FCPS Board Considering Gender Identity Discussion for Middle Schoolers

by Karen Goff May 26, 2015 at 3:00 pm 30 Comments

fcps logoThe Fairfax County Public School board is preparing to vote on a new family life education curriculum that will add gender identity and sexual orientation to the lessons for students as young as middle school.

FCPS says revisions to lesson objectives include moving some objectives from Family Life Education to meet new Virginia Department of Education revised Standards of Learning for health education.

Part of the proposal includes adding discussion in eighth grade about “gender (biological gender, gender identity (includes transgender), gender role, and sexual orientation (includes heterosexual, bisexual, and homosexual). The concept that sexuality is a broader spectrum will be introduced.”

Two weeks ago, the school board voted to add gender identity to its non-discrimination policy. That vote came at a raucous school board meeting where there was much opposition to the proposal.

Several parents speaking at Thursday’s school board meeting had issues with the proposed curriculum, as well as the proposal that some FLE lessons would now be considered general health lessons, which makes it more difficult to opt out.

Parents or guardians will still be able to opt their child out of any remaining objectives in Family Life Education, FCPS said.

“I ask that you keep it all ‘opt out’ ” said FCPS parent Patty Healy, representing Concerned Parents and Educators of Fairfax County. “School is not the place for social engineering.”

“This is the second time this month [that FCPS] is looking at something not based on facts and science but instead is ideologically driven.”

Another parent, Laura Hanford, said that teaching these lessons “usurps the rights of parents.”

“It is you rewriting the blueprint of your morality,” she told the school board, asking that they take a step back, take more time and truly engage families and faith communities in further discussion.

Student Sam Runner, president of West Springfield’s Gay Straight Alliance (GSA), said access to earlier information could have saved him much anguish.

“Currently, FCPS does not provide resources on this topic, leaving LGBT students isolated and confused,” he told the board via video. “In seventh grade, I was suspicious I may be gay and that terrified me. I did not know anything about gay people. I had years of depression and self loathing.

Runner said adding the topics in middle school will help all students.

“It will teach LGBT kids that what they are feeling is normal,” he said. “And [teach] non-LGBT that LGBT kids are still normal. That will improve morale and academic performance. I hope you take a stand and say yes to less bullying and more acceptance.”

The school board is seeking feedback to the proposed FLE outline. Parents are invited to review the changes online and submit comments via email to [email protected].

FCPS says all comments will be shared with School Board members at the conclusion of the community review process, which ends June 19. The school board will vote on the changes on June 25.

  • WhoIsJohnGalt

    What is there to teach? It’s all in the DNA.

    XX is a female, XY is a male. That’s it. It doesn’t matter if someone wants to cross-dress and sexually identify themselves as a furry, they are what their birth certificate says they are.

    Nothing more than depravity in the public school system.

    • Jason Rub

      you too

  • meh

    So because Sam Runner needed to see a therapist when he was young we need to tell kids about the perversions of 2% of the population. Just offer a history course on Roman Emperors and Caligula’s chapter should cover most of the same topics and teach some good history too.

    • Jason Rub

      why don’t you post your hate under your real name

      • Mike M

        So, Jason. Which way are you headed?

      • Douchebaggius

        That is a horrible sentence. You should go back to middle school, your grammar sucks.

      • shagga

        you don’t know hate, try being a dwarf, people want to toss us at bars, and if we want to cross dress… well certain people want to silence this topic all together.

      • susie

        Oh stop with all the “hate” nonsense. It makes you sound like a toddler.

  • LaureenMT

    I support allowing public educators to include discussion of gender identity and homosexuality in eighth grade, when students are old enough to be told about these aspects of human experience. Families will always be able to impart their own views about morality, in addition to what is taught in school. I hope the School Board will approve this proposal.

    • susie

      I don’t. This is insane.

    • Ricky Spanish

      “when students are old enough to be told about these aspects of human experience”

      Are high functioning autistic eighth grade children old enough?

      • LaureenMT

        The kids in that category whom I have known were mature enough by eighth grade to handle it, but I can’t speak for all.

        • Ricky Spanish

          “whom I have known were mature enough”
          So, it’s not a function of AGE, it’s a function of MATURITY.

  • Chuck Morningwood

    Seems far too early to me. I’m against this for the same reason that I would be against it for Elementary school kids; it seems to be too early to broach such topics for their current stage of development.

    • HealthyAtEverySize

      Half of these kids are being pushed in that direction by their parents anyway.

    • LaureenMT

      Have you looked at an eighth grade student lately? Puberty has hit most, making issues of sexual identity more relevant than ever. It does not make sense to wait before teaching these facts about life.

      • Chuck Morningwood

        But “Middle School” is a time of transition. Just because some students have made that “Transition” doesn’t mean that all have made that transition. And just because their bodies are ready for sexual activity, it doesn’t mean that their minds are adequately prepared for it either. If they were, then we might have as much sexual activity in Middle School as there is in High School.

  • Chuck Morningwood

    That would actually stand to reason that most sexual predators are middle aged, white males since most sexual predators are male, and whites are still a majority population, and that neither young males nor old males are all that sexually active. Assuming a normal distribution throughout the entire American population, middle aged, white males necessarily would be the majority.

    But, really, are you saying that a significant number of people are against ISIS primarily because ISIS is anti-gay? I would have thought that most people would be against ISIS because they (not ISIS) are anti-beheading.

  • Ho HO HO HO

    just wondering when free thinkers and enlightened ones know it is the state’s job to inform our children of dildos and when they should ask santa for one. You free thinkers are soo wise… how about we let kids enjoy their short childhood as long as possible and bring this up in highschool.

    • Cluster Tycoon

      All I am saying is that we owe it to you, intolerant people, that we have ridiculous school programs like these when in fact we should be educating young people. but because it’s cool these days to be loud intolerant and obnoxious the state has to intervene.

      • susie

        You just trashed an entire segment of the population (middle aged straight white males) in your previous post. Then you insulted anyone who disagrees with you as “loud and obnoxious.” So, therefore, “the state must intervene.” Do you know how ridiculous you sound?

  • Ricky Spanish

    How and why was it determined that eighth grade is the appropriate age for this topic? Why not 9th, 7th, 6th or even 5th? Is kindergarten too young? What about discussing other topics in eighth grade? Sexual Education, birth control, or the holocaust? My 7th grader is learning about the holocaust this year, and was disturbed by it. But when I questioned why, and what he learned it was watered down. All of the horror, brutality and shear evil were not discussed.

    The point, was any scientific research done to asses that this would be age appropriate for middle school students ? Are ALL middle school students mature enough to handle this topic? Was there any behavioral science used to determine what age to teach this material. Or was this a decision made by politicians, who have zero background in education or childhood maturity. There is a wide range maturity levels for children, some eighth graders are mature enough to handle this, some are not. What happens when that one student who is not mature enough, acts out based on this proposed curriculum change (targeting another student). Do persecute the child that acted out to the fullest extent possible, just because he wasn’t mature enough to handle this topic? Decisions that impact ALL students need to be backed by studies, research, and test groups. There is no mold that EVERY child fits in to.

    • LaureenMT

      FCPS has many excellent educators on staff who make recommendations to the board. Some Board members are former teachers. I am not sure why you think this curriculum would cause students to target other students; I think it is likely to have the opposite effect. The fact that there is no single mold that fits every student should not paralyze educators.

      • Ricky Spanish

        I don’t believe I took a position. I presented points against, I never stated a personal opinion one way or the other. I presented this as a function of MATURITY, of which every single eighth grade student is different. Therefore should this be required for every eighth grade student. Is every eighth grader mature enough for Algebra, or Geometry. Some are, most are not. Would you require every eighth grade student take Algebra?

        Throw the topic completely out of the argument. This is not about the topic, this is about teaching a topic that some eighth grade students are not mature enough for.

        What FCPS middle schools have piloted this proposed curriculum, and what were the results? Is there not a methodology for introducing new curriculum? Would this be any different than the discussion of birth control and prevention of sexually transmitted diseases to eighth graders. (Which some are mature enough to handle but most are not). How about firearm safety. Some would argue that mandatory education about firearms would lead to a decrease in accidental shootings. (Again, not taking a side, presenting points). What would happen if the FCPS BOE decided that a discussion on firearm safety should be mandatory for every eighth grader.

        So if a parent feels his child is not mature enough for the subject matter, what options does the parent have if FCPS mandates this be taught in eighth grade?

        • LaureenMT

          I believe most eighth graders are mature enough to discuss birth control and STD prevention, and failing to address these topics is doing them a disservice. I will not respond again, as I don’t think we will change each other’s minds.

  • David Aponte

    Read the facts, and if you are so moved to speak out, either for or against these recommendations, e-mail your school board member. Posting hate speech and other inflammatory words on here will do nothing for you if you don’t actually express your opinion to the right people.

  • liberal

    This is a bunch of typical liberal bullsh*t.

  • WhoIsJohnGalt

    Indeed Christians typically are those that are pro-life unlike many on the far left that are big proponents of abortion. No one is arguing denying people their rights. But this is not an issue that needs to be resolved in the classroom

    • Richard

      Permitting the right to dress and behave in a manner that reflects one’s identity, without imposing any significant hardship upon others, certainly seems to be addressable by the schools, perhaps not “in the classroom” but administratively.

      I don’t follow your logic regarding abortion, but I suspect few liberals are “pro-abortion”. Most would simply leave that decision to the woman who is carrying the child, in concert with those whose guidance she finds valuable, such as her family, friends, doctors and clergy.

  • Ricky Spanish

    WOW, I mean WOW. That is pretty impressive chain of thought you have. From Sexual Predators, Marriage Breakups, Midlife Crises, to ISIS. Please continue with how many degrees of separation exist between ISIS and Kevin Bacon. OH I GOT IT… ISIS is Islamic and Islam forbids eating pork. Bacon is a made from Pork…. BOOM!!!! WE HAVE A WINNER…


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