View Full Version : Pac Hts-Marina Town School's second-grade field trip to the Castro has some parents up in arms

04-05-2011, 05:23 PM
This from the SFGate (http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/blogs/sfmoms/detail?entry_id=86303):
Last week, second-graders from San Francisco's private all-boys Town School strolled through the Castro, the city's world-renowned gay district where a huge rainbow flag flies gloriously above Harvey Milk Plaza.

The group of about four dozen boys, ages 7 and 8, was led by a reputable local historian who regularly leads walking tours of the Castro (and who asked to remain anonymous in this story).

The guide walked the boys by Pink Triangle Memorial Park, where 15 granite pylons rise above the ground in remembrance of the estimated 15,000 gays, lesbians, bisexuals and transgenders who were persecuted, imprisoned and killed during and after the Nazi regime. A few other stops on the tour included the wildly colored Hope for the World Cure Mural, a pictorial depiction of the AIDS epidemic; the Human Rights Campaign Action Center, local headquarters for a civil rights organization promoting fairness for LGBT Americans; and Harvey Milk's camera shop, which the former gay activist and pioneering politician once lived above.

While the majority of the second-grade parents were in support of the field trip, the school is under fire by a handful of parents* who questioned whether the Castro is an appropriate destination for 8-year-old boys. One parent in particular reached out to SFGate and expressed frustration, anxiety, and confusion around the field trip, as well as a complex array of sentiments ranging from disapproval of teachers who told students that the word gay means "happy," to fears that the Castro community would be unwelcoming to children.

This disgruntled parent shared that other families disapproved of the excursion, and Town School confirmed that a "few families who felt uncomfortable with the Castro trip chose to keep their sons home."

Yesterday, Town headmaster Brewster Ely sent a letter (http://www.sfgate.com/g/acrobat/2011/04/05/DearTownSchoolFamilies.PDF) to all parents addressing the controversy, letting parents know that the field trip was a success, and explaining that it was intended to give children "an appreciation of different perspectives and views."

read more>> (http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/blogs/sfmoms/detail?entry_id=86303)
What do you think about the controversy? Is the Castro an appropriate destination for a second grade field trip?

04-05-2011, 05:38 PM
I have no affiliation with Town but I think that Town deserves kudos for the field trip and sticking to their commitment to exposing its students to diversity. If you are going to live in SF and the class is visiting other neighborhoods, why not the Castro?

04-05-2011, 10:53 PM
One of the things that make San Francisco so special is its diversity, whether racial, economic or social. Good for the school that it's doing its part to open its students' minds and show them the different aspects of our city. And good for the head of school to stand up to a couple dissenting parents, who could have easily held back their sons from the trip if they really objected.