer at the Calvary Chapel of Honolulu yesterday afternoon. Members prayed that each Hawaii delegate attending the National Education Association convention in Los Angeles this week will vote against the resolution.
Any resolution approved by the NEA is not binding in Hawaii, said Greg Knudsen, spokesman for the Department of Education. Knudsen said when it comes to policies for public schools, it is the Board of Education that sets them.
Delegates from the Hawaii State Teachers Association and the University of Hawaii Professional Assembly will attend the convention.
Simao said, "I'm hoping that it (the resolution) doesn't go into effect.
"If it comes to the schools where my kids are going to be exposed to that, then I would pull them out and home-school them," said Simao, who has two children attending Kamehameha Schools.
Mike Gabbard, president of Alliance for Traditional Marriage and Values, said: "What's happening is, it's calling for homosexual activity to enter our schools and indoctrinate our keiki with their value system. This is an outrage."
Members of the NEA will be voting on a "New B" resolution. The resolution includes aspects that will require the development of programs in public schools to promote a safe and inclusive environment for gays and lesbians.
Some of the aspects of the resolution include involvement of gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender educators to develop classroom material, recognition of gay people as role models and accurate portrayal of gay people's roles and contributions.
"It promotes homosexuality as a normal and natural lifestyle to our kids," said Gabbard.
Rasika Gleason, who attended the candlelight prayer, said, "Children so young are already going through so much confusion."
Gleason said the idea of developing a lesson plan to meet the needs of gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender students makes her uncomfortable. She said she would prefer education on homosexuality to be left out of public schools.
But Carolyn Golojuch, president of the support group Parents and Friends of Lesbians and Gays, sees the resolution as a positive step.
If the resolution is denied, it would be a real setback, Golojuch said. It would promote bigotry, prejudice and discrimination, she added.
"If the group (NEA) doesn't stand up now, they're saying they acknowledge the fact it exists and they're not going to do anything."
Golojuch said she has been approached by students telling her they would rather skip classes to avoid being harassed by other students.
Having the resolution implemented in public schools will decrease the absentee rate, said Golojuch, a social worker.
UHPA President Alexander Malahoff, who plans to attend the convention Wednesday, said, "I'm for diversity and making sure everybody is taken care of."
Malahoff, will meet with the Hawaii delegation and discuss the resolution in caucus. Each delegate will vote individually on the resolution.