Elementary students in the Madison Metropolitan School District are being treated to a weeklong introduction to gender identity and sexual orientation curriculum as part of the so-called Welcoming Schools agenda.
Parents in the district received an email last week advising them about this week’s lesson plan, part of the Health and Social Emotional Learning curriculum. Children will learn about “different identities, which include gender identity, sex assigned at birth, and sexual orientation.”
“We will be using our morning meeting time to do read-alouds and classroom discussions based around these topics. We will end the week with a rainbow day on Friday!” states the district email, obtained by The Wisconsin Daily Star.
In an attempt to clear up any “misconceptions about what gender means, what is being taught, and whether or not it is developmentally appropriate for elementary schools,” Welcoming Schools Lead Jennifer Herdina included a video explaining the curriculum.
“It’s important for our families to understand what we’re talking about and how we’re talking about gender,” the instructor says.
Herdina uses the Gender Snowperson to explain. The snowperson — “to be more inclusive in” the language — is broken down into three parts, including the Gender Identity head, the Sexual Orientation body, and the biology bottom. The sexual orientation mid-section notes individuals can be gay, lesbian, bisexual, pansexual, asexual and, all the way at the end, heterosexual.
The lesson plan delves into Gender Expression, from clothes to hairstyles to mannerisms. It demands kids leave the old “binary” world, free themselves from thinking about gender in stodgy terms like male/female, man/woman, boy/girl, and ride the spectrum of sex, identity and orientation.
“We now recognize that there are a spectrum of identities, that your sex assigned at birth .. can be seen on a continuum, as can your gender identity, your gender expression, your sexual orientation,” Herdina says. “And again we have all of these pieces of our identity and we can be anywhere along this continuum in each of these areas.”
Then Herdina gives mom and dad a moment to think about where they identify on the identity spectrum.
The district’s email says the topics of gender identity, sex-assigned at birth, and sexual orientation are part of our MMSD Health Education Scopes, which are based upon the National Health Education Standards and the National Sexuality Education Standards.
“The goal is for students to understand the difference between gender, sexual orientation, and sex assigned at birth,” the email states. “Students are NOT being asked to share their specific identities for each of these components, rather just acknowledging that they exist and are different and how to show respect for all identities.”
Not everyone finds the district’s woke focus welcome. Parents have complained about what they say is inappropriate sex education for elementary school children, particularly in a school district in which many students are testing below grade level in core subjects like math, science and Language Arts.
“Parents should remain vigilant and engaged with their local school districts, many of which do not hesitate to persuade students to a particular point of view,” said Cory Brewer, associate counsel at the Wisconsin Institute for Law & Liberty. “And importantly, our state law requires schools to teach topics that are medically accurate and age-appropriate. It should not be controversial to suggest that students go to school to learn, not to be indoctrinated by political activists.”
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M.D. Kittle is the National Political Editor for The Star News Network.
Photo “Elementary School Students” by Mikhail Nilov.