Fairfax County School Board readies for fight over teaching LGBTQ Spectrum to 7-10th graders
Less than a month after Fairfax County Public Schools School Board officials faced hell from conservative activists over adding protections for transgender students and teachers, a new fight is on the way.
This time, the largest school district in the nation wants to teach students “that development of individual identity occurs over a lifetime and includes the component of sexual orientation and gender identity” as part of their Family Life Education (formerly Sex Education) class for 7th-10th graders.
The new curriculum would “stress different attitudes about families, cultures, religions, and individuals,” but teach children that “stereotyping individuals based on gender can limit opportunities. ”
The 27 page document also hopes to put emphasis on “recognizing that everyone is experiencing changes and the role of respectful, inclusive language in promoting an environment free of bias and discrimination. Students will be provided definitions for sexual orientation terms heterosexuality, homosexuality, and bisexuality; and the gender identity term transgender.”
Support for the change has already started rolling in, with one teacher, Robert Rigby from West Potomac High School, saying the change in curriculum is not a political agenda, but a matter of scientific consensus.
“An essential change in the new recommendations is that FLE will teach that LGBT people are normal within the spectrum of human development,” said Rigby in a statement sent out ahead of tonight’s public meeting. Rigby is also a sponsor for West Potomac’s Full Spectrum Gay-Straight Alliance club.
“This is an important first step to addressing the existence of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender people in the lives of our students.”
Echoing Rigby’s sentiments is Phil Hicks, the parent of two Fairfax County School graduates, both of which are gay.
“As a parent of gay children I’ve become a straight ally to many others, and my primary motivation is making sure every child has the opportunity to learn in a safe and supportive environment, just as I was able to experience,” said Hicks in another statement. “When we send our kids off to school we want and demand that they are kept safe. We also want them to be prepared in other ways to be worthwhile members of society and have the personal decorum necessary to be socially responsible.”
Here in Richmond, Equality Virginia has voiced their support for this issue as well.
“This shouldn’t be controversial,” said James Parrish, executive director of Equality Virginia. “The proposed curriculum will benefit all students, promote understanding and knowledge, and make Fairfax County schools a safer and more welcoming place for everybody.”
But opposition is strong from conservative groups.
“The larger picture is this is really an attack on nature itself – the created order,” Peter Sprigg, Senior Fellow for Policy Studies at the Christian activist group The Family Research Council, told Fox News.
“Human beings are created male and female. But the current transgender ideology goes way beyond that. They’re telling us you can be both genders, you can be no gender, you can be a gender that you make up for yourself. And we’re supposed to affirm all of it.”
Earlier this month, public comment exploded over adding protections for transgender students and teachers to the school district. Elected officials, including Del. Bob Marshall from Prince William County, showed up to oppose the measure which passed with a 10-1 vote.
Tonight’s meeting will include public comment over the issue, but a vote wont be held until June 25th.
“I urge you to please educate our teachers and administrative staff to know how to handle everyone and not just the majority.”July 1, 2016
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- Liberty Counsel sues Fairfax County Public Schools over LGBTQ protections, December 22, 2015
- NoVA Delegate urges Fairfax Public Schools to include gender identity in non-discrimination policy, April 30, 2015
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