In a groundbreaking move, Massachusetts public schools are set to introduce updated sex and health education that places a strong emphasis on inclusivity.
Inclusive and Age Appropriate Sex Ed
This development marks the first time since 1999 that the Massachusetts Board of Elementary and Secondary Education (BESE) has adopted new curriculum frameworks spanning from kindergarten to 12th grade.
While Massachusetts does not mandate sexual education in its schools, it strongly recommends it, allowing individual districts the flexibility to choose whether to adopt the state’s curriculum or craft their own.
Governor Maura Healey, the nation’s first openly lesbian governor, hailed the decision as a significant step forward.
First Update to Sex Ed in Twenty Years
During a press conference, she said that Massachusetts “is leading the way by providing a health and physical education framework that is inclusive, medically accurate, and age-appropriate to help them make decisions that are right for their health and wellbeing.”
“We are grateful to the Board for approving the first update to the health education frameworks in more than two decades, and we appreciate the input we received from residents across the state,” she added.
The state’s updated sex and health education standards are divided into four age groups: pre-K through second grade, grades 3-5, grades 6-8, and grades 9-12.
Each group will receive education tailored to their developmental stage.
Outward Appearance and Behavior Do Not Define One’s Gender
For the youngest students, the curriculum includes lessons on decision-making, social awareness, personal hygiene, emergency response, gender-role stereotypes, and promoting respect for all individuals.
As students progress through elementary school, the curriculum introduces concepts related to gender identity, sexual orientation, and sexual health.
For instance, by the end of fifth grade, students should be able to describe the differences between assigned sex at birth and gender identity while understanding that outward appearance and behavior do not define one’s gender identity or sexual orientation.
In middle school, students will learn about sexual and physical consent, healthy living, physical exercise, and substance use.
Learning the Language to Articulate Difference
High school students will engage in discussions that tackle personal and collective beliefs and values, with an emphasis on fostering a culture free of bullying, sexual harassment, sexual abuse, dating violence, and gender-based violence.
Adam Schepis, the parent of a 14-year-old Trans son, said that LGBTQ+ students often lack access to sexual education that reflects their experiences and identities.
Schepis said, “It’s critical that LGBTQ+ kids can see themselves and hear of themselves in school.”
“Even at a young age, many of these kids know that they’re different but don’t have the language to articulate it,” he added.
“Do Your Job, Not the Parent’s Job”
Several social media users shared their thoughts on the incident.
One Twitter user wrote, “Propaganda. This is terrible.”
Another user added, “Bunch of gloopy gloop. Time to get your kids out of public school. Most parents won’t for reasons x, y, z.”
A third user commented, “They need to stick to the basics: reading math, science, history. Do your job, not the parents’ job.”
A fourth user wrote, “Not good. Discussing the differences between assigned sex at birth and gender identity by the end of 5th grade? How about no.”
Featured Image Credit: Shutterstock / Ringo Chiu
Source: Fox News