In a groundbreaking move, Massachusetts public schools are set to introduce updated sex and health education that strongly emphasizes inclusivity.
This development marks the first time since 1999 that the Massachusetts Board of Elementary and Secondary Education (BESE) has adopted new curriculum frameworks from kindergarten to 12th grade.
It Is Not Mandatory
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.
Nation’s First Openly Lesbian Governor
Governor Maura Healey, the nation’s first openly lesbian governor, hailed the decision as a significant step forward.
During a press conference, she said 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.”
Update to the Health Education Frameworks
“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 to 5, 6 to 8, and 9 to 12.
Each group will receive education tailored to their developmental stage.
Young Students Will Learn About Gender-Role Stereotypes
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.
Elementary School Will Learn About Gender Identity
As students progress through elementary school, the curriculum introduces concepts related to gender identity, sexual orientation, and sexual health.
Students Will Know the Differences Between Assigned Sex at Birth
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.
A Culture Free of Bullying
High school students will engage in discussions that tackle personal and collective beliefs and values, emphasizing fostering a culture free of bullying, sexual harassment, sexual abuse, dating violence, and gender-based violence.
Parents Shared Their Support
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.
Many Kids Know That They’re Different
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.
Twitter User Expressed Their Views
Several social media users shared their thoughts on the incident.
One Twitter user wrote, “Propaganda. This is terrible.”
Get Your Kids Out of Public School
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.”
Stick to the Basics
A third user commented, “They need to stick to the basics: reading math, science, history. Do your job, not the parents’ job.”
This Is Not Good
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.”
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