At last month’s school board meeting of the Erie Community Unit School District in Illinois, the superintendent and school board banned elementary school resources that teach respect for all families and address anti-gay name-calling.
The ban includes "The Family Book" by Todd Parr and any materials associated with the Gay, Lesbian & Straight Education Network (GLSEN). That includes GLSEN materials about an effective and widely used bullying prevention program “No Name-Calling Week,” which is endorsed by more than 50 national education and youth organizations such as the National School Boards Association and Big Brothers Big Sisters of America; and “Ready, Set, Respect!” which consists of lesson plans created in partnership with the National Association of Elementary School Principals and the National Association for the Education of Young Children.
These well-respected, age-appropriate, and effective resources are used in thousands of schools across the country. In fact, a district-appointed committee in Erie made up of parents, educators and community members unanimously supported the GLSEN materials and a majority supported "The Family Book."
There has been an outcry of support for all of the banned materials, with more than 100 Erie parents signing a petition to call for the reversal of the ban. But the superintendent and school board president refuse to reconsider their decision to ban these resources. We need your voice to change that.
You can help us urge the Erie, Illinois school district to put the health and safety of their students ahead of the extreme personal views of a handful of people. No child is too young to learn respect for all families or to understand how anti-gay language hurts everybody.
Please speak out against the banning of these valuable resources, and call on the Erie Community School District to affirm the value of all the families and students in their community. Together we can ensure that all families and students are respected at Erie schools.