NY bill could force schools to teach sex ed to kindergartners, gender identity to 2nd graders

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A new bill introduced in the New York Senate, sponsored by a freshman Democrat, could make comprehensive sex education compulsory to children as young as five in public and charter schools and force schools to teach kids about gender identity by the end of second grade.

Sen. Samra G. Brouk introduced Senate Bill S2584A, which seeks to require comprehensive sexuality instruction for students in grades K-12. The bill would require the instruction of model curricula for comprehensive sex education that conforms to the “content and scope of national sexuality education standards.”

"Comprehensive sexuality education covers issues like healthy relationships, body image, and self-esteem," Brouk wrote in a justification of the bill.

"In kindergarten, that looks like basic lessons about friendship and communication, providing students with the building blocks they need to tackle issues like consent and sexual health years later in middle and high school. At older ages those lessons include health matters like preventing unintended pregnancy and sexually transmitted infections (STIs)."

The bill seeks to link the state’s schools to recommendations on sex education by the Sexuality Information and Education Council of the United States, described as a liberal-leaning interest group that advocates for “Sex Ed for Social Change.”

The group’s current standards propose that public and charter schools teach “gender identity” to kids as young as second grade. 

According to the organization’s standards chart, children by the end of the second grade should be able to “define gender identity and gender-role stereotypes.” Students at that age should also be able to “discuss the range of ways people express their gender and how gender-role stereotypes may limit behavior.”

By the end of fifth grade, the council’s standards call for students to be able to “explain differences between cisgender, transgender, gender nonbinary, gender expansive and gender identity.” They should also be able to explain that “gender expression and gender identity exist along a spectrum.”

Also, by the end of fifth grade, the standards expect that students can describe “the role hormones play in the physical, social, cognitive, and emotional changes during adolescence and the potential role of hormone blockers on young people who identify as transgender.”

By the end of eighth grade, students should be able to “define sexual identity and explain a range of identities related to sexual orientation (e.g., heterosexual, bisexual, lesbian, gay, queer, twospirit, asexual, pansexual).”

“Through policy, advocacy, education, and strategic communications efforts, SIECUS advances sex education as a vehicle for social change — working toward a world where all people can access and enjoy their own sexual and reproductive freedom,” the council contends. “Quality sex education goes beyond delivering information. It provides young people with opportunities to explore their own identities and values along with the values and beliefs of their families and communities.”

Assemblyman Michael Reilly, a Republican member of the education committee, was quoted by The New York Post as saying that “outsourcing our curriculum to this outside organization” is a concern.

Additionally, Manhattan family law attorney Ken Jewell, who has two kids who attend New York City public schools, called the bill “inappropriate.”

“These are things kids that age are not capable of comprehending yet,” he told the newspaper. 

The bill is opposed by the students' rights advocacy organization New York City Parents Union. New York City Parents Union’s Sam Pirozzolo said that the state constitution does not guarantee “we have to prepare our kids to change their sex if they want to.”

“We have schools where 95% of kids can’t read or do math at grade level, and now they want to bring in these complicated social justice issues?” He told The New York Post.

Like 22 other states, New York currently doesn’t have a statewide sex-education requirement, allowing local school districts to decide.

Last December, many raised concerns after the United Nations Population Fund released new guidance on comprehensive sexuality education, providing a sex education framework for school-aged children outside of the classroom setting.

After listing a variety of scenarios where parents and guardians learn comprehensive sexuality education alongside their children and train other parents in such curriculum, the guidance expressed concern that parents “wish their children to conform to prevailing gender norms (which are usually unequal),” The guidance stressed that “programmes must therefore help parents/guardians to model more equal gender attitudes and norms.”

Dr. Rebecca Oas, director of research for the socially conservative Center for Family and Human Rights, called it an effort to ensure that students around the world “receive the U.N.’s controversial sex education, wherever they are.”

“One of the major problems with this is that comprehensive sexuality education is trying to teach a comprehensive education through the realms of sexuality as opposed to teaching a comprehensive education of which that is a part,” Oas told The Christian Post in December. “Not everything comes back to that.”

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