by Nic Rivera
THOUSAND OAKS – In a stunning admission last Tuesday night, Conejo Valley Unified School District (CVUSD) Superintendent Mark McLaughlin publicly announced during the school board meeting that CVUSD will be implementing controversial gender identity curriculum in grades K-6. This represents a full reversal from his previous statements and from what had been published in the FAQ on the district’s website. This means that children as young as Kindergarten will be taught that gender is non-binary, meaning that there are many more genders than just male and female.
AB 329, signed into law in 2015, contains many new requirements for sex education for public schools in the State of California. One of those new requirements is the teaching of gender theory, which includes gender identification, gender expression and the gender spectrum. Gender identification means that people can choose which gender they are. Gender expression is how someone externally shows their gender. Gender spectrum (also called non-binary gender) means that there are potentially an infinite number of genders beyond just male and female.
The new curriculum is mandatory for grades 7-12, but is completely optional for K-6. Therefore, CVUSD is under no obligation at all to implement it in elementary school. Many parents oppose this new curriculum for elementary school because they believe that it could be highly confusing to developing minds and is not age-appropriate.
Dr. McLaughlin’s shocking announcement came in response to the debate over an agenda item that was submitted by a member of the community. The item called for a vote to update Board Policy 6142.1 to explicitly state that the district would not teach sex education and gender theory in any subject in grades K-6. This should have been an easy “yes” vote for all members of the board since the superintendent had already publicly stated that the district would not be teaching this material in elementary school, and had already committed to this in writing in the FAQ on the district website. A “yes” vote on this policy update should have been only a formality.
It should be noted that Dr. McLaughlin complained that his previous verbal commitment only mentioned sex education but not gender id and expression. This argument does not make any sense because AB 329 explicitly lists gender id and gender expression as part of sex education.
McLaughlin’s argument seems to be based upon the assumption that the only way to “support” children with gender dysphoria is to teach the other 99.9% of kids that their parents guessed their gender and might have been wrong. There is no evidence regarding the long-term effects of this approach and most parents do not want their children to be test subjects in this unproven social experiment.
Board president Betsy Connolly called for a consensus to see whether this agenda item should be brought back for an official vote at the next meeting. Trustee Sandee Everett was the only board member who voted “yes.” The other four board members voted “no.” This surprising result happened despite the overwhelming support of this agenda item by the many members of public who commented about it.
At least there is clarity now. Board members Betsy Connolly, Jenny Fitzgerald, Cindy Goldberg and Bill Gorback have officially gone on record that they want elementary school children to be taught that they may not actually be the gender their parents “assigned” them at birth, and that they can choose for themselves among infinite genders.
This new curriculum will potentially have devastating life-long consequences. Children who flirt with transgender ideation are whisked into an “affirmation” pipeline that results in the prescription of puberty blocking medication and gender affirming hormone treatments. These treatments very frequently result in permanent sterility for the child. Is a 12-year old mature enough to decide that they will never want to have children?
For many in our community, Tuesday’s school board meeting was a devastating disappointment. Board members in the majority had been assuring the public that nothing along these lines was happening in the district. Parents were happy that our district was not going to head down this road that ignores science and instead embraces a particularly harmful version of political correctness. Most members of the community can agree that our elementary school children can respect their transgender classmates without incorporating gender spectrum teachings into every elementary school classroom. Based on the public response, it is unlikely that local parents will be okay with Dr. McLaughlin’s deception and they are not likely to accept his new agenda for the school district.
Nic Rivera is a resident of Ventura County