NEW BEDFORD, Mass. — A special interest curriculum aimed at normalizing homosexuality to youngsters in grades K-5 is quietly moving into its second year in targeted cities nationwide.
This “Welcoming Schools Guide” was devised by the Human Rights Campaign, a powerful Washington, D.C.-based group that advocates for laws to redefine marriage and other issues that affect persons who identify as homosexual, bisexual or “transgender.”
The program began last year in nine public schools: three each in Minneapolis, San Francisco and New Bedford, Mass. According to its website, the Human Rights Campaign plans to implement it in more communities yearly.
The program’s “true intent is to promote the homosexual agenda,” said Austin Nimocks of the Alliance Defense Fund, a religious freedom legal defense group. The Alliance Defense Fund cautioned Minneapolis authorities in March that Welcoming Schools undermines parental rights, endangers children’s emotional and physical safety, and is a legal minefield.
Its lessons on “family diversity,” “gender stereotyping” and name-calling are integrated across the curriculum so its social re-engineering goals connect to English, history, social studies and health. Because it is intercurricular, it has bypassed regular curriculum review, said Chuck Darrell of the Minnesota Family Council.
The diversity section has children in grades 3-5 “act out” being members of nontraditional families, including families headed by same-sex couples. Its stereotyping portion recommends books like “Sissy Duckling” and “King and King,” in which two princes marry. “Transgender,” “queer” and “dyke” are among its vocabulary definitions.
“This curriculum is a Trojan horse to indoctrinate our children with a false and harmful anthropology,” said Father Roger Landry, pastor of St. Anthony of Padua Parish in New Bedford. “Under the guise of stopping bullying, its real objective is to program kids to think that no family structure is better than another, that there’s no real importance to having a married mother and father, and that grandma is mistaken when she says that people of the same sex cannot or should not marry.”
New Bedford parents were told the program “was developed at the request of parents and educators.” However, it wasn’t developed at the request of local parents. Welcoming Schools started in 2004 when Greater Boston PFLAG (Parents, Families and Friends of Lesbians and Gays) began compiling the guide and the Human Rights Campaign later partnered with that group, according to Bay Windows, “New England’s largest GLBT newspaper.”
Minneapolis parent Arbuc Flomo called it a “biased curriculum [that] omits the needs of families of faith.” Speaking for a coalition of concerned parents at a public forum, he maintained that it robs parents of the right to educate their youngsters about human sexuality in the context of their moral values.
For example, Catholic teaching on human sexuality states that all people deserve equal dignity and respect, but does not condone same-sex acts.
So far there’s been less spotlight in New Bedford, where the Human Rights Campaign is paying for liaison Kim Westheimer to implement the curriculum over three years. Whether it will continue after that is “a local decision,” said Westheimer, who wrote a how-to book on getting “gay-straight alliances” into schools.
New Bedford assistant superintendent of equity and diversity Fred Fuentes said, “We have not had any real parent concerns.”
No problems were likewise reported in the San Francisco Unified School District, according to Kevin Gogin, who oversees the program as director of support services for youth who see themselves as homosexual.
Said one Massachusetts Catholic mother: “It is indoctrination, but parents are afraid to take a stand because they fear a backlash.”
Rick Fitzgibbons, a psychiatrist who specializes in treating same-sex attraction disorder, warned that educators who present the idea that homosexuality is as normal as heterosexuality could be vulnerable to litigation if they fail to also explain its serious health risks.
By contrast, children who are at risk for same-sex attraction could be helped by supportive psychological and spiritual counseling, said Fitzgibbons.
“Publicity and parental concerns forced the program to go back through committee review here,” noted Katherine Kersten, a columnist for the Minneapolis Star-Tribune. That committee recommended deleting portions of the curriculum and adding the definition of a traditional family.
The Human Rights Campaign wants to drop the words “mother” and “father” on all school forms and correspondence, replacing them with “parent/guardian.”
But children of same-gender couples still feel the loss of being purposely motherless or fatherless, added Dale O’Leary, author and speaker on gender disorder.
“They must pretend,” she said. “The promoters of ‘diversity’ are demanding that we join in the pretense — that we also betray these children.”
Chuck Darrell of the Minnesota Family Council said that teachers have told him they’re afraid to object.
“People have to get over the fear of being called a ‘hater,’” he said. “Say, ‘Do you mean I can’t love people if I disagree with their sexual behavior? By calling me a hater, you’re bullying me.’”
Said Darrell, “This program undermines parental authority, includes anti-Christian sections and affirms an unhealthy behavior. Go public. Make officials produce figures on bullying and show the paper trail of how the heck this program got in.”
Gail Besse is based in Boston.
A blog has been set up to examine the “Welcoming Schools Guide”: http://WelcomingSchools.Blogspot.com