New Jersey School District to Review Same-Sex Family Video
The Evesham School District of Marlton, New Jersey, eliminated a diversity film from its curriculum in early February after some parents protested its inclusion of same-sex families. (Here’s my original post on the matter, and a follow up, plus an excursus on same-sex families in the classroom.)
The district has now formed a committee of nine PTA parents and a group of teachers that will make a recommendation about the film. According to the Courier-Post, seven schools each provided a volunteer from their PTA executive board, and two schools held random drawings of dues-paying PTA members. The teachers are mostly health and media specialists. The committee could recommend keeping the video as is, moving it to another grade, or removing it from the curriculum.
I hope this is enough to provide a fair review. It’s unclear how the volunteers were chosen or if they were screened for neutrality. If they weren’t, there’s no indication the overall committee was reviewed to make sure it included a variety of views. The school district’s official announcement of the committee simply states:
A Special Review Committee, comprised of PTA parents, teachers and administrators, has been formed and will meet in the upcoming months to examine the video: That’s a Family (in accordance with Board Policy #9130). The committee’s goal will be to make a recommendation regarding the video to the Board of Education by September 2007.
The committee will review the video using an established protocol for evaluating complaints regarding curriculum materials. The committee will also review data collected from parents of third grade students, information gathered through meetings with parents and written correspondence from parents.
All information will be taken into consideration, along with relevant state mandates, content standards expectations, and district policies that govern instructional materials. . . .
Any parents who have not yet provided input regarding the video under review, may do so by submitting comments in writing to their child’s principal, by Friday, March 16, 2007.
One take-away lesson from all this: If you’re a parent with a child in school, join your PTA. Up the odds you’ll have a direct voice should anything similar occur in your district.