An Idaho school district voted to ban classroom discussions on gender identity this week in the latest battle by conservatives to keep left-wing sexual ideology out of the schools.
The Nampa School District in Idaho will prohibit discussions or lessons on gender identity, transgenderism, and sexual orientation in the classroom.
The past few years have seen a national debate between parents and leftist educators’ attempts to spread homosexual and transgender politics in the classroom.
The Idaho school board passed the new policy after reading it a second time, and it will affect all grade levels.
Idaho Bans Teachers From Teaching Gay Agenda in Classrooms
In a 3-1 vote, board members chose to leave the responsibility of discussing, addressing, and educating children about gender identity and other related subjects to the parents and not the schools or its staff.
The Nampa School District will recognize the “rights of parents to discuss and educate their child on every subject matter, especially the non-academic subject matters not addressed in the District,” The Idaho Press reported.
The new rules also prevent school staff from being forced to use a student’s preferred pronouns, the Idaho News reported.
Critics compare the policy to Florida’s “Don’t Say Gay” law, which also banned classroom instruction about sexual orientation and gender identity in all grades.
“I don’t want you to discuss my child’s sexuality unless I know you and I are on the same page. Sorry, I just don’t,” Brooke Taylor, a Nampa school board member, told the Idaho News.
Nampa resident and former California resident Mindy Oldenkamp told board members, “By not allowing the discussion of gender and orientation topics within schools, you’re no longer creating a safe environment for our kids.”
“This quickly becomes a life and death issue for some,” Oldenkamp added, saying that the policy could exacerbate suicide rates, which are higher among those in the gay and transgender demographics.
Mandy Simpson, a math teacher and trustee in the district, told reporters that she voted against the policy since limiting what teachers could teach in the classroom could make children feel uncomfortable and could impact the quality of their education.
“If kids don’t feel safe in a classroom, they will not even begin to try to learn the reading, the writing, [and] the math (sic),” said Simpson.
Students Will Still Have Right to Discuss Sexuality With Staff
The school district will now require students to use restrooms and locker rooms that correspond with their biological sex.
School administrators are still allowed to work with parents on a particular basis if their child is unwilling or unable to use those facilities.
Marco Valle, a Nampa trustee, called the new policy “neutral” and said that it is “not stopping the kids” from discussing the issue, but it is only “stopping the district.”
Meanwhile, Nampa Education Association President Brian Coffey, who opposed the new rules, admitted that nothing would change much inside the classroom but is still worried about its impact on the gay community.
“When these issues do come up, it’s usually the students that bring them up and usually with each other, so unless I’m really out of touch, the present and future sex lives of people is not something we talk about in public in Nampa, at all, much less in public schools,” said Coffey, who is also a Nampa High School teacher.
He said that any student who wishes to discuss the subject can still confide in teachers over sexuality, as the policy is not focusing on limiting student speech but primarily on the staff.
“To the extent a teacher might be in a position to facilitate a discussion among a group of students, I still feel like that’s on the table and could be done. Is there some risk to that because little Johnny goes home and tells his mom that Tommy has two mommies, and now that mom is upset that there are conversations like that, sure that could happen,” Coffey added.
“The message, I think, in the broader context is unequivocal. We are definitely in a moment where the LGBTQ+ community is under attack,” he said.