The thing that really upsets me is that in the Massachusetts case (see the video below if you don't know what I'm talking about), the judge ruled that parents can't opt their children out of such instruction. I've been a public school teacher. it horrifies me to think that if I went back to teaching I might be required to teach something I find deeply morally wrong. More than that, it bothers me to think that I'd have no control over what my children were taught. I can think of several things about this case that go completely against the current rules about opting out of things in schools.
- Parents have the right to opt their children out of sex education (at least up to a certain age). If this isn't sex education, I don't know what is.
- Parents of Jehovah's Witnesses children are allowed to ask that their children be automatically opted out of any discussion or celebration of holidays, among other things, despite the frequent disruption this causes in class (the disruption argument is one of the ones used to deny Masachusetts parents the right to opt out).
- Parents can request that their children opt out of ANY given curriculum they find offensive, and most schools comply without question. As a drama teacher, I had my kids do a play about some archaelogists in an Egyptian pyramid. They saw mummies and cats and spiders and snakes and a few of the Egyptian gods. Some of the kids' parents had them opt out because this was "teaching them to worship idols." I thought it was bunk -- I was telling the kids about what the Egyptians believed, and told them that nobody believed it anymore -- it was just their way of explaining the world. And mostly it was just a reason to learn how to put on a play and do some dances. But I had to respect the parents' wishes and send their kids to the library every week for a semester.
These people don't just want to teach about other lifestyles, they want to actively promote them. That's just not acceptable to me. And telling me that this is the one thing I can't opt out of is simply ridiculous.