During a celebration of National Ally Week, Tara Miller, a teacher at the Faith Ringgold School of Arts and Science in Hayward, Calif., passed out cards produced by the Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education Network to her class of kindergartners.
The cards asked signers to be "an ally" and to pledge to "not use anti-LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender) language or slurs; intervene, when I feel I can, in situations where others are using anti-LGBT language or harassing other students and actively support safer schools efforts."
The school has acknowledged that the exercise was not appropriate for kindergartners.
This story was a gift to those who support Proposition 8, whose opponents claim that Prop 8 will have no impact on schools. Then again, perhaps it won't:
Brad Dacus, president of Pacific Justice Institute, the group representing Voelker (a parent), said parents at the Faith Ringgold School weren't notified of what was going to take place in the classroom.
He said that teaching students as young as pre-school about gay, lesbian and transgender issues is common in California, but that there are "all kinds of material the average parent could find highly objectionable or potentially harmful" to their children. (boldface mine--Darren)
I'm not convinced that there's anything that kindergartners need to learn about homosexuals/homosexuality at school. Even if there were, asking 5-year-olds to sign a pledge strikes me as excessive in all but a very few circumstances.
Now let's leave the issue of kindergarten and move to the cards themselves. I myself am not a big fan of these pledge cards. Yes, I know they're put out by GLSEN, so they're going to be focused on homosexuals, but I'd have much less an issue with them if they discussed discrimination and harassment in general. Tolerance, live-and-let-live, intervening or seeking help when someone is being harassed or threatened--those apply to everyone, not just to homosexuals. Prejudice comes in many forms.