Alameda Unified School District officials approved a new anti-bullying effort that includes teaching respect for gay men and lesbians on Wednesday, drawing a rain of protest from social conservatives who decried the curriculum as “formal instruction in concert with the gay agenda.”

Officials in the California district decided in a 3 to 2 vote to add lessons about gay men and lesbians into an existing anti-bullying curricula. The six 45-minute lessons will be offered to students as early as kindergarten.

At lower grades, students will be introduced to the negative impacts of generic teasing, but lessons for older students would include discussions related to gay and lesbian families and negative stereotypes based on sexual orientation.

Unlike lessons on health and sexual education offered by the district's public schools, parents won't be allowed to opt-out their children from the safe school lessons.

Socially conservative parents vociferously objected to the plan, while influential groups involved in passing California's gay marriage ban last year quickly released statements decrying the new curriculum.

“This is exactly what we warned voters about during the Proposition 8 [anti-gay marriage] campaign,” said Ron Prentice, chairman of, in a statement. “While pro-homosexual activists deny any impact on children, local school boards and the State Legislature press for formal instruction in concert with the gay agenda. Opponents of Prop. 8 claim we won the campaign based on lies and deceit, but just imagine how much worse these curricula would be if Prop. 8 failed and gay marriage was still legal.”

Brad Dacus, president of the Sacramento-based Pacific Justice Institute, called the curriculum a “cheap attempt at indoctrination.”

“It's not really age appropriate to be addressing sexual orientation and transgender issues at such a young age,” he said.

Alameda School Board President Mike McMahon said a week before the vote that he feared any outcome would be controversial.

“We don't believe either side is going to be happy with the outcome,” McMahon told the San Francisco Chronicle. “We assume we're going to get sued either way.”