Opponents of New Curriculum Compare Lessons on Sexual Orientation, Gender Identity to Giving Kids Alcohol
LGBT-inclusive sex education "rapes children of their innocence" and is comparable to giving alcoholics booze, according to parents who spoke Monday during a three-hour debate over proposed new curriculum standards in Omaha, Nebraska.Â
The proposed standards, which represent Omaha Public Schools' first attempt to revise its sex ed curriculum in 30 years, includeÂ lessons aboutÂ LGBT issues, social media, bullying and sexual harassment, according to a report inÂ The Washington Post. They also initially included information aboutÂ contraception and abortion, but that was removed after more than 1,000 people showed up at a community forum in October.Â
At that meeting, one parent dubbed "puritymom" stood and screamed at OPS educators during the meeting. "Itâ€™s my daughter! My daughter! Whoâ€™s going to keep her pure? Nobody! I am! Not OPS! Not OPS!," she screamed.
Needless to say, the district's removal of abortion and contraception from the proposed sex-ed standards wasn't enough to satisfy some parents, even though related courses are not required and they can opt their children out of them. Â
Kathryn Russell, a Catholic mother, grandmother and former school employee, told board members that its vote on the new standards, expected to take place Jan. 20, is a "political" and "moral" one, not an educational one.
"IÂ hope you are working from a Bible that is worn out," Russell said. "You will someday be judged. We will all be judged when we meet God. And Iâ€™d like for God to look at you and say, 'You've been a good and faithful servants. You have taken children, youâ€™ve taken others to heaven.' Thatâ€™s what weâ€™re here for. Yes, we need to give children an education, but the curriculum that you have, the standards that you have, gives too much information. It rapes children of their innocence."Â
Raleigh Welsh, a sophomore at the Omaha's Central High, had the perfect response for Russell.
"Innocence is not the same as ignorance," Welsh said. "Ignorant decisions are due to a lack of information."
Welsh told the board that she and her peers deserve accurate information so they can make educated decisions.Â
"Every person, regardless of race, religion, sexual orientation and gender identity, has a right to accurate sexual education," she said.Â
According to The OmahaÂ World-Herald,Â 25Â people spoke against the newÂ standards and 15 spoke in favor of them. The school board's meeting room, with a capacity of 350, was full.Â
Chris Rodgers, president of the Douglas County Board of Health, spoke in support of the standards, saying Omaha is currently experiencing an "epidemic" of sexually transmitted diseases.
"If you all step up and approve this, we will move light years forward in addressing STDs and a whole lot of other sexual issues going on here in this county," Douglas said.Â
Gwen Easter, of Omaha, said teaching sex ed to help children make healthy choices is akin to giving them a beer to teach them not to drink, theÂ WaPo reported.Â
â€œAre you going to give them a bottle of alcohol to help with alcoholism? No, youâ€™re not going to do that,â€ Easter said. â€œYâ€™all need to stop with all this hidden agenda stuff.â€
"Kids have had sex for years and years, and y'all say itâ€™s not going to change anything," Easter said. "What you guys are wanting to do is talk about homosexuality and masturbation and all these things to kids. Thatâ€™s the real agenda that Omaha Public Schools is pushing, the same-sex stuff."
In fact, Omaha's curriculum for "Human Growth and Development" already includes "preventing alcohol and chemical abuse," according to responses to FAQs about sex ed posted online by the district.Â
The new standards would continue to encourage sexual abstinence, but middle schools students would learn about LGBT issues, including that "all individuals are worthy and should be treated with dignity and respect." High school students, meanwhile, would learn that â€œgender identity refers to a personâ€™s internal sense of self as male, female, both or neither.â€
The anti-LGBT groupÂ Save Nebraskaâ€™s Children, which is fighting the standards, claims they would beÂ â€œfull of pornographic content promoting homosexual lifestyles, masturbation, and sexually graphic images.â€
But according to the district's responses to the FAQs, students will "absolutely not" be shown pornography. The document also stresses that the district will not hand out contraceptives or take students to get abortions.
"LGBTQ topics of discussion proposed in grades 7th and 8th will center on teaching individuals to be respectful of one another, even if ideas and beliefs are different from personal beliefs," the document states. "A family will be defined by saying, 'There are many different types of families and they serve many functions such as love and affection, education, economic support, protection, guidance and socialization.'"
Watch a clip featuringÂ RussellÂ and Welsh's comments, above, as well as video of the full meeting, below.
Image: Screenshot via Livewell Nebraska/Omaha World Herald