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November 28, 2021

SVUSD Recognizes October as LGBTQ+ History Month

On Tuesday, at its regularly scheduled meeting, the Scotts Valley Unified School District lauded the accomplishments of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer (LGBTQ+) people throughout history and encouraged schools to recognize October as LGBTQ+ History Month.

Resolution 22-007, which was approved unanimously, noted in 2003 that the federal Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals (in a case brought by Santa Clara County students), ruled school districts were responsible for maintaining safe school environments—and for equitable enforcement of nondiscrimination policies.

“Many of you know that throughout the county and the state boards are adopting resolutions in October supporting LGBTQ+ History month, and SVUSD also chooses to bring forward this resolution,” said Superintendent Tanya Krause. “I won’t be reading it to all of you, but it is in your board book.”

Trustee Michael Shulman, who serves as vice president on the board, said he found it “quite fascinating” that the resolution’s oldest historical point of significance is from the 1960s.

“It occurred to me, you know, there were LGBT people throughout history—going back centuries, millennia—and we’re never going to get a full reckoning of their contributions because they—for the most part—kept their status hidden,” he said.

However, Shulman said he’s happy the board could take this step.

“It’s nice; I’m pleased we can acknowledge the history here,” he said. “But it’s such a short history: from the ’60s forward. And there’s clearly something missing to that. I just found that was interesting. This history we have is so short.”

The resolution mentions Harvey Milk, who was the first openly gay elected official in the history of California, the Fair, Accurate, Inclusive and Respectful (FAIR) Education Act signed into law in 2011, the 2016 State Board of Education passage of a new History Social Science Framework, and Stonewall Riots activists.

Board President Sue Rains thanked Krause for bringing the resolution forward and lauded the incorporation of curriculum covering LGBTQ+ history in SVUSD middle and high schools.

“I’m very proud that we are bringing this forward this year,” she said. “And I really appreciate everyone’s effort. I realize it’s a touchy topic within the community at times, but I do think it’s a very important part of history that needs to be included.”

Trustee Roger Snyder said he was encouraged about the 5-year-old social science framework that gives teachers opportunities to feature content from underrepresented groups across history.

“It’s being taught now in our history and social science classrooms,” he said. “I think that’s encouraging progress, as well.”

In May, the school district recognized Harvey Milk Day but declined to fly rainbow flags during June, which some celebrate as Pride Month, after some community members expressed distaste with such ceremonies.

During her report to the board, Krause said she was evaluating a vendor who provides diversity, equity and inclusion training.

“I’ve had a number of conversations with an organization,” she said. “I think they’ll be a good fit for our school district.”

Krause said she plans to have a contract ready for the next board meeting.

Drew Penner
Drew Penner is an award-winning Canadian journalist whose reporting has appeared in the Globe and Mail, Good Times Santa Cruz, Los Angeles Times, Scotts Valley Press Banner, San Diego Union-Tribune, KCRW and the Vancouver Sun. Please send your Los Gatos and Santa Cruz County news tips to [email protected]

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