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LGBTQ history will now be included in curriculum at Illinois public schools

ROCKFORD, Ill. (WTVO) — Illinois Governor J.B. Pritzker signed a bill that states LGBTQ history will now have to be included in school’s curriculum.

Beginning Fall 2020, all public schools in Illinois will begin the teaching of LGBTQ history.

CEO of Equality Illinois, Brian C. Johnson, believes that this bill will help schools become more inclusive for all students.

“For young people who do identify as LGBTQ, it allows us to learn about role models in history that we can look up to and develop pride in and an aspiration to be like,” Johnson said.

Jane Addams is an example, the first social worker who became the first American woman to win the Nobel Peace Prize, she graduated from Rockford University.

“For young people who do not identify as LGBTQ, it allows them to have a fuller understanding of the incredible diversity of historical figures who have made our state and our country the great place that it is today,” Johnson said.

State Representative, Maurice West, is the only Rockford lawmaker who voted yes on the bill. He said teaching this history should be “encouraged and desired.”

State Representative of the 69th District, Joe Sosnowski said the new law is an unfunded mandate.

“It really gets difficult when you try to make a bunch of rules at the state level to affect hundreds and hundreds of school districts,” Johnson said.

Johnson believes that it takes power away from the schools.

“These type of educational decisions are best left to the local school districts. If they think it’s appropriate subject matter that they want to cover, there’s school boards. I’m a big advocate of local school districts taking care of their curriculum,” Johnson said.

Some say this new knowledge can make students feel safe.

“If all kids are taught about the positive contributions LGBTQ have made to history, we just believe that bullying and harassment will go down over time,” Johnson said.