PA School District Erases “Gay History” Month From Calendar After Intense Pressure from Families

Excerpts from “School Calendar Drops ‘History’ Months After ‘Gay’ Flap”
By Randy Hall, – August 13, 2007

A controversy stemming from the inclusion of “Gay and Lesbian History Month” in last year’s calendar has prompted the Philadelphia School District to release a 2007-08 schedule that omits any tributes to the history of any groups of people.

Cecilia Cummings, the school district’s senior vice president for communications and community relations, told Cybercast News Service that until six years ago, the calendar, which is mailed to 200,000 parents and district officials each August, contained only academic dates and a list of public holidays on which the schools would be closed.

When approaching the 2006-07 academic year, the district decided to expand the calendar format using the theme of “diversity,” she said. For that edition, months honoring the contributions of African-Americans, Hispanics, and Asian-Pacific Americans were included, as well as the International Day of Disabled Persons.

Nevertheless, the designation of October as Gay and Lesbian History Month drew the most attention — and complaints, Cummings indicated.

The backlash continued throughout the school year, as people criticized district officials at public meetings, Cummings said.

When preparing this year’s edition, “We went back to a stripped-down, three-page calendar that is being incorporated into a different publication — so we’re getting two publishings for the price of one,” she said.

Diane Gramley, president of the American Family Association of Pennsylvania, thanked the district for making what she called “an excellent choice” and “listening to the parents.”

“The approximately 200,000 students that are a part of the Philadelphia School District will not be given the false message that homosexuals played a significant role in American or world history,” Gramley stated in a news release.

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