By Illinois Radio Network/Benjamin Yount
SPRINGFIELD – A plan to require LGBT lessons in Illinois schools is moving forward at the Capitol.
The Illinois Senate will next vote on a plan to require some new textbooks in public schools in the state include lessons on LGBT contributions.
The Illinois House just approved the plan.
State Rep Rep. Anna Moeller said it’s important for LGBT students to know they are not alone.
“By deliberately excluding, or even inadvertently leaving out the history of LGBT history contributions, our schools send the message that LGBT students don’t belong and aren’t valued,” Moeller said on the House floor.
Moeller’s plan would have teachers from kindergarten through high school teach about LGBT history.
State Rep. Tom Morrison said those lessons may go too far.
“How or why is a historical figure’s sexuality or gender self-identification even relevant? Especially when we’re talking about kindergarten or elementary school history,” Morrison said. “Furthermore, there’s no parental opt-out or parental notification so that parents can know if, when, or how to talk about these topics with their children.”
Moeller’s lesson requirement is tied to a mandate that all new textbooks be inclusive. But that requirement only applies to new books paid for with state textbook grant dollars.
School districts that spend local money on textbooks get to decide what those books cover.