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As I See It

Ignoring sensitive issues doesn’t make them go away



Our schools often have to provide instruction about sensitive and controversial topics. We teach today’s youth that there was a Holocaust. We teach them there was such a thing called slavery, often prompting a healthy discussion about issues involving race. And in many schools there are discussions about issues involving gender identity. But some Wisconsin lawmakers think that topic is just too much. They are fast-tracking legislation that would allow parents to opt their children out of any discussion involving LGBTQ issues. It was scheduled for a public hearing just two days after it was introduced, an obvious effort to tamp down public comment. Under the proposal, parents would have to be notified whenever educators plan to discuss any curriculum dealing with sexual orientation, gender, gender identity or gender expression. Sure these are sensitive topics. But having an open and honest discussion about them is certainly better than pretending they don’t exist. The bill’s author was asked by a fellow lawmaker if this legislation would prevent a discussion about Harvey Milk, the first openly gay elected official who was assassinated. Her response? “I am not familiar. Is that a real person?” Such ignorance shows just why our students need to be educated about such important issues.

Scott Robert Shaw serves as WIZM Program Director and News Director, and delivers the morning news on WKTY, Z-93 and 95.7 The Rock. Scott has been at Mid-West Family La Crosse since 1989, and authors Wisconsin's only daily radio editorial, "As I See It" heard on WIZM each weekday morning and afternoon.

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