Frederick County: School district policies on sex, gender are concerning

This article written by Tom Neumark and published in The Frederick News-Post.

When it comes to parents, the Frederick County Board of Education is abdicating responsibility while putting up barriers to parental input and promoting secrecy.

Last October, The Frederick News-Post reported that Linganore High School ordered the book “Gender Queer: A Memoir” for its library. Current Board President Sue Johnson read the book and told the News-Post she found it “enlightening and thought-provoking.”

This book includes cartoon depictions of naked people engaged in sex acts, a vibrator, a depiction of menstruation, and the use of a sex toy. If it were a movie, it would be too explicit for a PG-13 or R rating.

Curious parents can view samples of the book by Googling “Iowa Standard Gender Queer,” but please don’t do this with your children present.

The FCPS Book Review Committee is reconsidering sexually explicit books that were challenged.

Despite over 1,000 parents applying to the committee, FCPS made the meetings private.

When Johnson offered no serious objections to a book containing graphical depictions of sexual acts, the chasm between her views and most parents’ became clear.

Most parents trying to raise children with a sense of modesty would have been outspoken and immediately rejected such degrading material.

Parents in Frederick have attended Board of Education meetings and read aloud explicit content in books like these, attempting to engage the board around their concerns.

Parents take issue with Frederick’s family life and human sexuality standards, which teaches the concept of “gender identity” in kindergarten. It’s a disputed belief coming from postmodern queer theory, not science.

Yet, on April 14, 2021, the board — except Jason Johnson — voted to abdicate its authority over approving health curriculum materials, giving power over this controversial area to the unelected Family Life Advisory Committee.

This further insulates the Board of Education from responsibility for its health curriculum and makes it harder for parents to remedy the situation by voting in new board members.

FCPS is considering expanding sexuality education in radical ways.

Health curriculum materials are posted online. Specific lesson plans can be previewed in person.

Parents must watch their emails carefully to “opt out” of sex education, instead of opting in with affirmative consent.

If a student wants to change their gender, name, and pronouns at school but not tell their parents, FCPS policy 443 lets this happen.

FCPS wouldn’t need these barriers to keep parents at bay if they acted in loco parentis, a legal term meaning the school staff has a duty to act in place of parents, according to values of the child’s parents, not their own views.

Most parents aren’t asking for school library books with explicit materials or teaching kindergarteners about gender identity.

Most parents want age-appropriate health instruction that teaches scientific facts of reproduction and encourages healthy relationships, not sex education promoted by groups like Advocates for Youth, Planned Parenthood, and SIECUS, whose slogan is “sex ed for social change.”

The board should take issue with introducing unscientific concepts like gender identity, which can confuse and distress young children.

Combined with its policy that allows students’ gender transitions to occur without parental notification, FCPS is putting vulnerable young students on a path to medical transition and lifelong complications. Just as with learning challenges, gender dysphoria requires immediate parental involvement.

FCPS seems to care little about what parents want, but perhaps it will be persuaded to change course after considering the liability involved with distributing explicit materials to minors and allowing the staff to facilitate gender transitions.

Instead of acting in loco parentis, the current board — except Nancy Allen, who has been outspoken in supporting parents — is taking legal risks that are just plain loco.

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