It feels like déjà vu all over again. In 2005, the parent of a Lexington
Public Schools student staged a months-long campaign against inclusive
classrooms in the elementary schools, culminating with his arrest on
April 29 of that year. He refused to leave the school grounds for the
evening unless his demands to exclude resources and conversations
involving same-gender families were met. Members of an anti-LGBTQ+ group
that supported this parent were there to take pictures in order to
create a media event out of the arrest, and at that they succeeded.
Almost all of the information initially presented by news organizations
regarding the incident was centered on the parent and his point of view.
This was part of an extended and well-coordinated media campaign on the
part of the parent and his supporters from outside of Lexington. There
was no organized effort to present the other side of the story or
identify the harm caused by this parent and his campaign.
At that time, nearly twenty years ago, the three of us gathered a group
of town parents, students, and other citizens and created Lexington
C.A.R.E.S. (Lexington Community Action for Responsible Education and
Safety) to fill that gap. We successfully presented the views of the
vast majority of Lexington residents who supported inclusionary
resources so that no families would be left out of school materials or
conversations. Since then, and with the ongoing support of the
community, the schools have continued to develop ways to make every
child feel safe and included. Serious Talks is just one example.
We believe that Lexington is still the same supportive, caring, and
inclusive community it was two decades ago, and we hope that the current
concerns about the Serious Talks curriculum are just a misunderstanding
of what it contains. Every student and family needs and deserves to see
themselves represented in what they read and discuss in all aspects of
their lives, including in the classroom, starting from the earliest
grades. Although our own children have grown up and are no longer LPS
students, we will always support our neighbors and students who are
targets of marginalization by those who object to their very existence.
Our shared values demand it.
Pam Hoffman – 4 Rangeway, Lexington, MA
JJ Krawczyk – 78 Outlook Dr, Lexington, MA
Meg Soens – 55 North Hancock St., Lexington MA