It’s Elementary takes cameras into classrooms across the U.S. to look at one of today’s most controversial issues – whether and how gay issues should be discussed in schools. It features elementary and middle schools where (mainly heterosexual) teachers are challenging the prevailing political climate and attempts to censor any dialogue in schools about gay people.
Rather than focusing on the debate between adults, though, the film takes the point of view of the school children, starting as young as first grade. The results are surprising and, as says LA Reader, “funny, touching, and fascinating.” Second graders react to a book about a girl who gets teased because she has two moms; third graders’ jaws drop when they find out some of their favorite celebrities are gay and passionately debate gay marriage; fourth graders say it makes them “feel weird in your stomach” when other kids yell “faggot” on the playground and teachers don’t do anything about it; eighth graders fire a barrage of poignant questions to the gay guest speakers who visit their social studies class. It becomes quite clear that most children are affected by anti-gay prejudice in some way, and that they are very responsive to a curriculum that teaches respect for everyone, including lesbians and gay men.
A GroundSpark production
Producer: Helen S. Cohen; Producer/Director: Debra Chasnoff
An indispensable and unparalleled resource for school personnel…The NEA strongly encourages educators to use It's Elementary as a means of ensuring a safe and supportive learning environment for every child.
—Reg Weaver, president, National Education Association
Should be mandatory for all new teachers if we are serious about raising kids to be free of hate and prejudice.
—Judy Shepard, executive director, Matthew Shepard Foundation
The most important film dealing with LGBT issues and safe schools ever made.
—Kevin Jennings, Founder, Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education Network