Glenoaks Elementary School in Glendale, California recently faced protests from parents over a planned “Pride Day,” an event meant to educate students about LGBTQ+ activists and encourage support for the LGBTQ+ community. A considerable number of parents objected to the event, resulting in a notable decrease in student attendance, with an estimated 60% of students absent on the day. Many parents voiced their concerns about the school’s approach to such sensitive subjects, arguing for transparency about what was being taught to their children and expressing their disagreement with the event’s principles.
In the midst of this controversy, Antifa, a Southern California group known for its confrontational tactics, together with Democrat congressional candidate George Pudlo, publicly called these parental protests an act of “hate groups” aiming to silence LGBTQIA+ voices. Pudlo, a drag queen also known as “Maebe A. Girl,” previously served on Los Angeles’ Silver Lake Neighborhood Council. Both parties urged fellow progressives to show support for the Pride Day by attending the Glendale school board meeting.
The controversy over Pride Day at Glenoaks Elementary is part of a broader issue surrounding the approach to LGBTQ+ education in the Glendale school district. There are allegations that the school district is promoting LGBTQ+ programs and activities too aggressively, causing tension among some parents. For instance, a local teacher, Lisa Avery, conducts training on starting “Baby Gender Sexuality Alliance” clubs in elementary schools for the California Teachers Association, one of the state’s largest teachers unions.
Further controversy involves the district’s sex education curriculum for middle schools, which encourages students to separate their “gender identity” from their “sexual orientation” and their “biological sex.” Available resources include books that encourage children to explore different gender identities. Some parents also allege that the district allows children of different genders to share locker rooms, a claim that has sparked further dissent.
In response to these allegations, Glendale school district released an Instagram post and public statement, titled “Get the Facts,” which characterizes the circulating information about its “LGBTQIA+ curriculum” as disinformation. However, the statement does not specifically address the parents’ concerns about the curriculum, emails, and photos. Instead, the district cites several California state laws on nondiscrimination and asserts a commitment to addressing what they term as “disinformation,” but without directly confronting or refuting the claims made by parents or other media outlets.