Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Teaching Diversity in the Schools – Dispute Continues

The dispute over the notion of teaching about family diversity in the public schools continued December 5 before a three-judge panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the First Circuit. Parents David and Tonia Parker and Robert and Robin Wirthlin have appealed the earlier dismissal of their suit against the Town of Lexington and the Lexington school system over the inclusion of three books – Who’s in a Family, Molly’s Family, and King and King – in a Lexington elementary school’s diversity curriculum. The books, which the town of Lexington states were a part of its policy of teaching about diversity, include representations of families headed by same-sex couples. (See our earlier post on this case).

GLAD’s position - argued in an amicus brief submitted in support of the town and school system - is that Lexington was correct in including age-appropriate material depicting the growing diversity of American families. Because public schools are responsible for teaching values essential to a democratic society, the use of materials depicting diverse families – including gay and lesbian-headed families - is entirely proper.

Not surprisingly, interest in this case is high, as evidenced by the spectators who packed the courtroom and the very active and engaged judges, who requested that both sides provide further information on key issues raised.
GLAD is watching the case closely, and will be assisting counsel for Lexington in replying to the additional questions raised by the Court.

We commend the town and school system of Lexington for remaining committed to a diversity curriculum throughout this challenge, and hope that the First Circuit will ultimately affirm Judge Wolf’s thoughtful decision in his initial dismissal of the parents’ suit.

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