Oak Park School Board Quietly Adopts Controversial K-5 Gender Identity Curriculum

 

 

By Pat Lynch 

OAK PARK, CA – On April 23, 2019, the Oak Park Board of Education quietly approved its “Gender Identity Curriculum” for grades K-5 in the district. This was presented by an elementary school counselor and passed with a majority vote 5-0.  Very few Oak Park parents were even aware that this vote was occurring on this highly controversial curriculum change that is not mandated by state law for elementary school.

While the board meeting minutes state that parents will receive a notice prior to implementation and that there is a “parent education component,” the families of Oak Park have yet to be notified. The school year completed at the end of May, leaving sufficient time to notify the parents of this new curriculum as it was presented to the board. It appears this announcement is being withheld until the new school year begins, making it more difficult for families to object and/or leave the district. The presentation is available to view through a link from the board meeting’s minutes.

Sparkle Boy

Sparkle Boy is included in 3rd grade curriculum with the stated goal of challenging gender stereotypes

Under the banner of anti-bullying and equality, the school district is imposing the integration of gender fluidity and transgenderism within the existing curriculum. There is no option for parents to “Opt-out” of this material as it is being incorporated into the children’s existing education structures such as the Readers Workshop.  Traditional anti-bullying campaigns focus on teaching children to be kind to everyone regardless of their differences. This transgender-based curriculum could make bullying worse by arming the children with additional terminology that will cause further stereotyping. If a little girl is a “tomboy” or a boy wears pink, they will now be labeled by their peers as “gender fluid.. In the name of breaking stereotypes, this curriculum could therefore worsen them. Elementary school-aged children are not considered by experts to have the cognitive maturity and frontal lobe development to understand gender constructs, which is a highly complex concept, even for adults.

This new gender identity curriculum asserts that “gender does not equal sexuality,” which is a strongly held belief by some – and beliefs should be respected – but is not scientific in any meaningful way.

The curriculum begins in Kindergarten with seemingly benign material about exploring differences and self-expression, but by second grade the goals are to “explore the concept of gender identity” which includes “discussion into what exterior clues might point to gender (wearing certain clothes, haircuts, height, choice of play/games).” By fourth grade they are using the terms “binary and non-binary,” and watching a video by Willow Smith, a young celebrity who is very vocal about being bisexual as well as polyamorous. By the end of their elementary school years, children will be taught to define non-binary genders, explore different gender expressions, be introduced to transgenderism and the use of different pronouns. While this may seem comprehensive, it is, in fact, only the beginning.

Among the stated goals of this curriculum are to “embed LGBTQ+ positive concepts and literature throughout the curriculum” and “Expand gender identity lessons.” Most parents will agree that children should be taught to be kind to everyone, regardless of appearances; however, this curriculum is teaching children material that many families may not agree with. Different religions and cultures may hold a different perspective on this highly controversial issue of “gender fluidity.” This program, in fact, violates Education Code 220 by discriminating against the faith and cultural values of these families. This curriculum, based on bitterly disputed science, is teaching the children that what they have learned at home with their parents, families, and places of worship is wrong. It is teaching children that values held at home are wrong, thereby disrupting the invaluable parent-child trust and relationship.

Gender Unicorn slide from Oak Park gender identification curriculum presentation

There is no current law in the state of California that mandates any gender identity concepts be taught in the elementary level. Assembly Bill 329 states that “A school district may [emphasis added] provide comprehensive sexual health education or HIV prevention education consisting of age-appropriate instruction earlier than grade 7…” [Section 8, 10b]. This bill only mandates that sexual education classes be taught “at least once in junior high or middle school and at least once in high school.” [Section 8, a]. These sexual education classes are mandated to “teach pupils about gender, gender expression, gender identity, and explore the harm of negative gender stereotypes.” [Section 6, 6]. However, for the classes in the junior high and high school level, parents do have the right to opt-out. When taught at the elementary level, parents do not have the right to opt-out.

Future steps identified during the curriculum presentation included:

  • Continue training of staff
  • Clarify policy, handbooks, and inform stakeholders
  • Embed LGBTQ+ positive concepts and literature throughout curriculum
  • Expand gender identity lessons

The Oak Park Board of Education quietly adopted an extremely controversial elementary school curriculum that could have long term developmental impacts on children. The big question is why weren’t Oak Park parents properly and clearly notified about what was happening?

Link to Oak Park Gender Identity Curriculum Presentation
https://docs.google.com/presentation/d/1NijjSeRfvYE5rHYz1L9QBneYOl9B6NK4ZZ_MDhWiVtM/mobilepresent?slide=id.g4e3cb51a9f_0_26

The views and opinions expressed in this commentary are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official position of Citizens Journal.

Pat Lynch is a resident of Ventura County


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51 Responses to Oak Park School Board Quietly Adopts Controversial K-5 Gender Identity Curriculum

  1. Sophie August 5, 2019 at 1:08 am

    School can teach kids be kind and nice and respect the diversity why they are so specific to the genders topic. I just want to know how can oak park parents stop this!

    Reply
  2. Vanessa July 21, 2019 at 12:06 pm

    The scientific fact is if you are born with female organs, you are female and vice versa. So what if a boy likes unicorns, glitter, pink, and other things society may consider “girly”? He should not be labeled as different, gender fluid, transgender, a girl, or anything else but the boy that he is. This curriculum is not only a huge overstep, it is destructive. It encourages confusion based upon preferences rather than fact and labels young children as something they are not.
    My male friend was a baton twirler and loved it. He was called gay by his high school peers. He was interested in girls but many were not interested because of the “gay” label that was falsely placed on him because of his prefrence for baton twirling. The gay community also labeled him as “gay” and worked to convince him that he was. Over the years, he said it was just easier for him to follow the gay lifestyle as this is how he was labeled.
    Being kind and respectful to all should be taught. However, this curriculum labels and confuses children based on their preferences. It does not teach kindness, love, and tolerance. It in fact divides and falsely labels children putting them at greater risk for ostracism and low self esteem. We should instead encourage children to accept and love the physical bodies they were born with. It is destructive to validate and embrace a child’s rejection of their bodies based on fantasy. I hope we can all come together as adults and do what is best for our children.
    I am a resident of the area with several school age children.

    Reply
  3. Leslie July 20, 2019 at 1:47 pm

    I came across this article through a Facebook link. I don’t live in Oak Park, and my children have all graduated from college. Therefore, some of you may think I have no “right” to comment. I however, think that I have seen the schools in action long enough to have some perspective.

    My son’s first grade teacher had a rule that parents and students were not allowed to use adjectives to identify people. I’m sure this was to prevent bullies from calling someone “stupid”, etc., but it also meant that if I was trying to point out “Mike” to another parent, I was not allowed to say, “the blond boy at that table”, as a quick way to identify the only child with blond hair sitting at that table. It was impractical.

    My son has a genius level IQ, and was identified by the school district as a “GATE” student in the second grade. Given a choice, he would have preferred to be identified as “funny”. His teacher did not appreciate his humor, so whenever he expressed himself according to his preferred identity, he got “points off”. Because of how the District identified him, the teacher was required to differentiate his curriculum. Her method was telling him to turn over his paper when he finished his work, draw a picture, and then write a story. He enjoyed this, and soon decided that he also liked to be “identified” as a cartoonist.

    In the 4th grade he started being bullied. This continued through middle school. He was enrolled in Honors classes, at a time that he thought it was uncool to be smart. Thus he was identified by the school contrary to his wishes. When he finished his work early, he’d doodle cartoons characters in the borders. A few teachers said he was “rude and disrespectful”, which he sometimes was. He was dropped from the Honors program, because “he didn’t seem to want to take advantage of the opportunity”. The “fact” is, however, that the school’s change in label didn’t change his IQ.

    In high school, when he again got in trouble for doodling (guitars) in the borders of his papers, I asked him about all of this. He said, “It’s so confusing! One teacher tells me to draw, and for years that was okay. Then, in middle school, I got in trouble for it. I was still finishing early, what did they want me to do? I was bored.” At this point, he would have preferred to be identified as a guitarist or musician, or an artist (he was enrolled in AP Art), but he was mostly known for his beard.

    My point is, this: schools change their rules, their “facts”, and correspondingly, their curriculum. With this new curriculum, the rules against adjectives have changed because adjectives and (countless) pronouns must be used to describe students. My mother was taught that “man would never walk on the moon”. Clearly that “fact” changed.

    We’re all complex, developing, learning and changing beings, and children change the way they see themselves as they grow and develop. But some labels can stick and stigmatize people. With so MANY gender “labels” available, how is a very young child supposed to navigate that? What parent wants a teacher or administrator to teach their child how they should see themself? I’ve seen teachers who bully, administrators who deceive, and school staff who give answers when they actually have no idea what the facts are. Allowing the schools to teach identity is a risk too great to take. Today’s “facts” may be disproved in the future.

    The teacher who had the rule that adjectives describing other people were hurtful, had a good idea: don’t label. Not about appearance, ability, or gender. Why tell children to choose, on the continuum between masculine and feminine, where they belong? They probably don’t care. When they do express interests in things that are down the continuum from their sex, why do we need to get all worried about labeling their gender for them. Can’t we just leave them alone, and instead put our effort to stopping the bullies, whether they are students, teachers, administrators, parents or anyone else?

    Today, my son is pursuing his PhD in Cognitive Neuroscience, and does not identify himself as a comedian or a cartoonist, although he does identify as a part-time bass guitarist. He is considered intelligent, hardworking, helpful and polite by those he mentors at the university, and is valued by his professors. I’m glad that some of his early teachers who chose their career so that they could “mold young lives” were less effective than they wanted to be, and that his family knew better than the “professionals” about how to nurture an “out of the box” kid.

    Reply
  4. Paul D. White July 20, 2019 at 9:46 am

    Parents DO have a choice regarding what their children learn. They have the right to vote with their feet and remove their children from public schools until the entire leadership and philosophical direction has changed.

    Parents who don’t take advantage of the countless non-public school options available have only themselves to blame for letting their children be brainwashed and slimed by the academically failing, culturally corrupt, socially dysfunctional, and physically dangerous environment that is EVERY city’s public school system. Of COURSE the current trend of sex ed curriculum is sick, but not any sicker than the biased, inaccurate propaganda children are taught about national and world history, the environment, race, religion, science, and more.

    What do you expect from leadership and a majority of teachers who mock, ignore, or get intimidated into silence regarding standing up for moral/spiritual values? Public schools continue to worsen for one reason: because parents place a higher priority of “free”, 7 hours/day childcare, than they do on choosing options that ensure their children are educated to be independent, contributing, morally courageous members of society.
    The non-profit Stronghold Institute counsels and works with parents nation-wide: educating them about the real facts regarding our public schools, and the numerous education options available to them and their children.
    Paul D. White
    Strongholdinstitute.com
    (775) 685.8200

    Reply
  5. Juwlz July 20, 2019 at 12:37 am

    As a parent, I feel that school should stay academic. Parents need to step up and teach their beliefs and values in the home. And those are protected by law. So putting this agenda in schools will confuse and cause more contentions than anything else. We don’t all have to have the same beliefs but we do need to be able to treat people with mutual respect. Something this generation is sorely lacking.

    Reply
  6. Janet July 19, 2019 at 11:49 pm

    This intrusive instruction teaches mature topics too soon, and unnecessarily. Some of the books proposed for children will add to confusion AND bullying. I’ve seen some books that illustrate how a little boy who likes pink, ballet, and shiny things is presenting as a girl. That seems to be a common theme in the children’s “new diversity” books. If the boy likes pink, likes to dance, likes shiny things, then he’s a “princess.” Being a boy or girl, is not about hobbies, preferences, or attractions. They are simply boys and girls, playing, learning, growing.

    Boys will play dress-up, girls will play with toy trains, and they shouldn’t have the added confusion of…does this mean I’m not really a boy or girl? And bullies shouldn’t be given the added fodder of new terms like “non-binary” or “gender fluid” to add to their repertoire. Kids shouldn’t have to struggle with the stereotypes that define these new gender classifications. When you define a boy as a girl based on his hobbies and color preferences, you are also stereotyping what is meant to be a girl. A girl that doesn’t conform to the sort that likes pink and ballet, wonders if she’s really “girl” enough, and the confusion grows. This whole thing is nefarious, especially in grade school.

    Let boys and girls be kids. Let them play and have fun, let them learn to read and do math, and teach them to be kind and fair to each other, no matter what their fellow classmate looks like or wears, no matter if they play with dolls or trains, no matter if their hair is short or long, just let them be.

    Additionally, there is a large community of people that have standards that are different when it comes to sexuality. Those with more liberal standards, who believe that minors should be taught diverse sexual practices, do not have the right to dictate principles in opposition to different cultures and faiths.

    Our children shouldn’t be told that their standards are bad, wrong, or irrelevant by instructors. In fact, California code protects people of different cultures and religions, and so, since much of this curriculum is diametrically opposed to what is taught in other cultures and faith communities which are protected by law, then teaching our children, in detail, sexual practices that go against our cultures and faiths is discriminatory and must be opposed.

    These courses are not about tolerance; they’re about teaching our children to accept and learn liberal sexual practices, in detail, in direct opposition to their beliefs. Basic sexual education is one thing, children should learn that having sex can result in pregnancy and lead to sexually transmitted diseases, but giving graphic details to children has no business in the classroom.

    If someone believes that children should be instructed in confusing, and debated, gender fluidity, as well as taught diverse sexual practices in graphic detail, then I question their focus on children’s well-being. That much confusion and detail is unhealthy for children, and some of the things that are proposed for teaching in later grades are practices that are offensive to many cultures and faiths.

    In fact, students of these cultures and faiths are placed in a hostile learning environment when forced to view, learn, accept, and be tested on sexual practices that are in opposition to their standards, which are informed by their culture or faith. It is an unnecessary humiliation to force these students to make the choice of walking out of classrooms due to the graphic nature of such lessons. It is unfair for children to have a loss in their grade point average because of their cultural or religious standards. It is poor academic instruction, to insist that students use poor grammar and vocabulary that is unrecognized in the dictionary. And the use of materials, such as Positive Prevention Plus, go too far, are too graphic, and establish cultural norms in direct opposition to many cultures and faiths.

    Within California Education Code 220 it states that no person shall be subjected to discrimination on the basis of their nationality, race or ethnicity, or religion, and within California Education Code Education Code 234.1 (a), it states that local education agencies must adopt a policy that prohibits discrimination, harassment, intimidation, and bullying based on nationality, race or ethnicity, and religion.

    It IS discrimination and harassment to force a student, whose culture or religion informs their sexuality, to participate in, and be tested on, the learning of sexual practices that are in direct opposition to their cultural and religious teachings, and as to this law, if it must be enforced, it should not follow the recommendations (which are not law), but should stay within the minimal requisites within the law, which would mean that it stays out of the grade schools, and does not need to have the graphic nature of the recommendations for middle school and high schools.

    Reply
  7. Robin Hvidston July 19, 2019 at 11:17 am

    This curriculum does not promote education – it promotes a social experiment to influence minor children. These issues should be the parent’s domain. Children should be receiving an education not be the target of social experimentation.

    Reply
  8. Layla July 19, 2019 at 11:08 am

    I live in Oak Park and my kids are in school here. Non-binary genders, I don’t care how it is presented, goes against the fundamentals and text of my religion. My faith believes in binary genders. My community strongly holds this value. My kids have seen a transgender individual before and I told them some people dress differently and that’s ok. We treat everyone with respect. It is really that simple.
    But how can my school go against my faith and family values? How can they teach my kids that gender is not binary when that is not how we have raised them? The school is teaching them that their parents are wrong. That our religion is wrong. It is discriminating against my religion. It breaks my heart that after years of living in America and escaping religious persecution, it is happening again.

    Reply
    • Pat Lynch July 19, 2019 at 1:39 pm

      Layla, schools can definitely go against people’s beliefs. For example, some people don’t believe in evolution. That doesn’t stop the schools from teaching it or even prohibiting an opt-out. There are even some people who don’t believe the Holocaust happened, but that doesn’t mean the schools have to stop teaching it. Transgenderism is a deeply held belief system. Maybe someday it will be verified by science, but until then it is more like a non-theistic religion (of which there are many). It is based on theories and feelings, not science. As a belief system it is protected by law and deserves everyone’s respect and tolerance. No transgender student should be bullied or harassed in any way. But what the schools cannot do is promote one set of beliefs over another, and it definitely seems that this is what they are trying to do.

      Reply
  9. Amy July 18, 2019 at 7:42 pm

    Interesting article

    Reply
  10. Citizen Reporter July 18, 2019 at 5:49 pm

    Note to our readers: “Anonymous” commenter here is not us or any recognized fact checking authority. It is an out of the county unknown person who is also posting here under other names. These appear to be CTA views.

    Reply
    • Anonymous July 18, 2019 at 6:17 pm

      That’s a creative name “Citizen Reporter” — I would imagine a deceptive screen name like that should be against Citizen Reporter’s terms of service. I guess we’ll find out soon.

      As for me, I am a resident of Oak Park and have children that attend Oak Park schools. You are correct, I am not a recognized fact checking authority, nor do I claim to be. I am just a concerned parent and member of the community. I have no affiliation with the CTA, OPUSD, or the Board.

      I have only posted under a single handle using a single email address.

      Your attempt to undermine truth is deceptive.

      Reply
      • Citizen Reporter July 19, 2019 at 9:44 am

        “Anonymous”, you are incorrect, on your last comment and on most things you have written, which vary from distortions to outright lies, according to people who know far more about this subject than I do. We know for a fact that you, or someone from your location, has posted here under multiple names, as has your cohort, trying to gen up a phony consensus. If anyone is using deceptive names (plural), it’s you. If you claim to be a resident of Oak Park, why are you (apparently) posting from Irvine?

        You obviously don’t read much of Citizens Journal, or you would know that I am one of its most prolific authors- and its Publisher, too. This publication is not “Citizen Reporter,” it’s Citizens Journal.

        If you would like to post here further, please email me at [email protected], with your name, address, email and phone number, which is what newspapers often demand for verification before they will post letters to the editor. We are normally very lenient about this unless the privilege is abused- and you, Ma’am, have abused it.

        Reply
  11. Anonymous July 18, 2019 at 10:44 am

    “Gender Unicorn slide from Oak Park gender identification curriculum presentation”

    MISLEADING

    This slide is from the presentation made at the Board meeting. It is not part of the curriculum that will be presented to students.

    Reply
    • Pippa July 18, 2019 at 1:16 pm

      Hi Anonymous, The Gender Unicorn is designed by Trans Student Educational Resources and was designed to teach gender fluidity and identity to children, not adults. It is recommended as a supplemental resource for K-6 in CDE recommended sex ed curriculum. If what you are saying is true and the Gender Unicorn will not be used in OPUSD K-5 classrooms, why would the counselor making the presentation use this resource to present her curriculum on gender fluidity and gender identity to adults? Wouldn’t the counselor use an adult resource to make her point? I think your fact check here is wrong.

      Reply
      • Anonymous July 18, 2019 at 4:09 pm

        Hi Pippa, I can’t comment on the counselor’s choice of resources for the presentation. That being said, I can confirm that each lesson is comprised of reading a children’s book, a discussion about the contents of the book, and a shared activity. The book for each grade level is listed in the presentation, along with the topics that will be discussed afterwards. A quick trip to the local library and you can read each of the books and see that there is no Gender Unicorn or any mention of sexuality or attraction in any of them. I can confirm this information because I was at the Board meeting, listened to the presentation, previewed all the books/materials, and talked with the counselor. Were you there too? Please don’t let your thinking get in the way of objective truth.

        Reply
  12. Anonymous July 18, 2019 at 10:43 am

    “This program, in fact, violates Education Code 220 by discriminating against the faith and cultural values of these families.”

    FALSE

    Education Code 220 states: “No person shall be subjected to discrimination on the basis of disability, gender, gender identity, gender expression, nationality, race or ethnicity, religion, sexual orientation, or any other characteristic that is contained in the definition of hate crimes set forth in Section 422.55 of the Penal Code, including immigration status, in any program or activity conducted by an educational institution that receives, or benefits from, state financial assistance, or enrolls pupils who receive state student financial aid.” The definition of discrimination is “the unjust or prejudicial treatment of different categories of people or things, especially on the grounds of race, age, or sex.”

    Reply
    • Pippa July 18, 2019 at 1:26 pm

      Hi Anonymous, Are you saying that religion is not a protected class under Ed Code 220? Once again your fact check is incorrect. Religion is equally protected along with LGBTQ. When Oak Park proposes to teach the beliefs of one protected class (LGBTQ) and it directly contradicts the beliefs of another protected class (religion), the students being discriminated against are the religious students. Ed Code 220 directly prohibits this. Oak Park’s K-5 Gender Identity Curriculum is not mandatory nor required by law. To force it on all children will result in lawsuits. Oak Park cannot discriminate like this.

      Reply
      • Anonymous July 18, 2019 at 4:28 pm

        Hi Pippa, no, quite the contrary. Religion is clearly listed as protected in Ed Code 220. The reason this claim is FALSE is because it doesn’t meet the definition of discrimination. Educating children on scientific facts in the classroom has a long history of legal precedent in this country (even when those scientific facts may be contrary to some religious beliefs). Are you suggesting that teaching evolution in biology is also a form of religious discrimination? I thought that one was settled long ago.

        Likewise, the school district can supplement the mandatory and legally required curriculum as it sees fit at its own discretion. Did you know that teaching cursive is no longer part of the mandatory curriculum? Thankfully, OPUSD continues to teach our children cursive despite it not being required. Are you suggesting it shouldn’t? Going above and beyond the requirements is what has driven Oak Park USD to become the model high-performing school district that it is today.

        Reply
        • Stats Guy July 19, 2019 at 7:46 am

          Non-binary gender is hardly a scientific fact. This is a brand new theory that has no established basis in science. However, it is a deeply held belief by some people, and therefore should be respected as such (per Ed Code 220). I have yet to see any legitimate double-blind peer-reviewed science behind it, though. Science says gender is binary. If you have a Y chromosome you are male, if you don’t you are female. Separating gender and sex is not science, it is a belief. This experiment is messing with the healthy development of millions of children. No one has any idea what the long-term effects of this experiment will be.

          Reply
      • Brian July 19, 2019 at 1:38 pm

        Can you even imagine the outcry that would ensue if a public school adopted a curriculum that taught the children of leftist identitarians even one thing that didn’t match their point of view?

        Fairness aside, the fact that our public schools can’t even reliably teach kids to read, write, compute, and understand the most basic facts of history and science should be far more important concerns of the school boards than this political pandering and nonsense on stilts.

        Reply
  13. Anonymous July 18, 2019 at 10:41 am

    “This new gender identity curriculum … discusses physical and emotional attraction”

    FALSE

    The gender identity curriculum does not discuss physical and emotional attraction whatsoever. The presentation made at the Board meeting explained the difference between gender and sexuality. This information was targeted to the adults in the room at the public meeting and this information is not present in the curriculum itself and will not be taught to students. (Source: https://docs.google.com/presentation/d/1NijjSeRfvYE5rHYz1L9QBneYOl9B6NK4ZZ_MDhWiVtM/mobilepresent?slide=id.g4e97cc41f5_0_0)

    Reply
    • Pippa July 20, 2019 at 4:26 pm

      Once again, “Anonymous” is downplaying how the counselor will reach the stated goals during her K-5 Gender Identity lessons. This curriculum is about telling children, starting in kindergarten, that gender is not only male and female but both, neither and anything else the child may believe. The OPUSD counselor used the Gender Unicorn to explain this new (and confusing) ideology to adults. Yet you are asserting that she will not use something to teach the same concept to the children. If the counselor is not going to present the obvious basis for her lessons (which is that reproductive organs do not determine gender) how will the counselor accomplish her stated goals, key points and plan that she presented? Here are some examples:

      “1st grade – Introduce non-binary concepts. Challenge gender stereotypes.”

      “2nd grade – Our exterior and interior selves might be different. Explore concept of gender identity.”

      “3rd grade – Challenge gender stereotypes. Our interior and exterior selves might be different. Point out that there are more than just two genders.”

      “4th grade – Introduce terms binary and non-binary. Gender is self-defined.”

      “5th grade – Introduce various gender identities. Discuss use of pronouns. There are many gender identities. Ask the students…how they experience gender expression.”

      When meeting her 2nd and 3rd grade goal that “our interior and exterior selves might be different,” the counselor will discuss the ideological belief that the children’s reproductive organs do not determine whether the child is a boy, girl, both or neither. When meeting her 4th grade goal that “gender is self-defined and non-binary” she will teach that the child gets to decide if he is a he, she, both or neither. She will use the Gender Unicorn to teach that physical and emotional attraction may not match. She has the Gender Unicorn, it is deceptive to assert she will not use it.

      Elementary school children are not ignorant of the fact that boys and girls have different reproductive organs. Teaching this new gender theory will be confusing for children, considering many of their parents believe the science and medicine that defines gender by reproductive organs, chromosomes and genes. Children in elementary school already have crushes on each other – they get it.

      Parents need to understand the goal. This article spells it out. It seems “Anonymous” wants to downplay the stated purpose of a gender identity curriculum. The counselor will teach the children that only the child gets to decide gender, not parents, science, genes, reproductive organs or any other scientific fact. To pretend this curriculum is solely about preventing bullying and promoting kindness, is deceptive. This curriculum forces the controversial ideology of gender fluidity on children beginning with the kindergartners.

      Reply
  14. Anonymous July 18, 2019 at 10:41 am

    “Elementary school-aged children are not considered by experts to have the cognitive maturity and frontal lobe development to understand gender constructs”

    FALSE

    Children can identify as transgender as early as age 2 or 3. Gender identity develops in most children by age 5. If 5 isn’t too young to know that you’re transgender, then how could it be too young for cisgender (meaning: not transgender) kids to understand that some people are trans or that more than two genders exist?

    Reply
    • Pat Lynch July 19, 2019 at 8:26 am

      Emily, the word cisgender is very offensive to many people. You should probably stop using it unless you want to be labelled a hater.

      Reply
  15. Anonymous July 18, 2019 at 10:40 am

    “This transgender-based curriculum could make bullying worse by arming the children with additional terminology that will cause further stereotyping.”

    FALSE

    According to the American Education Research Association (https://www.aera.net/Portals/38/docs/News Release/Prevention of Bullying in Schools, Colleges and Universities.pdf), “studies make clear that awareness about gender-related bullying and broad-based knowledge of what is protected can increase students’ sense of safety and student reports of less harassment” (pg. 27).

    Reply
  16. Anonymous July 18, 2019 at 10:37 am

    “There is no option for parents to “Opt-out” of this material as it is being incorporated into the children’s existing education structures such as the Readers Workshop.”

    FALSE

    The material was created in conjunction with Readers Workshop Teachers; however, this does not mean it is being incorporated into Readers Workshop. Rather, the material will be delivered by the counseling staff as part of the existing Character Counts lessons. (Source: https://docs.google.com/presentation/d/1NijjSeRfvYE5rHYz1L9QBneYOl9B6NK4ZZ_MDhWiVtM/mobilepresent?slide=id.g35ed75ccf_015)

    Reply
    • Pippa July 18, 2019 at 2:26 pm

      Your fact check here is somewhat disingenuous as the writer said, “SUCH AS the Readers Workshop.” The material the counselor presented clearly indicates the material could be taught in Reader’s Workshop. A slide from the presentation states, “FUTURE STEPS: Embed LGBTQ positive concepts and literature throughout curriculum.” There is another slide that states, “Currently: Library Materials at the Elementary Level.” It seems you want to downplay the purpose of the K-5 OPUSD Gender Identity Curriculum. Complete transparency and discussion about what Oak Park is doing should be welcomed instead of minimizing it, splitting hairs and pretending this isn’t controversial. Oak Park must provide all AB 329 Gender Identity material used in TK-12 classrooms if requested by parents or community members. Attempting to hide what is being taught from parents will only create distrust.

      Reply
      • Anonymous July 18, 2019 at 5:02 pm

        Hi, Pippa. At the meeting it was clearly discussed that the lessons would be implemented as part of the Character Counts lessons that are led by the school counselor. Reader’s Workshop is taught by teachers. The presentation is consistent with what was verbally discussed at the meeting. Where do you see any indication that this would be taught in Reader’s Workshop?

        “Currently: Library Materials at the Elementary Level” was also discussed at the meeting and means that all of the books used in the lessons are currently available to be checked out and read at each the school libraries.

        I couldn’t agree more that a transparent and open dialog should be welcomed. My intention is to make sure those conversations are based on facts and not false information.

        Regardless of whether AB 329 is applicable or not, the district has provided copies of the books at each of the libraries. I don’t see any attempt to hide the curriculum from anyone.

        Reply
  17. Anonymous July 18, 2019 at 10:36 am

    “On April 23, 2019, the Oak Park Board of Education quietly approved its ‘Gender Identity Curriculum’ for grades K-5 in the district.”

    MISLEADING

    The Oak Park Board of Education did approve its “Gender Identity Curriculum” on April 23, 2019. However, quietly is misrepresentative. The approval took place at a regularly scheduled meeting (not a special meeting). Section 54954.2 of the Government Code states that the agenda must be posted at least 72 hours prior to a regular meeting. The action was documented in the agenda and board packet that was posted to the public on the OPUSD website and physical locations on April 17, 2019, six days prior to the meeting well in advance of the 72-hour requirement (and two days sooner than the prior regular meeting).
    (Source: https://www.oakparkusd.org/cms/lib/CA01000794/Centricity/domain/5/board%20agendas%202018-2019/Agenda%20974%20OPUSD%20Board%20of%20Education%204_23_2019.pdf)

    Reply
    • Pippa July 18, 2019 at 2:53 pm

      Hi Anonymous, Many school boards use the tactic of not notifying parents directly but posting about matters of great interest to parents and the public on a website that no one checks. This fulfills the requirement of the law, but not the spirit of the law. This Gender Identity Curriculum is very controversial and something the board should have proactively informed parents about in advance of the meeting, by sending out an email.

      Teaching children that gender and sexuality are different is a belief system. What Oak Park intends to do is teach this belief system to the children as if it is not bitterly disputed ideology. They plan to begin teaching these ideas to young children with no concept of how this can impact their development.

      What they will be teaching is a social construct invented by Planned Parenthood and The Human Rights Campaign. These two organizations have lobbied the CA legislature, the California Department of Education, have written the Framework and are now trying to quietly pass extreme versions of the law through curriculum they helped write in all of the school districts in California without debate in the public square. School Board like OPUSD are helping them do this. Oak Park’s curriculum is not even required by law.

      How the Oak Park board packet chose to minimize the role of Planned Parenthood and The Human Rights Campaign is by stating, “Who Developed This Curriculum: The materials used are inspired by the research of various human rights and anti-discrimination organizations and have been adapted to fit the needs and culture of our community.” Why not just transparently state that it was the Human Rights Campaign and Planned Parenthood?

      It seems OPUSD is purposefully trying to keep parents and the community in the dark. This is wrong. Oak Park Unified School Board should put this item back on the agenda and let the parents and public know what they are doing. They should listen to both sides of the argument even if it takes weeks. They still have not informed the parents regarding this Gender Identity Curriculum. Why? School starts in a month. They know perfectly well it is very controversial. This is why they passed it as quietly as possible.

      Reply
      • Anonymous July 18, 2019 at 5:39 pm

        Hi, Pippa. I too wish there was a better way to keep parents updated on the school board’s agenda. The problem I believe is that everyone has their own opinion on what is of “great interest.” And if the Board tried to highlight some agenda items but not others, inevitably someone would raise an issue and that becomes a liability. The only prudent way out is to treat all actions equally, which is what is done today. Technically speaking, this is identical to how most government bodies are run from the local level up through Congress. The difference is that the larger the audience, the more likely the press helps keep the populous aware of the highlights.

        Sexuality and gender are different based on scientific facts. When something is objectively and repeatedly confirmed by scientific method it is not a “belief system.”

        As for your claims that the curriculum is based on research from Planned Parenthood and The Human Rights campaign, do you have any evidence to support this?

        I don’t see any evidence to support your claim that OPUSD is purposefully keeping parents and the community in the dark. At the meeting, there was a public comment made about keeping parents in the loop, and this same concern was echoed by several Board members. This is why the action was passed with the contingency that a parent education component be included in the curriculum. The lessons cannot take place in the classroom until this requirement is fulfilled. The likely reason why an announcement hasn’t been sent out yet is because most of the faculty and staff are on summer break. August 5th is when the faculty and staff are due to return to work. I would imagine that an announcement will come soon after. This timeline is exactly what was discussed at the Board meeting. There are no surprises here.

        Reply
  18. Anonymous July 18, 2019 at 10:34 am

    I am so grateful we live in America where Pat has the freedom of speech to share her opinions in this forum. I am saddened, however, to see that her opinions are based on inaccurate information and fear. I understand that regardless of what I say (or what other people may say), Pat will likely not change her point of view. I can only pray that God’s unconditional love and kindness will one day get through to her. For the rest of us who want to base our opinions on facts, it is important that we get the facts right, so I created the below fact-check on Pat’s statements.

    Reply
  19. Pippa July 18, 2019 at 12:47 am

    Hi BMommy – From Oak Park’s question and answer section from their presentation it states, “I have a religious/cultural belief that is in opposition to my student being exposed to this curriculum. Will the school honor this belief and remove my student during the delivery of the curriculum?” Oak Park’s answer, “State law does not allow parents to opt students out of a curriculum which addresses discrimination and harassment of protected classes, even those with religious or cultural beliefs.”

    Here is a link to the Oak Park information from their board meeting. https://www.oakparkusd.org/cms/lib/CA01000794/Centricity/domain/5/board%20agendas%202018-2019/Board%20Packet%20April%2023_2019.pdf

    Oak Park’s response here is wrong. There is no law that prohibits an opt out, there is simply no law that requires it.

    Parents have rights. When Oak Park proposes to teach the beliefs of one protected class and those beliefs discriminate against the beliefs of other protected classes, that goes against several laws. Many world religions have the fundamental belief that there are two genders, man and woman, and that these are determined by anatomy and genes, God’s purposeful creation.

    It is a great thing for public schools to have diversity. We can all agree that children need to be taught to respect each other no matter the differences in beliefs, values and cultures. However, teaching public school children who belong to a protected class, such as religion, that they must adopt a conflicting belief system, is discriminatory, as well as violates the First Amendment. Oak Park’s curriculum has the stated goal to “challenge gender norms.” It requires many students from the protected groups of culture, religion and ethnicity to learn and say things that may be directly against their beliefs, as well as commonly understood scientific and medical facts.

    Reply
  20. Stephanie July 17, 2019 at 3:06 pm

    No one is suggesting a child be bullied or misunderstood. But discriminating against students for religious, ethic and cultural beliefs by teaching children one set of beliefs as fact is inappropriate and illegal. This curriculum can violate CA Ed code and it violates parental rights.

    Reply
    • Layla July 17, 2019 at 8:01 pm

      I completely agree, thank you. They are violating the rights of many for the very few. They could just NOT violate anybody’s rights by teaching kids to all be nice and loving to each other and not get into all the confusing details.

      Reply
  21. Emily S July 16, 2019 at 10:54 pm

    I am the mother of a 6-year-old transgender son. He was assigned female at birth and began articulating clearly that he is in fact a boy from the time he was 2 years old. He refused to use the girls’ bathroom, wear girls’ clothes, or be referred to as “she” from the time that he learned how to talk. He fully transitioned at age 5. His gender identity has never once wavered and he’s now about to turn 7. Whether you understand it or not, this is something that a lot of children and adults experience and it’s everywhere, including our community.
    No one chooses to change their gender or the gender of their child. No one would choose to make life more challenging. For us, we had to do the only loving thing that we knew how: to simply acknowledge our child for who they are and understand that their gender identity is not their decision; it’s just who they are.
    When the Board of Education adopted this curriculum, they did it at a public hearing where people were invited to speak (and object). This article is fraught with inaccuracies and clearly the author is lacking current-day knowledge and understanding on the subject. First and foremost, sexuality and gender are completely different topics. Sexuality is who you go to bed WITH; gender is who you go to bed AS. Sexuality doesn’t become apparent until later in a child’s development. Gender is with them since birth. Some children have the courage to voice that they feel differently on the inside than their bodies might suggest on the outside. Others harbor these feelings internally until adulthood because of feelings of shame, self-doubt, self-loathing and fear. From a Christian perspective, don’t these children have the right to love and support too? The curriculum is focused on accepting people who are a little different and showing love and kindness to all—the true definition of good family values.
    The claim that knowledge of terminology is potentially harmful is, simply put, untrue. What’s damaging is being misgendered every day your whole life and being treated with hostility and repulsion. Only when we deepen our understanding of one another and share the truth about who we are can we truly call ourselves a community.
    Another misstatement of the author is that parents aren’t given the right to opt out; of course, they are. There is always a choice. And if a parent’s choice is to stand in the way of progress out of fear of what they do not understand, then they can keep their kids home on those days. The majority of parents I know and respect just want their kids to be healthy, to be happy, to be independent thinkers, to know that they’re unconditionally loved, and to love themselves no matter what.
    I hope this letter reaches the hearts of those who agree, as well as those who may at first glance disagree. Thank you for reading and for supporting our children to become more open minded, inclusive, secure and loving adults.

    Reply
    • Bmommy July 17, 2019 at 4:48 pm

      Well said, thank you

      Reply
    • Pat Lynch July 17, 2019 at 11:36 pm

      I’m sure you are a loving parent, just like all the other parents who may not share your viewpoint. If you chose to transition your child at the young age of 5, that is between your family and your child’s psychiatrist. Most five-year-old children don’t have the cognitive maturity to make a decision that is likely to permanently impair their future fertility when hormones and surgery are involved. Per the American Psychiatric Association Task Force, “The outcome of childhood GID [gender identity disorder] without treatment is that only a minority will identify as transsexual or transgender in adulthood (a phenomenon termed persistence), while the majority will become comfortable with their natal gender over time (a phenomenon termed desistence).”

      The transgender population is estimated at 0.6%, yet a whole curriculum is being centered around them and in fact, singling them out. Where is the curriculum discussing why someone wears a hijab, or bindi, or kippah or rosary? I’m not saying we need that either, because we should teach children to be kind to everyone regardless of their appearance. All bullying is bad, and singling out transgender children for anti-bullying is likely to have the opposite effect than what was intended.

      You are correct that the school board meetings are public, however, there was no mention of this curriculum being brought for discussion in any of the preceding Oak Park board meeting minutes. There was also no notification sent to parents that this was on the agenda to be adopted. It seems the only people aware that this was being discussed at the meeting were those involved in its development.

      I disagree with you regarding sexuality and gender being separate, especially when the presented curriculum specifically discusses physical and emotional attraction. The curriculum also clearly states the district’s plans to “Embed LGBTQ+ positive concepts and literature throughout the curriculum.” The age-appropriateness of the teaching of these sexualities is highly subjective and untested. This is a very high stakes, high impact experiment being performed on our children.

      Regardless of your opinion on sexuality and gender, attraction is a part of sexuality and thus has no legitimate place in our curriculum. The district has made it clear there is no right to “opt out” as this material is initially being presented during a counseling session with the intent on being integrated throughout the curriculum. It has also been made clear that it will be unacceptable for children to miss school because this material is being taught that day. This “our way or the highway” attitude hinders our already hurting education system.

      The incidence of a true diagnosis of gender dysphoria by a Psychiatrist using the current DSM-5 criteria is less than 1%. If there is a true transgender child in a classroom, then that can be addressed on a case by case basis with the child’s parent, teacher, administration, and the parents of other children in the class.

      The parents commenting here all love and want the best for their children. Clearly this is a very controversial issue, which is yet another reason why it should not be taught to young children. There should be medical consensus before something so impactful and untested is introduced to children.

      Reply
      • Anonymous July 18, 2019 at 11:00 am

        Pat, you seem to have a gross misunderstanding on what transitioning looks like for a 5 year old child. Hormones and surgery are never used on a child that age. At 5 years old transitioning entails, changing your hair cut, changing the clothes you wear, and perhaps changing your name. All of which are completely reversible. Hormones are not started until puberty and surgery is typically not performed until adulthood.

        The transgender population estimates in the US range quite a bit rom the 0.6% you mention on the low end to as high as 3%. For comparison purposes, the Jewish population in the US is 1.6% and the Native American population in the US is 0.9%. Does this mean we shouldn’t teach our children that Native Americans and Jews exist?

        The meeting agenda and complete board packet was posted to the OPUSD website 6 days prior to the meeting (well in advance of the 72 hours required by law). I agree it is a shame that most residents don’t pay attention to what is being discussed at the Board meetings, however the Board performed its duties as required by law.

        You can’t disagree that sexuality and gender are different just like you can’t disagree that blue is a different color than red. These are facts based on definitions.

        Please show us where the curriculum includes a discussion on attraction. The only mention of attraction anywhere was on the slide that was presented at the Board meeting to educate the adults in the room the difference between sexuality and gender. This slide is NOT part of the students curriculum. There is no mention of attraction anywhere in the curriculum.

        Reply
  22. Jane Smith July 16, 2019 at 10:07 pm

    Everyone, take a deep breath. No one is going to turn your little Johnny into a Sally. But it is important that Johnny, and Sally, both learn that Fred is allowed to like unicorns and glitter. It’s not that scary, is it? It’s not the 50’s anymore, friends, let’s open up the space for self expression a bit, eh? It will lead to happier people.

    Reply
  23. Brenda Alderman July 16, 2019 at 9:03 am

    “This transgender-based curriculum could make bullying worse by arming the children with additional terminology that will cause further stereotyping. If a little girl is a “tomboy” or a boy wears pink, they will now be labeled by their peers as “gender fluid.. In the name of breaking stereotypes, this curriculum could therefore worsen them. Elementary school-aged children are not considered by experts to have the cognitive maturity and frontal lobe development to understand gender constructs, which is a highly complex concept, even for adults.”

    Reply
  24. Jenny Young July 15, 2019 at 9:44 pm

    This is really sad that a school district would do this to their children and their families. There is enough education about gender identity during the sex ed classes, so there is really no reason to do it so young! I really hope these families band together and sit out and fight back! This also does go against a lot of family and religious values. We can all be kind, caring and loving!

    Reply
    • Bmommy July 17, 2019 at 4:58 pm

      There is nothing in the curriculum that would go against religious values. This one person editorial is filled with inaccurate information. Sex ed, if its discussed is to late, also I know it not in the family life lesson for 5th or 6th grade. This is not about teaching about sex, this is about teaching kids to be kind and respectful of differences.

      Reply
      • Pat Lynch July 18, 2019 at 1:03 am

        There were zero inaccuracies in my article. I was extremely careful in my research. I recommend that you review the Oak Park curriculum presentation. It goes beyond being respectful of differences, and Oak Park does not attempt to hide this at all. With the new gender id material they explicitly say in the presentation that there is no opt-out because it is categorized as anti-bullying rather than sex ed, even though there is a substantial amount of implied sexuality.

        Reply
  25. Linda Gomes July 15, 2019 at 9:08 pm

    Sharon West, your comments are far left and not normal. We the parents have a right to raise our children under normal educational rules and if others want their children to learn about homosexuality and “there is no such thing as a boy and a girl” (which is clearly not normal), then folks like you can teach under your own roof, not the school roof citizens pay for with their taxes.

    Reply
    • bmommy July 17, 2019 at 5:00 pm

      This is not a lesson about homosexuality only being kind to people and it’s ok to be different

      Reply
      • Linda Gomes July 21, 2019 at 12:09 pm

        Perhaps you will need to read the graphic books depicting parental rape of children. This is not about being kind at all. this is a blatant attempt by the public school system to conform normal heterosexuals to becoming homosexuals.

        Reply
        • Bmommy August 18, 2019 at 1:20 am

          not sure what books you are referring to, but they are not part of this short 30 minute one time lesson.

          Reply
  26. Cassidy July 15, 2019 at 5:52 pm

    This curriculum should’ve A) Been voted on by all citizens of California, B) Parents should be able to make their own decisions on how and when to introduce information on gender identity depending on their family’s own constitutionally protected beliefs.

    Oak Park Board of Education unfortunately deceived the very families they serve by not giving them a voice or a heads up until essentially trapped by the School Year. Good thing there are other options of education in our Valley.

    Love and tolerance needs to go both ways. Just because we don’t all believe the same … we can act respectfully of one another. Let’s show our children how that is actually done by being good examples of love and tolerance for differences of opinions. Whether face to face or behind keyboards and cell phones let’s be responsible with how we have public discourse of this topic.

    Reply
  27. Sharon West July 14, 2019 at 11:15 am

    Kudos to Oak Park school district. May this education help to prevent the ignorence of and favored marginalization of LGBTQ+ students. Extremist, fundamental views held by groups like Informed Parents of California, Pacific Justice Institute, and California Family Council are harmful and further perpetuate intolerence and hate.

    Reply

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