Caron and Bishop speak to PPH about why teachers aren’t implementing Maine policy supporting LGBTQ education

Sandra Caron, a professor of family relations and human sexuality at the University of Maine, and Penny Bishop, dean of the University of Maine’s College of Education and Human Development, were interviewed by the Portland Press Herald for an article about why many teachers in Maine are not incorporating LGBTQ education in the classroom despite Maine policy supporting the curriculum. Caron says affirmation and representation should start early, calling in the fourth “r” of classroom instruction — reading, writing, arithmetic and relationships. “Teaching children about acceptance and diversity is always age-appropriate. Kindergarten kids are learning to treat others, including those who are different, with kindness and respect, and to expect that for themselves.” However, the current deeply polarized political climate across the nation and in Maine makes it difficult for teachers to incorporate such lessons into their curriculum. “It’s always been a complicated time to be a teacher. From evolution to religion to racism, being a teacher is often about having challenging community conversations about controversial topics,” Bishop says. A new, not-yet-published University of Maine graduate school study done in conjunction with Equality Maine found only about a quarter of the schools sampled have pro-LGBTQ policies in place. The Sun Journal and shared the Portland Press Herald report.