Nebraskans share their opinions on recently proposed health education standards
The Human Growth & Development portion of the proposal outlines concepts like gender identity and sexual orientation that would be recommended to be taught in schools.
LINCOLN, Neb. (KLKN) – On Friday, dozens of Nebraskans spoke in front of the Nebraska Board of Education to voice their opinions on recently proposed health education standards.
Of particular interest to Nebraskans is the Human Growth & Development portion of the proposal, which outlines concepts like gender identity and sexual orientation that would be recommended to be taught in schools. Some examples include:
- Kindergarten: Discuss different kinds of family structures. (e.g. single parent, blended, intergenerational, cohabitating, adoptive, foster, same-gender, interracial).
- Grade 1: Define gender, gender identity, and gender-role stereotypes.
- Grade 3: Define sexual orientation.
- Grade 4: Distinguish between sex assigned at birth and gender identity and explain how they may or may not differ.
- Grade 5: Explain the significance of the physical changes in puberty and the potential role of hormone blockers on young people who identify as transgender.
- Grade 6: Define sexual identity and explain a range of identities related to sexual orientation (e.g. heterosexual, bisexual, lesbian, gay, queer, two- spirit, asexual, pansexual).
Opponents of the proposed standards say they are dangerous and not age-appropriate for children.
“It is absolutely possible to teach our children that everyone is different, that we should respect each other and be kind to each other, without continually enforcing ideological themes,” Lancaster County resident Ginger Jelinik said.
“This content amounts to child abuse,” says Doug Kagan of Nebraska Taxpayers for Freedom.
Supporters say the proposed health standards will go a long way towards preventing sexual violence and protecting the mental health of young people.
“It is a bold assumption to make that all children have a home but even more bold that that home is a safe place to have these discussions,” says Jenna Lopez, a mental health professional who identifies as queer.
“It doesn’t matter what letter I am in LGPTQ,” 12-year-old Harper King said. “I have known since I was in the first grade that I was going to marry a girl.”
NDE officials put together the proposed health standards in consultation with doctors, educators, mental health experts, and psychologists. The public’s opinion will be considered in the decision on whether to approve the health standards proposal.
Approval for the new health standards is expected in the fall of 2021. If approved, the standards would be recommended but not required for local school districts across the state.