Oak Park School District Justifies New Gender Curriculum by Misinterpreting Laws

 

 

By Pat Lynch

Oak Park Unified School District recently adopted a new curriculum that incorporates gender identification into grades K-5, despite the fact that they are not required by law to do this. This curriculum includes controversial concepts such as non-binary gender (the theory that there are more genders than male and female).  In their presentation on the new curriculum, they cited a variety of California laws as justification for adopting their new elementary school sex education and gender identification curriculum.  A careful reading of these laws, however, reveals that none of them actually mandate what Oak Park has done.

Oak Park Slide 7

Inapplicable Laws Cited by Oak Park USD – Slide 7 from OPUSD Sex Ed Presentation

Laws Cited by Oak Park Unified School District

Assembly Bill (AB) 9, also known as Seth’s law: This law is about investigating and handling incidents of harassment and discrimination, not about adopting curriculum. It requires districts to adopt a policy that prohibits discrimination and harassment and puts forth a process for how to investigate complaints. Oak Park’s Gender Identity Curriculum directly discriminates against and bullies students in protected classes whose racial, ethnic or religious belief is that gender is binary.

AB 1266 – School success and opportunity act (2014): This bill would require that “a pupil be permitted to participate in sex-segregated school programs and activities, including athletic teams and competitions, and use facilities consistent with his or her gender identity, irrespective of the gender listed on the pupil’s records.” This law is about equal access to athletics, programs, activities and the use of facilities consistent with one’s gender expression.  There is no mention in this law recommending gender identity curriculum to be taught in K-5.

Senate Bill (SB) 48 – Fair Education Act (2012):  This law requires that social science instruction include the role and contributions of LGBTQ individuals to the development of California and the United States. Social science teachers cannot teach or use curriculum that discriminates against LGBTQ individuals. This law also requires that the district not promote any discriminatory bias for race or ethnicity, gender, religion, disability, nationality, sexual orientation, and occupation, or other characteristic.  All groups are protected by this act, not just LGBTQ.  This bill is about discrimination, not about teaching new gender theory to elementary school students.

AB 329 – California Healthy Youth Act:  This law is the new law mandating comprehensive sexual education and HIV prevention.  It details what the sexual education classes are required to teach.  This education is required to be taught once in junior high and once in high school, and gender identity is part of this required material (see Ed Code 51933.6).  There is no requirement to teach anything in the elementary school level.  The Oak Park curriculum references this bill (Ed Code section 51932.[b]) with regards to opting out in the Q&A section of their presentation: “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.” This answer is not accurate.  State law does not mandate an opt-out be offered, but there is no law that PROHIBITS a student from opting out of gender identity curriculum.  A school board MAY adopt a policy that allows students to opt out or be given an alternative assignment, even if this opt-out option is not required or mandated by law. Under Article 4 section 51937 it states that the Legislature recognizes that “parents and guardians have the ultimate responsibility for imparting values regarding human sexuality to their children.”  It is time for parents to fight to get this right back.

Title VII – The Civil Rights Act: This law prohibits discrimination in public places and provides an equal employment opportunity.  Title VII ensures that race, color, religion, sex and national origin are protected classes. As of the writing of this article, the Supreme Court is considering three cases related to adding sexual orientation (Bostock and Zarda) and gender identity (Harris) as Title VII protected classes. Decisions are expected in 2020. Regardless of the outcome of these cases, Title VII does not mention or mandate inclusion of any academic curriculum. Nor does it state that discrimination and harassment against one protected class can be mandated by schools because of the beliefs of another protected class. Therefore, if the beliefs of two protected classes are in conflict, this law does not mandate how to handle that or if the rights of one protected class override the rights of another.

Title IX: This law ensures that both sexes have equal opportunities in sports programs in schools.  No student can be denied benefits or be subjected to discrimination on the basis of sex. Title IX also ensures that the education of sexual assault victims is not negatively impacted by requiring schools to provide guidance and help.  The law itself addresses gender in a binary way. The Obama administration interpreted Title IX to include transgender students, but the Trump administration does not. This is currently being decided in the courts.  Regardless of the outcome of the court cases, this law does not require or recommend a K-5 gender identity curriculum.

Where is this Legal Manipulation Coming From?

There are organizations that are working hard to convince everyone that much more of this new curriculum is mandated than is really the case. For example, the steering committee of the California Safe Schools Coalition includes the California Teachers Association (CTA), the Gay, Lesbian, and Straight Education Network (GLSEN), the Transgender Law Center and other similar groups, and members include the ACLU. On their website they promote the idea that parents relinquish their parental rights when they choose to send their children to public schools. They state:

“Parents have a constitutional right to choose a private education for their children. If they elect to send their children to public schools, parents have very limited rights to prevent their children from receiving the entire range of instruction available in public schools.”

What they fail to mention here is that public schools are locally controlled. They do not consider that everyone pays for the public school system and all have the right to a free public education – free from harassment and discrimination. The school board decides how it implements the law for their community. In the case of the new and controversial sex education curricula recommended by the CDE, local school boards can reject all of them and instead poll the community to see what best meets the needs, priorities and values of the community. The board must meet the minimum requirements of the law, but does not need to teach sexual education beginning in kindergarten as the CDE recommends. The CDE recommends many things the law does not require and it would behoove all school boards to consider what is best for their community and local schools before implementing something that could have a lasting impact on enrollment – and could negatively affect student health. If a school board forces extremist dogma onto the public schools just because the CDE recommends it, they should be voted out. These are our children. The community ultimately decides what will be taught and to what extent because we have the power to elect board members who will listen to us.

People absolutely have the right to hold a personal belief in the gender spectrum for themselves and their families, but to teach those beliefs to other people’s children is not the place of a public school system funded by the taxpayers. There are no robust double-blind or longitudinal studies providing any data that this experiment will actually help with bullying, depression or lowering suicide rates. This is all being done under the guise of “anti-bullying” without any evidence that it will work. As such it is a very dangerous social experiment being done on our kids. Why not just teach the children respect and kindness for all? Kindness is something everyone can get behind. The best way to stop bullying is to punish bullies – so let’s just do that instead of attempting to indoctrinate children with trendy yet unscientific gender theories.

In their gender identity curriculum presentation, Oak Park Unified School District clearly implied that they were adopting their new elementary school curriculum in order to be compliant with state law. But there does not appear to be any law that actually requires this. This begs the question: if there was no legal requirement to impose all of this new transgender theory on the children of Oak Park, then why are they doing it?

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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3 Responses to Oak Park School District Justifies New Gender Curriculum by Misinterpreting Laws

  1. Leslie July 29, 2019 at 8:49 am

    I’ve read some of the new books. This curriculum would insinuate that if a girl wears pants, rather than skirts, to school, and dreams of achieving a male-dominated career, that her parents made a mistake when she was born by calling her a girl, because she may be a boy. That is totally sexist, but also teaches children to mistrust their parents. Leaving the sexism out of it, are children supposed to place greater trust in the school system, which changes their teacher every nine months, prohibits hugging, and frequently doesn’t even allow a student to choose their own electives (which greatly influence the development of their identity)?
    I find it very hard to believe that this is truly an anti-bullying campaign.

    Reply
  2. Janet July 29, 2019 at 12:43 am

    And that is the big question, “If there was no legal requirement to impose all of this new transgender theory on the children of Oak Park, then why are they doing it?”

    Why indeed? This article succinctly reviews all of the laws illustrating that none of the California laws mandate that new gender theory must be taught to K-5 children. The new gender construct movement, complete with pronouns that aren’t in the dictionary, partly because the movement recognizes they haven’t been invented yet, is a controversial movement based on societal theory more than science. Not everyone is behind this theory. The new movement has recognized that gender is a social construct, not a science, but there are many different societal cultures and faiths that have their own constructs different than the new movement. People of different cultures and faiths are part of a legally protected class under California law, and insisting on a new social construct in opposition to the social construct of these legally protected classes, is naturally going to have legitimate push back, especially when teaching these abstract concepts to children.

    Keep in mind, this has nothing to do with anti-bullying. We can teach anti-bullying without jumping on board the new gender construct bandwagon. Children can be taught not to punch, make fun of, discriminate against, or hurt the feelings of other children who stand out or might seem different than themselves.

    But children in grades K-5 have no business in participating in new social experiments. They are supposed to be learning how to read, write, add, subtract, divide, play nicely with others, share, and just be kids. When you read books to a child inferring that an attraction to pink and sparkly things indicates that you might be a girl rather than a boy, or that playing with trucks and climbing trees might indicate that you’re really a boy rather than a girl, or that you might not be a boy OR a girl, you’re going to create unnecessary stress and confusion.

    In reality, most kids know that they are a boy or a girl going into school, but they are also highly suggestible. Children have malleable minds, which is why they can take in more information faster than adults. They do not, however, have abstract thinking, the kind of thinking that is necessary when you throw a whole trunk full of new social theory at them and start them questioning who they are. Teens have a difficult enough time with abstract thinking, but at least they are beginning to get a grasp on it, but five year olds? You’re going to propose that they make enormous social decisions that can have lifetime consequences at five?

    A kid is who a kid is. If a boy wants to assert that he’s a girl. Fine. Teach the class not to bully, snear, or make fun of children who do things differently than they do, but don’t turn it around on the class and get all of the boys doubting if they are really a boy. Don’t throw confusion into a girl’s world who is feeling empowered to dream of being an astronaut, engineer, or a truck driver to the point that she doubts who she is because her dreams aren’t traditional girl dreams and might be a sign that she’s really a boy. To be honest, it seems a bit sexist to insinuate that a girl that feels empowered to pursue non-traditional interests, might not really be a girl, but a boy.

    If educators think that these kind of doubts won’t happen, it’s already happened. Children frequently come home from school because somebody said, “Boys don’t do that” or “Girls don’t do that.” As a society, we were starting to get past that and stop teasing children because of their interests. But now, the new movement wants to add…”Boys don’t do that, so you might be a girl,” or girls don’t do that, so you might be a boy.”

    I’ve looked through the proposed elementary books, and it’s a regression. As a society, we were beginning to stop labeling activities as male or female, but now, with the new movement, those activities help define what gender the child is or isn’t. It’s ridiculous, and the truth is that boys can play with dolls, and still be boys, and girls can play with toy trucks, rockets, and trains, and still be a girl. Granted, there aren’t that many boys choosing to wear dresses to school, but they can, and besides, not all girls where dresses to school either. Colors, hobbies, hopes, and dreams, already are no longer in the domain of male and female, they are for everybody, and you don’t have to change your gender to express yourself.

    So the question remains, if creating this confusion in elementary school children isn’t mandated by California law, then why are they doing it?

    Reply
  3. Stephanie July 28, 2019 at 10:44 pm

    This so clearly explains what is required and it makes a confusing situation facing our community much more understandable.

    Reply

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