Barickman questions bill that would require schools to include curriculum on LGBTQ population
Legislation that would require public elementary and high schools to include a unit of instruction on the LGBTQ population in their curriculum had Sen. Jason Barickman (R-Bloomington) asking questions at a recent Education Committee subject hearing.
SB3249 is sponsored by Sen. Heather Steans (R-Chicago), who explained the LGBTQ population is one of the protected classes Illinois doesn't currently offer any instruction or information on in the classroom.
“In fact, it is one of the populations where it has truly been eradicated from history,” Steans said. “You don’t have much history ever ... when somebody was of (the) LGBTQ population. It has been lost to a great significant extent.”
If passed, Illinois would be the second state in the country after to California to implement such curriculum.
"As I read this, there (are) multiple things proposed in this legislation, one of which is an amendment to an existing law regarding textbooks that are available from a state program to school districts, and that provision suggests changes to textbooks to be consistent to Illinois laws that exist today, including things like the Illinois Human Rights Act,” Barickman said. “Am I correct that is the piece?”
After Steans answered "yes," witness Michael Ziri, public policy director for Equality Illinois, explained to Barickman that the textbook piece of the legislation under the provision would require that any materials be nondiscriminatory to any of the characteristics protected by the Human Rights Act.
“So, it wouldn’t be just sexual orientation and gender identity," Ziri said. "It would be race, gender, national origin, ethnicity, all the protected classes in the Human Rights Act."
Barickman said that as he thought HB5812 is essentially an update to an existing law to make it consistent with other Illinois statutes such as the Human Rights Act.
SB5812 advanced 9-2 and will move to the Senate floor.