ACLU pressures district to add controversial programs


UPPER LAKE, Calif. — Students in the Upper Lake Union Elementary School District will be subjected to pro-homosexual curriculum, programs and training after the district settled a bullying settlement with the American Civil Liberties Union.

The ACLU contacted the school on behalf of the parents of a 14-year-old boy who was assaulted in a school locker room. During the attack, the students yelled taunts of "fag" and "queer." His parents allege the attacks came after years of verbal abuse in which the school did not intercede.

Officials with the California Family Council said in an on-line update to its readers that it condemns the attack and verbal assaults against the student, but is criticizing the district's decision to adopt an eight-point strategy developed by the ACLU.

The settlement requires the district to implement a weeklong "No Name Calling" curriculum, maintain a Gay/Straight Alliance club at the middle school and implement anti-bullying programs such as the GLSEN National Day of Silence and the Gay/Straight Alliance Network's "Making your School a Hate-Free Zone" program.

In addition, the district will revise parent/student handbooks to include the newly adopted anti-discrimination and anti-harassment policies; appoint a staff member to help employees prevent school-based harassment; provide copies and discuss a National Education Association publication addressing LGBT sensitivity; hold annual school-site training to educate students regarding the harmful effects of discrimination; implement professional development to help staff understand impacts of harassment and discrimination; and teach intervention tools.

"We're pleased the district is taking such a big step in the right direction," ACLU attorney Juniper Lesnik said in a news release. "The lesson for other schools is to address anti-gay harassment early before it escalates to violence."

The district is located in Northern California, north of Santa Rosa.