District supports LGBT history bill

The Laguna Beach Unified School District superintendent reacted positively about a new state law requiring the teaching of lesbian, gay and transgendered history.

"History should accurately portray people and events," Supt. Sherine Smith said in a statement to the Coastline Pilot. "Our history is more complete when we recognize the contributions of people from all backgrounds and walks of life."

California is the first state to pass a bill of this kind, according to the Los Angeles Times.

Senate Bill 48, signed by Gov. Jerry Brown on July 14, affects California social studies instruction and will be implemented at Laguna's four school sites.

The bill requires the classes to include the contributions and history of "lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender Americans, persons with disabilities and members of other ethnic and cultural groups, to the economic, political and social development of California and the United States of America, with particular emphasis on portraying the role of these groups in contemporary society."

Assistant Supt. Nancy Hubbell could not say when school textbooks would be updated, but said LGBT history would be incorporated into the curriculum.

Teachers work in department groups and grade-level teams to create common curriculums, she said, and they'll incorporate the topic into that process.

"I anticipate that the county office and state will have some guidelines and source materials," Hubbell said.

Besides providing a broader education, State Sen. Mark Leno (D-San Francisco), who authored the bill, asserted that it will help reduce bullying against gays, according to the Los Angeles Times.

"Denying LGBT people their rightful place in history gives our young people an inaccurate and incomplete view of the world around them," Leno told The Times.

In April, Laguna Beach High School junior Selina Lambert held a National Day of Silence to raise awareness about gay bullying. She handed out duct tape, which students placed on their mouths and wrote phrases such as "No Hate."

"I hope students will understand that this is a problem that happens nationwide," Selina said in a previous story. "Their words and actions have consequences."

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