Agendas have no place in the health curriculum

In 2021, the district adopted the new health curriculum known as “Teen Talk”. The adaptation of this new curriculum has led to an abundance of parents who feel entitled to voice their strong criticisms of the material educating their children. Under a rational and well-founded basis, criticisms are accepted and even encouraged in our district. In fact, the reason for the “Public Comments” portion of the school board meetings is solely for that reason: for criticisms to be heard. However, the recent comments and criticisms made by the general public at these meetings are fueled by political and religious ideas that have no place in the discussion of educating students in a district for public schools. 

These complaints have transformed from strong-willed words to words that incite hate within our community. On Oct. 31, 2022, a lawsuit was filed against the school district in regard to the recent education amongst elementary school students. The lawsuit discussed the “Call Me Max” incident from earlier last year, in which a teacher used the children’s book to explain the concept of being transgender, as well as the new curriculum, “Teen Talk.” Parents felt compelled to voice their concerns at the school board meeting with claims following the underlying message: schools were interfering with a parent’s ability to control what their child is exposed to. 

In addition to the lawsuit, when the event first occurred, the message, “Pervs work here” was spray painted on the side of Maple Elementary, where the teacher worked, and the book was read. This pattern of behavior from the community is becoming increasingly concerning as it is no longer just criticism, but acts of hate and violence that are not just threatening to this specific school, but the entire district. 

Of course, a parent should be involved in the wellness and education of their child and a school’s education should not interfere with that ability. However, as students who have completed the health curriculum, it is our overwhelming opinion that the material within the curriculum is imperative to the health and safety of our future generations. To shield students from information that they will inevitably encounter would be a disservice to the ideas that the school district prides itself on. 

Personal opinions against educating students on certain topics such as the LGBTQ+ community or more specifically, the transgender community, should not disrupt the obligation teachers have to prepare their students for the real world. Parents must stop treating these topics as if they are negotiable political agendas or horrifying ideas, but as pure educational tools. It would benefit the entirety of the district if parents learned to be tolerant of ideas they disagree with and set a mature example for their impressionable children. Raising children under the idea that these topics are up for political or religious debate encourages them to undertake a hateful view that harms not only them but the people around them.

In an effort to continue to promote the integrity of this school district, parents must realize that they must set aside ideas of homophobia, transphobia and political or religious beliefs and consider the example that they are setting for the future generation. Encouraging ideas of hate and acting on personal bias inhibits the proper intellectual growth that this curriculum is meant to provide. Political and religious agendas have no place in a curriculum intended to promote awareness about topics that ensure the health and safety of our students.