By Corinne Murdock |
The Phoenix chapter of a national activist group attempting to implement more LGBTQ and social justice-oriented curriculum in K-12 schools, Gay Lesbian and Straight Education Network (GLSEN), urged teachers to introduce controversial materials “under the radar” by incorporating them to personal classroom libraries. Even if teachers were caught, they were advised to just continue with their efforts after apologizing.
The advice came from a featured guest speaker and fellow activist who identified himself only as “Rex,” a high school teacher for over 16 years and co-sponsor of a high school GSA which he and his students call by an alternative name: “Student Alliance For Equality,” or “S.A.F.E.” club.
“It’s not hard and you [teachers] can do it. I guess I want to say you can do it under the radar without drawing attention to yourself. I would encourage you to try. If you get slapped down, you get slapped down, and you apologize and you move forward,” said the teacher. “It can be done. You need to be ready for some pushback. But I submit to you that the kids are ready, they’re willing and they’re open. It’s the adults that are struggling and stiff-arming and passing all the laws.”
The teacher went on to give a presentation on incorporating “inclusive curriculum” into K-12 classrooms alongside GLSEN Phoenix board member Andi Young. In addition to her activism, Young is seeking a master’s degree in social work from Arizona State University (ASU).
The Protect Arizona Children Coalition (PACC) first discovered this admission from GLSEN Phoenix. PACC President Lisa Fink told AZ Free News that their mission is to stop the push for Comprehensive Sexuality Education (CSE) in K-12 schools.
GLSEN Phoenix’s advice to teachers came about a month after its co-founder and National Board Member, Dr. Madelaine Adelman, informed teachers and community members that their organization is attempting to become a statewide presence — “GLSEN Arizona.” Adelman alluded that GLSEN would venture into lobbying by establishing a presence in areas like the state capitol.
Adelman, an ASU associate professor of justice and social inquiry, expressed confidence in GLSEN Phoenix’s ability to grow into a statewide organization, citing their working relationship with the Arizona Department of Education (ADE) and the Arizona School Boards Association (ASBA).
“We already have a relationship with the Arizona Department of Education. We’re part of their task forces,” said . “We have a relationship with the Arizona School Boards Association and we work in coalition with them on different kinds of issues.”
ADE cites GLSEN heavily as a key reference for a variety of needs: student assistance, school or district policymaking, professional development, and parent training.
ASBA has featured GLSEN as an educator for its members — in 2019, GLSEN presented its research on the state of LGBTQ student experiences in K-12 schools during an ASBA series on equity. On Phoenix Children’s Hospital’s Gender Support page, GLSEN and ASBA are listed side by side as educational resources.
Corinne Murdock is a reporter for AZ Free News. Follow her latest on Twitter, or email tips to firstname.lastname@example.org.