Recently I’ve seen a lot of debate about how schools should handle issues related to homosexuality.
A lot of people would like to see it not mentioned at all, but I don’t think that is really possible. We must acknowledge the reality that gay students exist. Most high schools have at least a couple out students, and plenty more that will come out in the years after high school. Straight culture gets a lot of attention in schools (what are proms after all?) and homosexual students need a way to participate in these activities, too. The issue of harrasment also comes up. Students need at least some education about homosexuality just so that they don’t believe every myth that they encounter. A lot of sex education is just that- debunking myths. Kids believe a lot of wierd things, and they ought to be set straight, so to speak. Finally, most sex education classes do address the issue of families (ours was usually called "family life’). Now gay families do exist. Some of these students will have gay families in the future. Why should gay families get any less attention than straight families?
I don’t see these as teaching values or politics, I see them teaching realities.
So how should schools address homosexuality. Should it be talked about up front? If you don’t think it should, what should happen if the subject comes up- let’s say a students asks a question about homosexuality in her sex ed class, or a students comes to parents night with two dads and faces a lot of puzzlment from her peers? What about school sponsered functions like proms or “cutest couple” awards? How should harrasment be handled?
I hope this thread doesn’t turn in to a train wreck, which it easily could. I am really searching for some answers and maybe some common ground.