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Family left Lexington school system over homosexuality in David Parker's elementary school.

Another Estabrook Elementary School family's problems with the homosexual agenda in school caused them to leave the school -- and the town of Lexington in February, 2005.

The following speech was delivered by Gerry Wambolt at the David Parker Rally on the Lexington Battle Green on September 6, 2005.

Hello. I'm Gerry Wambolt, a Lexington resident and parent. My family and I have had personal struggles within the Lexington public schools over parental rights and having our beliefs and views respected, but today I would like to tell you about another family's struggles at Lexington's Estabrook Elementary school. The Montalvo family could not be present, so I'll tell you about a series of events which occurred to them here in our community. Ultimately, this family found it necessary to remove their children from the Lexington public schools, and to move out of Lexington altogether, since their parental rights and their values were not respected, and were in fact, attacked and completely discounted.

In August 2004, the Montalvos moved to Lexington with very high expectations for their children's education at Estabrook Elementary school. They'd heard so many good things about the Lexington public school system - as with so many of us this was a major reason they chose to move to Lexington.

A few months into the school year their second grade son began a lunch room discussion with other students about whether a man could marry another man. As children will do, they began enthusiastically debating the question. Soon a teacher and teacher's aide were asked for input. The answer the adults gave was simply that two men could marry in this state, and so those children who said a man could marry another man were completely in the right. The children were not told that Massachusetts is the only state in the nation where gay marriage is legal. The children were not told that this is only the legal side of the question, and that there may be other opinions on the topic that may also be important. Instead, the teachers chose to validate one belief system and to dismiss any other. The Montalvos feel the answer the teachers gave to their child was not the whole truth. It was completely biased towards one particular belief system. Since their child held to another belief system, his own personal beliefs were dismissed. Aren't our teachers supposed to be concerned for the feelings and self-esteem of all of our children? Or is presenting their side of an important social issue more important?

When the Montalvos heard about this incident, they told their principal and the director of education that they were not satisfied with how their child was treated. They also e-mailed the Lexington school superintendent. He never responded to them.

The Montalvos began to worry about the way in which their children's teachers were instructing their children about personal and social issues which related to their personal values and beliefs.

A few months later they became aware of the diversity book directed at kindergarten children that depicts gay-headed households. The father told the schools he ABSOLUTELY did not want books normalizing gay-headed relationships coming home with their kindergarten child. The parents told the school they wanted to opt-out of the diversity book bag, which the schools EXPRESSLY told them they could do. Furthermore, the parents requested that the principal please respect their values and morals and remove their children from any material or discussion, whether oral or written, in the classroom pertaining to such subjects. The book bag was sent home with their kindergarten son anyway, even though the parents made these requests in writing to the Estabrook principal.

Further discussions with the principal revealed that all children at Estabrook have access to books about lesbian and gay-headed relationships in each and every classroom, and that any teacher or adult can read these books to children any time they wish, with no thought of notifying their parents.

Instead of respecting the Montalvos values and beliefs, the principal seemed to think the problem was the Montalvos, and suggested the parents attend a workshop entitled, "How and why to talk with your children about diversity" which was held at Diamond Middle School on February 8th. It was advertised as an interactive workshop for teachers and parents sponsored by the Estabrook anti-bias committee. The workshop leader was a workshop leader trained by GLSEN, which stands for Gay, Lesbian, Straight, Education Network. He didn't speak about broad diversity. He didn't speak about respecting diverse values. Instead he spoke about how to teach children to accept homosexuality. His presentation included three suggestions for each and every elementary classroom: 1) posters depicting homosexual families on the walls, 2) more books to increase children's exposure to homosexuality, and 3) teacher initiated discussions to guide children in accepting homosexuality. Any reasonable person can only conclude the school-sponsored workshop should have been named, "How to convince your children and students to accept homosexuality." Many of the teachers and parents at this meeting were in favor of teaching acceptance and normalization of homosexuality. When Mr. Montalvo discussed his belief system and his legal rights to shield his own children from these materials and discussions in the public schools, a parent told him to leave and to place his children in a private or religious school. One of the Estabrook staff members had to physically restrain this parent as she was apparently preparing to physically attack him - so much for tolerance and safety in the public schools!

The Montalvos were angry, frustrated and confused at how the Lexington public schools feel they can make these decisions for parents, regardless of their feelings. The Montalvos felt they had no choice but to move out of Lexington in the middle of the school year. The principal of their new school told them they have every right as parents to make these decisions for their children, and that at this new school, the teachers are too busy teaching academics and traditional extra-curricular activities to teach about divisive social issues.

The Montalvos were forced to conclude that Estabrook was not a safe place to leave their children. Estabrook teachers and administrators disregarded the views and beliefs of their students' parents and did not respect parental rights. These education professionals have forgotten that these children are only in their temporary care, and that their parents come from different backgrounds and ways of life which also must be respected.

The school administration feels they have the latitude to unilaterally determine what is appropriate for your own children even against the expressed wishes of the parents. They do not. The school administration feels they have to right to dismiss and to attack views and beliefs which they feel are unpopular or not the mainstream in Lexington. They do not.

The school administration will continue to operate with happy disregard for our wishes, and in blatant violation our parental rights, until we let them know this is not acceptable, and that we will not sit down and take it.

Please join us in letting your children's teachers and principals and administrators know we take parental rights seriously. Please join us in making Lexington public schools a place of respect and safety for EVERYONE, and not just those with certain political views. Thank you.

[Note: The Montalvos left Lexington in February, 2005.]