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Equality Illinois Deeply Troubled by the Launch of a Formal Investigation Into a Glen Ellyn District 41 Teacher for Affirming LGBTQ Students

Equality Illinois reminds school districts of the 2019 LGBTQ Inclusive Curriculum Law which requires schools to teach about LGBTQ contributions to history and our society

Statement from Brian C. Johnson, CEO of Equality Illinois:

As a former first grade teacher, I recognize when an educator is striving to support all their students, including LGBTQ students and students of color. That is what’s happening in Glen Ellyn, in DuPage County. As reported by NBC Chicago, a teacher at Abraham Lincoln Elementary School posted LGBTQ affirming content and education resources on her TikTok page.  From what we have seen on these videos, she is fulfilling the finest values of the profession and of the State of Illinois: equality, inclusion, and the freedom to be who you are without burden or discrimination.  And yet, the District has launched a formal “investigation in collaboration with legal counsel.”

This investigation concerns us.  According to Public Act 101-0227 that took effect in July 2020 and that applies to all Illinois public school districts, “the teaching of history shall include a study of the roles and contributions of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender people in the history of this country and this State.”  Several of the books highlighted by the teacher are specific to LGBTQ contributions in history.  We remind District 41 of its obligations under the LGBTQ Inclusive Curriculum Law. We are proud Illinois requires the inclusive and affirming teaching of LGBTQ contributions in history in public schools. Equality Illinois expects public school districts to follow the law.

Even if the District’s investigation finds no fault in the teacher for the posting of the TikTok videos highlighted in the NBC Chicago story, the threat of formal investigations could deter future teachers from supporting their students and following state law.  By caving into pro-hate voices and launching this investigation, Superintendent Dr. Melissa Kaczkowski and the leadership of Glen Ellyn District 41 have risked imposing a chilling effect on teachers who opt to support their students and follow state law.

We urge District 41 – and all school districts in Illinois – to support their amazing teachers and students and to hold firm against local and national individuals and groups who want to advance a hateful political agenda against LGBTQ youth, as we’ve seen in other states.

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