Objections have been raised by 47 Nebraska school boards over the proposed state health education standards that include teaching young children about gender identity, gender expression and same-sex families.
The nearly 50 school boards from across the state have passed legislation or sent letters showing opposition to the first draft of the sex education standards that the Nebraska Department of Education is looking to potentially implement, according to State Sen. Joni Albrecht, one of 30 state senators to sign a statement asking school districts to object to the new standards.
If the proposed standards are approved, Kindergartners would be taught about a range of different family structures, such as same-sex families, while first-graders would hear about gender identity and gender stereotypes, according to the Omaha World-Herald.
Sixth graders would learn about sexual identities such as heterosexual, bisexual, lesbian, gay, queer, two-spirit, asexual and pansexual. The differences between cisgender, transgender, gender nonbinary, gender expansive and gender identity would also be included in the instruction for the pre-teens.
Seventh graders would learn about vaginal, oral and anal sex, as well as their relationship to disease transmission.
The proposal has sparked objections from Republican Gov. Pete Ricketts, who said the content that would be taught to young children is not age-appropriate. He also said the standards were created with the assistance of political activists and and without input from key mainstream organizations.
Superintendents from 12 school districts in the state said in a letter to the Nebraska DOE that the proposal was evidence of “unnecessary overreach.”
State Education Commissioner Matt Blomstedt told school districts in a letter earlier this month that changes would be made for the second draft of the proposed standards, saying that the next draft will “remove many of the explicit examples and reframe sensitive topics.”
The second draft will “make clear that managing sensitive health related topics be thoughtfully conducted with parental input at a local level,” he wrote in the letter.
LGBTQ advocates allege that children being exposed to sex education instruction would help promote acceptance of different gender identities and sexual orientations.
Abbi Swatsworth, director of OutNebraska, said that under this proposal, LGBTQ youth would be less vulnerable to depression and suicide. She said it is “not hyperbole when we say inclusive health standards are lifesaving.”
If the standards are approved, school boards would have the option to not add them to the curriculum.
This content was originally published here.