Illinois Senate votes to teach LGBT history in school - KFVS12 News & Weather Cape Girardeau, Carbondale, Poplar Bluff

Illinois Senate votes to teach LGBT history in school

(Source: Pixabay) (Source: Pixabay)
ILLINOIS (KFVS/AP) -

A controversial bill is making its way through the Illinois legislature. It would allow LGBT history to be taught in public schools. 

The Senate voted 34-18 on Wednesday, May 2, 2018, on the plan by Chicago Democratic Sen. Heather Steans.

The measure would requires schools to teach a unit on the contributions and history of individuals in the LGBT community, and that potential move has parents like Carol Rexroad speaking out on both sides.

Rexroad is a father and grandfather that lives in Carbondale. He believes having LGBT history taught in state schools is a good idea. He said, "It's part of our life today and as long as the teaching is fair and accurate I have no problem with whatsoever."

Rexroad explained how people are just people and how he believes the inclusive schools are beneficial for students in the long run. "Both of my kids grew up right here in Carbondale and went to Elementary and High School and I think that the diversity of their schools actually broaden their experience, so hopefully teaching some history that has always been here will help the next generation of kids." 

However, there are other parents completely against it.

Dr. McIntyre said the school's goal is to make sure every child feels welcomed in their community. "We want everyone to be successful in the classroom and we want everyone's history told and represented accurately in the classroom."

Rexroad concluded, "It doesn't matter what race, gender, religion you are…you have those strengths and we all have weaknesses too…if you can get to know people individually, hopefully it can broaden your acceptance of the group of people."

Senator Steans said it is consistent with state law that already requires students learn the history of races or ethnicities like blacks, Asians, Hungarians, and French people.

California is the only state with an LGBT education law. It was enacted in 2017.

Republican Sen. Chuck Weaver of Peoria says the initiative could infringe on religious freedom. Other Republicans say schools would maintain control over how the topic is taught.

The legislation goes to the House. If they approve it, then Governor Bruce Rauner has 60 days for his decision. 

The bill is SB3249. 

Copyright 2018 KFVS. All rights reserved. The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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