Controversial proposed health ed standards generate hours of testimony, much of it in opposition | Education


Instead, districts could choose to adopt them, or use them as a framework to create their own.

The proposed standards cover many topics, everything from environmental and community health, food and nutrition, the importance of exercise and getting a good night’s sleep, to substance-abuse prevention, social-emotional and mental health and disease prevention.

Sexual development and activity are included, too, with standards on sexual reproduction, abstinence, birth control and preventing sexually transmitted diseases. Those issues also got pushback during Friday’s testimony.

But it’s the lessons on gender identity, gender expression, sexual orientation and gender stereotypes that have generated the most controversy.

The standards ask students to think about ways to promote dignity and respect for people of all genders and gender expression, and state education department officials said they were designed for looking at issues from multiple perspectives and being inclusive.

Since the department released the draft, more than 4,000 people have responded to an online survey; the department has gotten more than 2,000 emails.

Following more than four hours of testimony Friday — which board members reduced from five minutes per speaker to two minutes to accommodate everyone — several board members said they wanted the public to know they’d listened.


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