One school bus, an agenda item, a Tet parade and the area lesbian, gay, bisexual and transsexual community.
The item was pulled, the bus is on hold until all groups are included in the parade and the school board got a standing ovation.
At Tuesday’s Garden Grove Unified School District board meeting, trustees were going to vote on including a school bus in the annual Tet, Lunar New Year, parade on Sunday.
The Tet parade committee has chosen to exclude Vietnamese LGBT groups from the parade, saying that the group does not represent the traditions or culture the Vietnamese community.
Having been allowed to participate previously in the parade, the group has fought back and asked that the school bus be pulled from the parade.
“We have always come to the parade with an opportunity of inclusion and human rights for all people, we are also your daughters and your sons,” said Natalie Newton, “We ask your support in expressing and sending a message.”
Group representatives asked during the public comments section that the board recall that district policy is against discrimination of any sort and new language was recently adopted to protect sexual orientation and gender identification.
It was stated by many that if the board permits the bus, a symbol of the district, to be in the parade that it could send a message that GGUSD agrees with the discrimination of the LGBT community.
“We are being told that we do not represent the traditional Vietnamese values. But we are Vietnamese, we speak Vietnamese,” said Hugh Nguyen, “I am pleading with you to pull support from the event. They do not represent the whole of the Vietnamese community.”
During the voting period, Trustee Bao Nguyen requested to pull the item from the agenda citing that GGUSD cannot show support with a committee [Tet parade] that is openly discriminating.
Lan Nguyen contested taking the bus out of the parade, stating that the inclusion of the bus is not indicative of the GGUSD’s stance. Lan said that he supports his community’s traditions and that he would pay for the bus to be in the parade himself if needed.
Bao said that he would take a stand and not be in the parade, nor did he want the bus as a part of it.
Linda Reed, trustee and former Tet parade committee member, said, “I hate to see our bus withdrawn, but I don’t like that we would directly oppose what we teach our children every day. To see any members of our community discriminated against hurts my heart.”
Trustee Bob Harden echoed that, saying, “The principle here is what we are teaching our kids and I think we need to stand with that.”
Dr. George West said that he would not support the bus in the parade because the district cannot teach its children one thing and then do the opposite.
A caveat was put in place that if by Friday noon all groups are allowed to march in the parade, the bus will be reinstated.