The lesson presented in a video, accompanied by a worksheet that students were instructed to complete while viewing the video, covered topics of sexual orientation, gender expression, and gender identity.
According to Plymouth Community Schools Superintendent, Daniel Tyree, the actual lesson was on tolerance and the acceptance of others. Tyree said the material is on the list of national standards for 8th grade that student are supposed to learn; however, the State if Indiana did not include that particular standard. Tyree said the Indiana standard language on the topic was vague.
Tyree defended the one-day class saying, “ With the attention that the past two presidents and our governor over the last two years has given to harassment and bullying over sexual orientation and gender identity, students hear the news.” He added, “ By ignoring the topics in schools, we would be doing our students a disservice.”
All Lincoln Junior High 8th graders take a health class, but not all take it in the same semester. It is not clear how many students viewed the video .
Questions on the work sheet included, but not limited to, the following:
What is sexual orientation?
What is gender?
At what age do kids start being exposed to gender stereotypes?
Tyree said he has received several emails concerning the presentation, but he has not received any complaints. He said, “The ones I received on Tuesday night and Wednesday morning were in support of the teacher and principal.”
Tyree did indicate that the teacher of the health class is in her first year if teaching with the Plymouth Schools and did not follow board policy regarding how to address a controversial topic.” Without elaborating on what action steps they would be implementing for monitoring class presentations in the future, Tyree said, “It is important for our Curriculum Director and our principals to know what is being taught in the classrooms.”
The State of Indiana will be addressing new health curriculum standards for the next school year.
Carol Anders Correspondent