The President of the Board of the Education at Fresno Unified (Brooke Ashjian) is under heavy pressure to resign after stating objections to state mandated sex education classes and specifically a statement he made regarding LGBT students. At issue was this statement he made as representative of the school district:
“My biggest fear in teaching this — which we’re going to do it because it’s the law — but you have kids who are extremely moldable at this stage, and if you start telling them that LGBT is OK and that it’s a way of life, well maybe you just swayed the kid to go that way,” Ashjian said. “It’s so important for parents to teach these Judeo-Christian philosophies.”
Although he based his fears on the teachings of the “Judeo-Christian” philosophies, it didn’t stop him from literally teaching bigotry and hate to a whole class of students. The irony is strong with this one.
It did not take long for the LGBT community to come together to demand the resignation of the president of the board. Kevin Ayotte, a parent of a child in the district, said it best: “Your job is not to teach my son to be ashamed of his family, or to teach other children to devalue people different from them.”
It’s no coincidence that the board member is also a huge supporter of President Trump, who also recently showed his own ignorance on the issue of transgender people in the military. Perhaps Ashjian took a cue from the President, our Bigot in Chief!
Regardless, the district has denounced Ashjian’s position and has released a statement stating that Fresno Unified School District remains committed to “tolerance, diversity and inclusiveness.” And went on to state the following:
Fresno Unified will continue to provide our students age appropriate sex education in accordance with the Healthy Youth Act and our board policies while honoring parental waivers.
According the California Department of Education, the California Healthy Youth Act was enacted in 2016 and is described on the website as:
Information on comprehensive sexual health education and HIV/AIDS/STD prevention; includes legal requirements for education in these areas and additional resources for quality instructional programs.
As of today, Ashjian has defiantly said “NO!” to a request by the Human Rights Campaign for him to resign his position. In fact, several organizations have now joined in the call for his resignation, though it doesn’t look like Ashjian has any intent to do so anytime soon. Don’t expect this story to die down. Ashjian’s term expires in 2018, and I suspect that he will be challenged by a slew of candidates ready to replace him.
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