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Sex ed standards polarize those attending State Board of Education meeting

Posted at 6:33 PM, Aug 06, 2021
and last updated 2021-08-06 19:57:51-04

LINCOLN, Neb. (KMTV) — Sex education in Nebraska has been in the spotlight since the state board of education released the first draft of their health standards this past spring.

After major blowback from conservatives who say the standards went too far, a revised version was released last week.

A State Board of Education meeting in Lincoln on Friday included cheering, booing and loud arguments between those attending.

READ MORE: Department of Education defends new draft of controversial health ed & sex ed standards

With a large number of opponents coming in numbers.

“This stuff that you’re presenting, I don’t care what draft you present, this is garbage,” said one member of the public.

Many opposed the standards due to traditional values.

“We preach abstinence to our children and to save sex for marriage between a man and a woman,” said Heather Hall.

The second draft of the standards include teaching kids about gender identity in the seventh grade, how to consent to touch and sexual activity, as well as defining body parts at earlier ages.

These were more conservative than the original standards, but some say they will go too far.

“It is a highly sophisticated and intentionally obfuscated, restatement of version one," said Gerald Kershner.

Some just want to see sex education standards scrapped in public schools, saying it’s on the parents to teach this behavior.

“So I don’t care about draft one, I don’t care about draft two or any that you propose, I oppose it,” said Amy Wilson.

“I will be honest you have lost 100% of my faith in you,” said Hall.

But there were plenty who supported these standards and some that want them to go farther, saying more needs to be taught about those with LGBTQIA+ identities.

“Learning these things are not going to make each other not heterosexual, it will just give them the knowledge to know who they are and there are different people out there and treat people with respect and kindness,” said Ruby Kenzie, an LGBTQIA+ high school student.

Multiple testifiers pointed out that suicide rate for LGBTQIA+ individuals is higher than heterosexual people and teaching about different identities in schools can help prevent suicide.

“Comprehensive sex education is suicide prevention,” said Eric Reiter.

Others feared that if sex education isn’t taught properly kids will learn sex regardless, but through methods from which nobody wants their children to learn.

“So, if school is telling them to go to their families and if their families are not a safe place, then they have nowhere left to turn but the internet, social media and pornography,” said Jamie Gould.

Nebraska State Senator Megan Hunt said she wishes she had a better sex education in school and said she may not dealt with depression and anxiety if taught properly.

She also says parents can avoid education they morally disagree with.

“Parents still have the ability to homeschool and they have the ability to send their kids to private school, which many of them are and parents will be able to opt out if they want to,” said Hunt.

The meeting spun out of control at times with people yelling at the board members. One man, Sam Schlegal, seemed to threaten an insurrection, like the events of January 6th, if the school board passes the standards.

“So what is it going to take, how many of us do you need to stand up? How many January 6ths do you need to see? I’d suggest you start paying attention,” said Schlegal.

The board will finalize the standards sometime this fall.

Multiple board members spoke later in the meeting that they largely agreed with the sex education standards and they have to represent all students. One member, Patty Gubbels, said she wasn't sure if the board should pass the sex education standards.


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