SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) — Gays, lesbians, bisexuals and transgender people would be added to the lengthy list of social and ethnic groups that public schools must include in social studies lessons under a landmark bill passed Thursday by the California Senate.
If the bill is adopted by the state Assembly and signed by Gov. Jerry Brown, California would become the first state to require the teaching of gay history.
Supporters say the move is needed to counter anti-gay stereotypes and beliefs that make children in those groups vulnerable to bullying and suicide.
Opponents counter that such instruction would further burden an already crowded curriculum and expose students to a subject that some parents find objectionable.
The legislation, sponsored by Democratic Sen. Mark Leno of San Francisco, passed on a 23-14 party line vote. It also would add disabled people to the curriculum.
The bill gives school districts flexibility in deciding what to include in the lessons and at what grades students would receive them.
But starting in the 2013-14 school year, it would prohibit districts and the California Board of Education from using textbooks or other instructional materials that reflect adversely on gay, bisexual and transgender Americans.
Appealing to colleagues for support, Leno said gay children still struggle routinely with verbal and physical abuse at school, even though society is more accepting than when he was a gay youth in the 1960s.
"We are second-class citizens and children are listening," he said. "When they see their teachers don't step up to the plate when their classmate is being harassed literally to death, they are listening and they get the message that there is something wrong with those people."
Republican Sen. Doug La Malfa of Butte opposed the bill.
"I'm deeply troubled kids would have to contemplate at a very, very early age, when many of us are teaching abstinence ... what is sexuality," he said.
California law already requires schools to cover the contributions to the state and nation of women, African Americans, Mexican Americans, entrepreneurs, Asian Americans, European Americans, American Indians and labor.
Copyright 2011 The Associated Press.
A man allegedly barged onto a school bus full of children and pulled a knife on the driver Friday in the southeastern reaches of San Diego County, where the struggle ended with a fast-acting bystander disarming the intruder, police said.
Cathy Clark, who was a force in San Diego news for nearly three decades on three local stations, including CBS News 8, has died.
Millions of Southern Californians will be taking to the roads and airways Friday as the Memorial Day travel crunch goes into high gear, and the large crowds will likely test the patience of motorists and airline passengers.
With Memorial Day weekend signifying summer's unofficial start, San Diego County officials Friday urged beachgoers to use their "Check In Before You Get In'' web application.
Beginning Thursday through July 4, 2018, U.S. veterans and up to three guests may enjoy free admission to SeaWorld San Diego as well as other SeaWorld Parks & Entertainment properties across the country.
Remember the coyote in distress after home video captured the animal with thick plastic around its neck in Rancho Bernardo?
Law enforcement agencies across San Diego County are planning to crack down on drunken driving over the three-day Memorial Day weekend.
A San Diego family is continuing their fight for justice for their son after his accused killer, a twice deported undocumented immigrant, fled to Mexico.
Cooler than normal temperatures continue through Saturday. Marine layer clouds scatter by Friday afternoon, but persist through Saturday.