I saw the following story today and was amazed at the incredible level of irresponsibility and thoughtlessness demonstrated by the adults in the story (the young man's mother and teacher). Regardless of what one thinks about the same sex marriage legal question or homosexual behavior generally surely we can agree that an 8-yr old is in no position to be making a decision that he is gay.
A brief synopsis of the story is that a parent of a supposedly gay 8-yr old second grade son was happy when his teacher placed 1970s assassinated gay activist Harvey Milk on a list of possible topics for a civil rights lesson so that the young man might (with self-esteem intact) write and report on him.
“On this day in a second-grade classroom in the Midwest, Harvey Milk was on the same stage as Frederick Douglass, Sojourner Truth and Elizabeth Cady Stanton as an 8-year-old gay boy who has never seen the need for a closet told Milk's story.....”
Respectfully (and completely independent of the equally valid issue of the age-appropriateness and portrayal of a murdered gay activist within a second grade class assignment and discussion) I ask the following questions:
1) What exactly would make an 8-year old boy conclude and announce that he is gay?
2) What evidence would exist to support this position?
3) How does he, at such an early age, even really know what 'being gay' means?
4) Why would such issues and questions (about what must be sexual attractions as an adult years in his future) even come up in such a young mind?
5) How would such a sequence of events happen without environmental (ie parental) influence and encouragement?
6) And lastly, what other pronouncement from such a child would be accepted without hesitation and with such gravity that the class school lessons are manipulated in order to incorporate it? The child could, just as well, announce that he is Superman and will now leap off the roof and fly, or that there is a monster under the bed, or that big trucks on the interstate highway will simply change lanes and crush your car – and NONE of these statements would be supported and encouraged by anyone (especially not his parents).
Yet it is the parent and the teacher in this story that are validating (without any reasonable basis) what to them is somehow politically correct behavior in this child. In addition, is the story and lifestyle of Harvey Milk a topic that other parents would deem acceptable for presenting to their second grade children? This teacher apparently doesn't appreciate her responsibilities or simply cares more about promoting an agenda.
The apparent willingness of the involved adults to advocate for their apparent political agendas using (and putting at risk) the lives and future well-being of children is an indefensible and irresponsible practice. Such use of children as props and foils for promoting political positions is nothing more than indoctrination and certainly has no place in the classroom.