Sunday, October 30, 2011

"Its Elementary" - Talking About Gay Issues in Schools .

It's Elementary takes cameras into classrooms across the U.S. to look at one of today's most controversial issues - whether and how gay issues should be discussed in schools. It features elementary and middle schools where (mainly heterosexual) teachers are challenging the prevailing political climate and its attempt to censor any dialogue in schools about gay people.
Rather than focusing on the debate between adults, though, the film takes the point of view of the school children, starting as young as first grade. The results are surprising and, as the LA Reader says, "funny, touching, and fascinating." Third graders' jaws drop when they find out some of their favorite celebrities are gay; second graders react to a book about a girl who gets teased because she has two moms; fourth graders say it makes them "feel weird in your stomach" when other kids yell "faggot" on the playground and teachers don't do anything about it; eighth graders fire a barrage of poignant questions to the gay guest speakers who visit their social studies class; third graders passionately debate the current events issue of the day: should gays be allowed to get married? It becomes quite clear that most children are affected by anti-gay prejudice in some way, and that they are very responsive to a curriculum that teaches respect for everyone, including lesbians and gay men.
Former Assistant Secretary of Education, Kevin Jennings, says It's Elementary, with its refreshing child's eye-view of a topic that sends some adult racing to their school boards, "is the most important film dealing with LGBT issues and safe schools ever made."

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