The Pittsburgh Public Schools Board unanimously adopted changes to the district’s sex education policy that is aligned with national standards, shifting the focus away from abstaining from sex and including “culturally relevant” information related to gender identity.
Rather than emphasize “sexual abstinence as the expected norm,” the new policy “stresses that abstinence from sexual activity is the only completely reliable means of preventing sexually transmitted infections and HIV when transmitted sexually,” the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reported Thursday.
According to the report, the revised policy claims the school district’s sex ed policy “is evidence-based, culturally relevant and inclusive of all students regardless of race, gender, disability, etc.”
— Planned Parenthood (@PPFA) December 2, 2015
The new policy eliminates a sentence from the previous policy, enacted in 2011, that stated, “[S]exual behaviors will be discussed in the context of STDs and under no circumstances will students be taught how to engage in these behaviors.”
The National Sex Education Standards: Core Content and Skills, K–12 (Second Edition) states the standards “were developed by the Future of Sex Education (FoSE) Initiative, a partnership between Advocates for Youth, Answer, and SIECUS: Sex Ed for Social Change that seeks to create a national dialogue about the future of sex education and to promote the institutionalization of quality sex education in public schools.”
“We’re organizing young people to fight for abortion access, LGBTQ rights, honest #SexEd, Racial Justice & ending HIV stigma,” touts Advocates for Youth, one of the standards’ creators, on its Twitter account.
🚨If you’re ages 14-24, join young people working to expand access in this moment through:
✅practical support networks,
✅clinics, pharmacies, telehealth providers
✅self-managed care strategies
— Advocates for Youth (@AdvocatesTweets) June 24, 2022
According to the standards, children in grades K-2 must be able to “define gender, gender identity and gender-role stereotypes,” and “discuss the range of ways people express their gender and how gender-role stereotypes may limit behavior.”
Children in grade 3 must begin to learn to “distinguish between sex assigned at birth and gender identity and explain how they may or may not differ;” “define and explain differences between cisgender, transgender, gender nonbinary, gender expansive, and gender identity;” and “explain that gender expression and gender identity exist along a spectrum.”
There is a concerted disinformation campaign by extremist hate groups to remove #SexEd from schools, from claims of "grooming" to attacking educators for teaching about correct names for body parts or gender identity in elementary school.
— SIECUS (@SIECUS) September 28, 2022
Planned Parenthood, Advocates for Youth, and the Sexuality Information and Education Council of the United States (SIECUS), have all been collaborating with LGBTQ activist organizations for years to create the radical education standards the groups are now lobbying school districts and state legislators to adopt.
Make 👏 Abortion 👏Accessible. Join us for this 2 part series to learn about the intersection of disability justice & abortion access from disabled folks working in #reproductivejustice.
— Advocates for Youth (@AdvocatesTweets) September 29, 2022
SIECUS has joined with radical left-wing Catholics4Choice, a dissident group that the Catholic League asserts “is the most anti-Catholic pro- abortion organization in the nation,” and “a front for elite anti-Catholics.”
As a result of its partnership with the dissident group – which appears to support the sex ed national standards, SIECUS tweeted recently people “raised in religious communities” and those “who attended religiously affiliated schools” are “at risk” for “misinformation” and “stigma” regarding abortion and sexuality because they lack understanding of “the basics” about sex.
Register here: https://t.co/oM2s7bmRC9
— SIECUS (@SIECUS) September 12, 2022
Pittsburgh Public Schools First Vice President Devon Taliaferro expressed satisfaction with the new sex ed policy, according to the Post-Gazette.
“I’ve had the pleasure of working on both sides — of my professional and my role as a school board director — so I think it is important that we are able to update our policies and get them to a place that best supports our students and make sure that they’re thoroughly educated on themselves and on their bodies and their lives,” he said.
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Susan Berry, PhD,is national education editor at The Star News Network. Email tips to [email protected]