Debate over adding LGBTQ classes in Fairbanks schools resumes Jan. 9

    Jan. 9 is the next meeting for a group of Fairbanks educators working on a curriculum update that includes books and material that expose students to controversial LGBT sexual ideologies. The Curriculum Advisory Committee for the Fairbanks North Star Borough School District has already received community pushback for its first draft, which included LGBTQ material in high school social studies and English classes. A revised second draft could be ready for comment by Jan. 9.

    The committee is updating the 7-12 grade English/Language Arts and K-12 grade social studies classes. According to the school district’s website, the new material includes “LGBTQ+ Literature” for 11-12th grade students. The elective class would fulfill part of the English requirement for graduation. Proposed readings include highly controversial novels and poems that have been criticized for sexual explicitness, explicit language, sexual violence and scenes of homosexual sex.

    “It will be interesting because usually we don’t get hardly any notice on a first draft,” she added. “So, we’ll see where it all ends up.”

    A separate class for 10-11th grade students would fulfill a social studies requirement. This course includes an option that frames the LGBTQ agenda in terms of the historic civil rights struggles of African Americans and women.

    Melanie Hadaway, the school district’s executive director of teaching and learning, told the curriculum committee during its Nov. 7 gathering that the LGBTQ material has drawn significant comments from the public. She referenced an Alaska Watchman article on the proposed changes.

    “An online magazine or newspaper called the Alaska Watchman featured an article about the Fairbanks curriculum process,” she said during the Nov. 7 meeting in Fairbanks. “So, we’ve had a lot of feedback over that particular course.”

    Hadaway noted that the second draft of the proposed curriculum changes should be available by the Jan. 9 Curriculum Committee meeting.

    “It will be interesting because usually we don’t get hardly any notice on a first draft,” she added. “So, we’ll see where it all ends up.”

    Curriculum Committee member Earl Peterson said that the school board, which will ultimately approve or deny the proposed curriculum, is aware of community concerns being raised.

    The Jan. 9 meeting takes place at the Administrative Center Curriculum Library (520 Fifth Avenue, Fairbanks) on the fourth floor. The meeting is scheduled to run 5:30–7:30 p.m. For questions or additional information, contact Jennifer Morgan Material Development Specialist, Dept. of Teaching & Learning 452-2000, ext. 11421 or


    Those who wish to submit comments can do so at any time by contacting Jen Morgan, from the Department of Teaching and Learning at morgan@k12northstar.orgor (907) 452-2000 X11421.

    Others assisting with the proposed changes include Kristina Roehrig, curriculum coordinator for secondary schools. She can be reached at roehrig@k12northstar.orgor (907) 452-2000, x11477.

    Click here to contact members of the Fairbanks North Star Borough School Board.

    Click here to contact members of the Curriculum Advisory Board.

    Joel Davidson
    Joel Davidson
    Joel is Editor-in-Chief of the Alaska Watchman. Joel is an award winning journalist and has been reporting for over 20 years, He is a proud father of 8 children, and lives in Palmer, Alaska.

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