In the fall, Massachusetts schools will be able to try out groundbreaking new lessons on health, history and English from LGBTQ viewpoints, the Boston Herald reported Monday.
The new curriculum will be released this summer, and Boston high schools will be among the first to use it, according to the Herald.
Individual lessons will cover subjects such as the Stonewall uprising ― the 1969 clash between gay bar patrons and New York City police often cited as the beginning of the gay rights movement ― and works by LGBTQ authors such as Langston Hughes, a representative for the Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education told HuffPost.
“These units are an important way of affirming LGBTQ individuals’ presence and contributions, and we are grateful to the Massachusetts educators who developed them,” the department said in a statement. Educators from the Massachusetts Safe Schools Program for LGBTQ Students and the Massachusetts Commission on LGBTQ Youth teamed up to develop the lesson plans.
No public school will be required to use the material, as curricular decisions are made by individual school districts in the state. But proponents hope schools will embrace the resource.
“If students don’t see themselves in the curriculum, they are not as likely to pay attention,” Corey Prachniak-Rincon, who directs the Massachusetts Commission on LGBTQ Youth, told the Herald. “It is a huge demand we hear from teachers. They recognize part of the reason why LGBTQ students feel excluded is they’re not reflected and that part of their identity is ignored.”
The commission was created in 1992 to work with all levels of state government in response to “an epidemic” of LGBTQ youth suicides. It was followed the next year by the Safe Schools Program, which focuses on implementing state anti-bullying and anti-discrimination laws.
Enrollment in Massachusetts public schools is nearly 1 million, according to most recent available figures.