Education

School District Policy: Teaching ‘Queer’ Lessons ‘Does Not Require Parental Permission’ Or Notification

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Chrissy Clark Education Reporter
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A California school district informed educators that teaching “queer” lessons “does not require parental permission” or notification, according to public records obtained by a concerned parent group.

Documents from the San Francisco Unified School District (SFUSD) show that teachers are encouraged to integrate LGBTQ themes into their curriculum. The district does not require that parents be informed about any lessons related to “queer” studies, according to a district handbook obtained by Parents Defending Education.

The handbook includes several guidelines for educators dealing with LGBTQ issues in school. It mandates that teachers use students’ preferred pronouns and that students themselves can consent to “sensitive LGBTQ or sexual health-related services” if they are 12 years old.

“Teaching Queer and Trans Identity affirming lessons is mandated by SFUSD policy and the [California Department of Education] and does not require parental permission, nor does it require parental notification,” the handbook reads.

District policy requires parental notification when discussing sexually explicit content, but the district claims that a discussion about LGBTQ people “does not constitute a discussion about human sexuality or family life education.”

A district spokeswoman told the Daily Caller that these policies are crafted, in part, by the California Department of Education.

“SFUSD follows the California Department of Education (CDE) mandate to inform all caregivers about planned instruction in comprehensive sexual health and HIV prevention education,” the spokeswoman said. “The SFUSD Student & Family Handbook provides our annual notice to parents and families, including the right to opt out.”

There is no opt-out process for LGBTQ-related studies or lessons.

A separate document available to SFUSD staff instructs educators to avoid using “binary pronouns.” The document, titled “Gender Inclusive Language,” provides alternatives to words like “mom” and “dad.”

Screenshot/Parents Defending Education

Screenshot/Parents Defending Education

Parents Defending Education’s outreach director Erika Sanzi said in a statement that the district’s policy is “absolute madness.”

“There is no subject that should be taught to elementary schoolers behind the backs of their parents but for a school district to explicitly state that they will teacher ‘queer and trans affirming lessons’ to other people’s young children and not notify parents is absolute madness,” Sanzi said.

“This is ideology — we don’t teach the catechism in public schools, with good reason, and we shouldn’t be teaching this either, no matter how many times school leaders repeat the word ‘inclusion.’ This isn’t inclusion; it’s dogma,” she continued. (RELATED: The Makers Of ‘The Genderbread Person’ Announce New Tool To Teach Kids About Sexuality: ‘The Sexualitree’)

When asked whether there was parental opt-out on LGBTQ topics for any age group, a district spokeswoman said that the curriculum already reflects input from families and community members.

“Our LGBTQ lessons and health education curriculum involves input from stakeholders including families, community members, staff, students, and more to ensure we are meeting the needs of students,” the spokeswoman said.