Parents Upset Over Lessons on LGBT Tolerance at East Bay Middle School

Some parents have launched a petition and are threatening a student walkout

Videos that were going to be used during a middle school event called "Appreciation Week," which highlights LGBT issues have since been pulled by educators.

The decision comes after parents at Windemere Ranch Middle School in San Ramon launched a petition seeking to have the lessons limited to one day. Several parents call the material inappropriate or insensitive to "those with religious, cultural and personal convictions not in agreement or acceptance with the promotional campaign."

Parents are also threatening a student walkout April 11, the day lessons are set to begin, if changes are not made.

"We're going to boycott school for the week," parent John Rocha said. "We'll pull our children out of school for the whole week and we'll deal with it that way."

On Friday, 30 people attended a closed meeting with the San Ramon Unified School District's superintendent to voice concerns over the week-long event. One of the issues discussed are videos that were planned to be shown to students.

Windemere Ranch Middle School's principal has agreed to cut images of kissing and intimate moments. Students are also able to opt out of the event, school officials said.

"When you opt out, the kids feel the repercussions of that," parent Trisha Baer said. "They're not wearing the shirt. They're not wearing the pin. They're saying they believe something different."

A student leadership group created the curriculum. Eighth grader Shristi Anand said students support it and are not phased by the videos.

"What's the problem with it? It's human nature. You can't stop anything," Anand said.

And some parents agree.

"Things have changed a lot and this is the time they need to learn about it," parent Arumugam Appaeurai said.  "There's no way. It cannot be a secret anymore."

The school district said the superintendent has reviewed the videos and curriculum. He said it is all based on education, respect and acceptance. The school also plans to move forward with Acceptance Week.

Parents said they will continue to try and change their minds through spring break, which is next week.

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