Some individuals who came are opposed to changes in the health curriculum for elementary and secondary school students.
Frederick, Md (KM) The chaos that erupted at Tuesday’s Frederick County School System Family Life Advisory Committee meeting was the result of a “couple of bad faith actors who saw a political opportunity to gain points on the backs of children, and children’s education.” That description comes from Kris Fair, the Executive Director of the Frederick Center, an LGBTQ advocacy group.
He attended the meeting, where the Committee was scheduled to discuss new guidelines for health education for elementary and secondary school students, which explain sexual orientation and gender identity. This information could be provided to elementary school kids but the school system says it would be in an age appropriate way. The guidelines come from the state.
Board of Education President Brad Young says the County must adhere to these new guidelines, or risk the possibility of losing state and federal funding. He also says no specifics have been developed as of yet to implement these changes.
Fair says early in the meeting, the Committee took public comment on the guidelines. But when the panel resumed its regular agenda and began discussing these guidelines, the meeting got out of control as protesters “take over the podium, scream into the microphone, yell profanities at members and volunteers and basically began the process of shutting down the entire meeting which got increasingly angry and increasingly violent and threatening,” says Fair.
He says he left the meeting. “I felt that it was no longer safe for the young people that I had brought to the meeting to learn how the democratic process works. I felt it was no longer safe to keep the young people in the room. I took them out,” says Fair.
He said one of those individuals who disrupted the meeting is a candidate for the Board of Education.
The Family Life Advisory Committee adjourned without finishing its agenda.
“You have a couple of bad faith actors who saw this as a political opportunity to gain points on the backs of children, and children’s education,” says Fair. “They saw the opportunity to once again target LGBTQ kids in their own attempt to gain political favor.”
The protesters at the meeting said they have religious objections to requiring their children learn about sexual orientation and gender identity. They also feel these kids were too young to understand.
Fair says we are all different, but part of the same community. “Family comes in a variety of forms. Humans come in a variety of forms. And we as a community that love one another have no right to step in and say ‘this is wrong and this is right,” he says.
By Kevin McManus