Ignoring parents’ objections, school board unanimously OKs gender-ideology lessons

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[Editor’s note: This story originally was published by The Daily Signal.]

By Elizabeth Troutman Mitchell
The Daily Signal

A Northern Virginia school district will teach kindergartners about gay parents and middle schoolers about transgenderism in the wake of a unanimous vote late last month—despite significant parental opposition.

The Fairfax County School Board unanimously approved changes to its Family Life Education Curriculum on June 27 that include “broadening examples of family structures to be more inclusive of the many different families in our schools.”

The approved changes—set to take effect at the start of the upcoming school year—include showing seventh graders a PBS video titled “Puberty 101,” which introduces transgenderism.

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“But let me take a minute here and say that in addition to girls’ parts or boys’ parts, there are also people who have different parts, or intermediate parts. People who don’t fit within a traditional binary gender system of male or female,” one of the video’s two narrators says. “There are people who are trans, or people who don’t have a gender.”

The public school district adopted the Family Life Advisory Committee’s recommendation to include both “sexuality and gender” in 10th grade Family Life lessons. Board members voted for 10th graders to learn to “recognize the development of sexuality and gender as aspects of one’s total personality,” a change to the curriculum first recommended during the 2022-2023 school year.

The school district in the Virginia suburbs of Washington, D.C., will further review another proposal to add instruction on the “gender spectrum” at the elementary school level. The advisory committee will compile research on elementary school gender identity lessons and conduct another community review prior to a vote.

An overwhelming majority of parents and community members do not support adding lessons on gender identity in elementary schools, the district admitted in a summary of the comments submitted to the district from May 10 to June 10.

Virginia Gov. Glenn Youngkin, a Republican, says parents should be able to weigh in on their children’s education, his press secretary, Christian Martinez, told The Daily Signal.

“Since his first day in office, Gov. Youngkin has been advocating for parents and students, emphasizing that school boards must not only allow parents to provide input on important school decisions, but also make it easy for them to engage and participate, especially when it directly impacts their child’s learning environment,” Martinez said.

Stephanie Lundquist-Arora, a Fairfax mother of three, said she wonders why the district solicited parent feedback if it only intended to ignore it.

“When the survey results and community’s comments are counter to their initiatives, which they often are, we are completely ignored,” she told The Daily Signal. “When we tell them that we don’t want school teachers exposing our children to gender ideology, they are effectively patting our heads and covering our mouths. The way they see it, they know what’s best for our children, but parents know that’s ridiculous.”

Lundquist-Arora suggested that the board may have scheduled its June 27 vote on the controversial Family Life policy on the night of a presidential debate to distract concerned parents.

“It is the board’s modus operandi to wait until we’re not paying attention to pass the things that we object to the most,” she said.

A spokesperson for Fairfax County Public Schools told The Daily Signal that parents will continue to be able to opt out of Family Life lessons. Virginia law requires schools to notify parents when instructional material contains “sexually explicit content” and allow parents to opt into non-explicit material.

The district offers a form on its website for parents to opt their child out of all or some Family Life Education lessons.

“Parents/caregivers will have the option to opt-out of gender-combined instruction and have their child receive instruction in an all-boys or all-girls class,” the spokesperson said.

[Editor’s note: This story originally was published by The Daily Signal.]

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