The Vernon Township School District and the Board of Education will host a presentation at its September 8 workshop on the new health standards in advance of those standards being taught in school.
Standards for second graders say they need to define reproduction, which includes explanations on how parents may care for their offspring (e.g., animals, people, fish), and discuss the range of ways people express themselves and their gender, and how stereotypes may limit behavior.
“I can’t comprehend [my daughter] being taught this in school,” parent Nicole Cushman said. “I don’t feel it’s your place. I’m her parent. If she’s got questions, she should come to me. That’s the bottom line.”
She said the topics required in second grade aren’t appropriate until fourth or fifth grade.
“I understand they want children to learn, but there’s certain things you can’t take back,” Cushman said. “Once it’s out of the box, you can’t take it back. So, once it’s learned, it’s learned. Their eyes are open to it.”
Fifth-grade standards require students to explain common human sexual development and the roles of hormones, such as romantic and sexual feelings, masturbation, mood swings and the onset of puberty. By eighth grade, students are required to differentiate between gender identity, gender expression and sexual orientation.
Board of Education member Jennifer Pellet said the school bard is aware of the concerns in the community, regarding the standards.
“We did confirm that the lessons learned, and we’ll teach on sensitive topics, don’t bear any resemblance to some of the concerning lessons that you’re seeing circulate in the media that are inciting a lot of controversy,” Pellet said.
The presentation will also help families opt out for any reason they wish to, and the district’s plan is to give any students that do opt out, an acceptable alternative education. She also said the lessons are planned for later in the school year. The sensitive lessons for second graders won’t be taught until March or April, while it will be the second marking period for older students.
“So, the informational sessions that we will provide will happen well in advance,” Pellet said.