Glendale, California, witnessed a tumultuous school board meeting as concerned parents, predominantly from the Armenian American and Hispanic communities, took a stand against sexual and LGBT curriculum content. The parents, who have been demonstrating and voicing their objections for months, are demanding greater transparency and an end to what they consider age-inappropriate material.
Arno Akhverdyan, a father whose child is in kindergarten in the district, emphasized that parents have been requesting transparency, parental rights, and the removal of certain curriculum elements for grades K through 8. Unfortunately, their pleas seem to fall on deaf ears. Akhverdyan asserted that the curriculum being imposed contradicts their moral values and religious beliefs, and parents should have the right to teach their children according to their own principles.
Another concerned father, Ervin, shared that he inquired about an upcoming lesson on LGBT topics and Pride month, but the school informed him that he had to physically go to the school to review the content. This lack of transparency has left many parents frustrated, as they believe that most working parents don’t have the time to dedicate to such endeavors.
Questioning the necessity of teaching sexual orientation to elementary school children, Ervin stressed that young kids are not preoccupied with thoughts about their sexual preferences. This sentiment was echoed by Akhverdyan, who shared an incident where a third-grade child asked his father if he was gay. Such occurrences have raised concerns among parents about their children’s exposure to sensitive topics at an early age.
Prior to the meeting, Akhverdyan noticed several individuals in their 20s donning protective gear, including helmets, face masks, brass knuckles, and pepper spray. When he confronted them, they responded dismissively. Akhverdyan promptly alerted the Glendale police about their presence. Later in the day, the protest turned violent, with clashes between parents wearing shirts that read “Leave our kids alone” and black-clad Antifa members.
During the meeting, a teacher advocating for LGBT themes in the curriculum singled out Armenian parents, implying that they were disregarding the plight of other marginalized groups. This accusation provoked further tension, especially considering that both Akhverdyan and Ervin are Armenian American.
The school district released a statement attributing the inclusion of LGBT curriculum content to the mandates set by the California legislature and Department of Education. While the district claims to encourage parental involvement, the parents argue that they have been excluded from meaningful conversations about their children’s education.
Governor Gavin Newsom of California weighed in on the matter, accusing the protesting parents of engaging in a “campaign of hate.” However, Akhverdyan emphasized that their objective is not to spread hate but rather to advocate for transparency and the rights of parents and children within the school district. He highlighted the falsehood of claims that the Armenian community harbors animosity toward the LGBTQ community, asserting that they have friends and family members within that community and simply seek a voice in their children’s education.