Multiculturalism program criticized

October 08, 1997


Staff Writer

A Hagerstown woman told the Washington County Board of Education Tuesday she is worried a multicultural education program started in the school district could lead classroom discussions about homosexuality.

A multicultural education project started last year in Montgomery County, Md., taught children about how to be more accepting of gays, but Angie Harsh said she does not want that in Washington County.

"We're talking about things that can kill you," said Harsh, an unsuccessful candidate for the Washington County Board of Education last year.


"This type of thing belongs in the bedroom, not the classroom," said Harsh.

Harsh's comments followed a briefing to the board about the new program. Each county in the state is required to develop a five-year plan to implement multicultural education regulations passed by the state three years ago, according to Carolyn Moore, member of the multicultural education committee for the Board of Education.

Moore said Washington County has started to implement its own plan, which involved sending about 10 local teachers to a class last summer to help them blend multicultural education into their classroom lessons.

Moore, assistant principal at Pangborn Elementary School, would not talk about Harsh's comments.

Board of Education President B. Marie Byers said she would look into to the Montogomery County issue. Byers said she did not know of any intention to include homosexuality in multicultural education efforts in the county.

Harsh said she supports multicultural education. Studying different races teaches kids about culture, but homosexuality is about sexual preference, which has no place in classroom discussions, Harsh said.

"This isn't about tolerance. It's about manipulation. I don't think we need something like this to happen in Washington County," said Harsh.

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