Students share thoughts on LGBT history education bill

Shamaine Ware, Contributing Writer

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The Illinois House of Representatives passed a bill that would require public schools to teach lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) history to school children, grades K-12.

Education majors at Eastern shared their opinions on the new bill.

Madison Ley, a senior majoring in elementary education, said she has seen some things online about the bill, but she did not know the House passed it.

Ley said she is happy to hear that the bill has been passed.

“I love that. I completely support any form of teaching about LGBT,” she said. “My best friend is a part of the community, so any opportunity to spread acceptance and awareness is always a good opportunity for me.”

Ley said she does not think this will negatively affect children in elementary school.

“Children are not born to be racist or homophobic or to discriminate against anyone. That is something that is learned,” she said, “so if we can teach them at a young age to love everyone, then that is the goal.”

Britan Mace, a junior majoring in elementary education, said she has not heard about the new bill at all. Mace said she does not know how to feel about the new bill.

“I think it is a really touchy subject and it could upset a lot of parents,” she said. “It could be very controversial, but so are a lot of things that are taught in school.”

Mace said she believes that teaching children to be kind to one another, regardless of any trait about their character that they cannot control, is important for grade school teachers to do. However, if teachers are required to teach students about LGBT historical figures, the curriculum to give teachers the platform to do so needs to be developed carefully, she said.

“I think it would have to be very well thought out and have a specific curriculum that teachers have to do,” she said. “I would definitely want to teach my students to be kind to everyone and not to be judgmental or rude to anybody, but I do not know the extent I would have to teach LGBT.”

Tricia Blackgreen, a sophomore majoring in middle-level education, said this bill is new to her.

“I actually have not heard about the bill, but I am open to the whole idea because it is apart of our history, so why hide it?” she said. “It is a part of life.”

Blackgreen said she would be okay with teaching it in class, but very religious people might have issues with it.

“I honestly feel like people who are extremely religious would have more problems with it than me,” Blackgreen said.

LGBT people who have contributed to society in the past deserve to be recognized, she said.

“I do not see why we should discriminate against them. It is who they are and how they were born, so why should we ignore that?” Blackgreen said. “Why exclude them from our society when they play a big role in our society?”

Blackgreen also said she does not think teaching grade students about LGBT historical figures would influence the childrens’ sexualities.

“These children are innately born that way, so I think it would teach more understanding and acceptance than it will to influence their sexuality,” Blackgreen said.

Even though the House has passed the bill, the senate still needs to vote on it for any legislation to be carried out.

Shamaine Ware can be reached at 581-2812 [email protected].