Last week, Reverend Laura Rose wrote an excellent letter to the editor regarding School Boardmember Trish Spencer and the LGBT curriculum that was under much scrutiny a few years ago:
Remember where we have come from! That is an important mantra for different classes of people who have endured the pain of exclusion and discrimination. This should also be a mantra for all of us in Alameda who worked hard to ensure that Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender students and families would be given equal visibility in our AUSD K-5 curriculum as one of the six protected classes under California law. As we consider the records of those running for School Board, it is critical that we remember that there was one school board member, Trish Herrera Spencer, who steadfastly aligned herself with those were strongly opposed to the inclusion of lessons that would give equal visibility to LGBT families and students. Recently, Ms. Spencer has made public statements that she was a supporter of the LGBT curriculum. But those of us who spent hours and hours attending Board of Education meetings listening to Ms. Spencer presenting objection after objection know this is not the case. I am aware that the teacher’s association has endorsed Ms. Spencer, and although I am supportive of the teacher’s union and A.U.S.D. teachers, Ms. Spencer will not have my vote.
I’m republishing it here because the link on Alameda Journal keeps removing the letter for some reason.
Presently, Trish Spencer and her supporters are going on the defensive and trying to explain her “no” votes on the anti-bullying curriculum.
However, while Trish Spencer can take credit for voting for the expanded curriculum for one hot second, her reversal of that vote was quick and immediate when she found out that Lesson 9 would still be included until the expanded curriculum was in place, she eventually voted no on the expanded curriculum. This timeline has been heavily circulated on Facebook with supporting links.
With respect to my friends who support Trish Spencer for School Board (or are friends with her), I’d like to clarify her record on our district’s anti-bullying campaign. Ms. Spencer is saying today that she voted “yes” on the more inclusive anti-bullying curriculum developed in the fall of 2009. Technically this was true, for about a half hour. Here is the full record of her votes on our anti-bullying curricula:
1. Ms. Spencer voted “no” on Lesson 9 (aimed at children of gay families) on 5/26/09.
2. After a community advisory group and a teachers’ group developed a new, more expansive program (covering children in all six legally protected classes), she voted “yes” on it, briefly, at the 12/08/09 Board of Ed meeting.
3. About a half hour later, when she learned that Lesson 9 was still included in the program (because the board was going to implement the curriculum in stages), she voted “no” on the curriculum. (Her final vote, in other words, was a “no.”)
4. On April 13, 2010, she also voted “no” on the recommended list of literature for the newly expanded anti-bullying program.
So of the four total votes on the district’s anti-bullying curricula, Ms. Spencer voted “no” three times and reversed her sole “yes” vote within an hour.
It’s interesting that Trish Spencer now is characterizing her “no” vote on April 2010 as a result of “members of several protected classes express[ing] concerns of how they and their children were being depicted in the proposed literature:
When you review the minutes from that meeting, there are few comments that support that statement by Trish Spencer. I’ve pulled out the comments against the books:
All of the comments against the books and the curriculum focused on the topic of LGBT issues and how they didn’t want the “lifestyle of homosexuals to be given visibility in this community” or speaks about “homosexual proselyting” or speaks to these issues as “interfering with normal childhood development” or calling it “homosexual and transgender behavior acceptance training”. Other than the guy worried about there not being enough books about boys and men succeeding in tradition pursuits and the woman who was appreciative that the African American books about slavery were removed from the book list, there is nothing about how kids are depicted.
Here’s the thing: I totally get why some groups and people are supporting Trish Spencer. I just wish folks wouldn’t change the narrative on her vote and support (or lack thereof) of this particular issue in order to bolster her as a candidate. If you want to like Trish Spencer because you think she’ll be the only School Board member to take on the Superintendent: fine. Awesome. More power to you. But don’t change the narrative from the reality that people who went through the process, participated in, and witnessed in order to justify your support of a candidate and the reality that exists in black and white on her record.