It features elementary and middle schools where (mainly heterosexual) teachers are challenging the prevailing political climate and its attempt to censor any dialogue in schools about gay people.
There are two versions of the film available—the original highly acclaimed feature length and a shorter version, 37-minutes, designed for professional development workshops.
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 the LA Reader says, "funny, touching, and fascinating." Third graders' jaws drop when they find out some of their favorite celebrities are gay; second graders react to a book about a girl who gets teased because she has two moms; 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; third graders passionately debate the current events issue of the day: should gays be allowed to get married? 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.
Former Assistant Secretary of Education, Kevin Jennings, says It's Elementary, with its refreshing child's eye-view of a topic that sends some adult racing to their school boards, "is the most important film dealing with LGBT issues and safe schools ever made."
Comes packaged with It's STILL Elementary. This companion documentary follows up with some of the original students and teachers from It's Elementary and asks them how lessons about LGBT issues affected their lives - and the results are profound. The film also tells the fascinating history of why the original film was made, the infamous response it provoked from the conservative right, and the questions it raises for the national safe schools movement today.