MONTGOMERY COUNTY, Md. (WDVM) — Based on strong interest from students, staff and community members, the Montgomery County Board of Education unanimously approved a LGBTQ+ Studies pilot course during a meeting this week.
In documents submitted to the board, an overview of the curriculum says junior and senior students will have the chance to learn about LGBTQ+ identity, history and culture in during the semester-long course.
“I feel like we’ve come so far in having an open conversation, for students to have the right to take this social studies elective in recognition of the times we live in,” said board member Patricia O’Neill.
A member of the board for over 20 years, O’Neill recalls a time when a course like this wouldn’t have been well-received by the community.
“I lived through the Sex Ed wars with our health curriculum, when we were litigated against, rather vigorously, for having any kind of conversation in our health curriculum about homosexuality,” she said during the meeting.
Other members of the board say they hope the course sparks meaningful discussion around the challenges and successes of LGBTQ+ history and culture.
“We’ve worked really hard on this issue, and trying to get these conversations and programs going in special populations. I’m very excited to see this come together and I think it will open a lot of minds,” said board member Rebecca Smondrowski.
Several high schools have already expressed interest in offering the elective. The course could be taught in MCPS classrooms as early as the Spring 2021 semester.