Email Over LGBT School Curriculum Sparks Debate In Conejo Valley

THOUSAND OAKS (CBSLA.com) — An email sent by a local school board president is at the center of a debate over how much kids should learn about the LGBT community in public schools.

Parents are weighing in on both sides of the issue.

“We can talk about those people without talking about that aspect of their life,” said Ashley Huizenga, a mother of four.

Conejo Valley Unified School Board President Mike Dunn was responding to a parent questioning his perceived hesitation regarding the FAIR act. It’s a state law that compels public schools to teach the contributions of people with disabilities and those within the LGBT community. Dunn responded by writing, in part:

“If I ignore my Christian beliefs, what happens to my soul when I die? … Where I spend eternity is far more important to me than being a school board trustee.”

Jess Weihe is a mother and a blogger, who lives in Thousand Oaks. She posted the email from Dunn to her “anonymous mommy” Facebook page.

“I respect everybody’s right to have their own faith and morals and to teach their kids what they feel is appropriate, but I do think religion and education should be separate.”

Board member Betsy Connelly addressed the controversy on her Facebook page. Telling her followers that the district shouldn’t ignore nontraditional families in educating elementary school children, she wrote:

“If we only tell the typical story, where does that leave the 7-year-old who has two dads or whose mom is a firefighter or dad is a nurse or in a wheelchair? I think it leaves them feeling at best invisible, at worst, shamed.”

Huizenga thinks Dunn’s email has been blown out of proportion.

“I don’t believe he imposed God on anyone,” she said. “What he has done is just said ‘I am led by my faith and that makes my decisions.’ ”

CBS2’s Kristine Lazar reached out to Dunn by email, phone and knocked on his door, but he hasn’t responded.

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