Let Kids Be Kids for as Long as Possible

A middle school from the DeKalb County School District in Georgia has caused quite a stir with a mandatory sexual identity quiz for sixth-graders. The health teacher at Lithonia Middle School presented students with a quiz that asked students to identify terms relating to sexual orientation and being transgender.

The district released a statement, saying, “DCSD has been made aware of this alleged event, and is working to verify its authenticity. We will investigate this event and take action, as appropriate, once that investigation is completed.” The district hasn’t confirmed whether or not this particular curriculum was approved.

Schools need to steer clear of this subject matter. Aside from traditional reproductive education, health classes have no business instructing other people’s children about controversial matters that may conflict with teachings given in the home or religious environment.

While it’s important to educate children about these terms, parents should have the final say on when the appropriate time would be to approach the discussion.

Schools that choose to include sexual identity teachings in their curricula need to give parents the chance to opt their children out of that portion of instruction. If schools allow parents to opt their children out of state testing, there shouldn't be an issue in excusing children from learning about transgender and gay matters. But we now live in a world where schools have stopped teaching children how to write in cursive — and replaced it with politics.

Why aren't schools implementing more important lessons like how to handle a bank account? How to read and pay bills? How to properly handle finances? Maybe some healthy instruction on how to understand the government would do our students some good.

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On the other hand, sixth-grade students are far from ignorant about LGBTQ matters. With technology dominating young minds and social media outlets being readily available, children will inevitably run into conversations and content parents aren't ready to address. Today's 12-year-old is undoubtedly far more versed in worldly matters than past generations. Parents would be doing a disservice by allowing their children to find out about topics by surfing the web, and learning about these things in a controlled setting like school could prevent this.

Even the most perfect parenting can't compete with a tech-savvy teenager. But I digress.

It shouldn't be up to a school district to have the conversation with children because they feel children are ready to hear it. I remember being in school and learning about sex and reproduction in health class. I also remember a few students not being in attendance because their parents called the school and opted to have them sit out — and that was only dealing with heterosexual reproduction.

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So to assume that all parents are OK with their children being instructed outside the parameters of traditional education is a mistake that one hopes Lithonia Middle School will correct. Let the kids be kids for as long as possible. There are guidance counselor services available for children in the LGBTQ community to utilize.

By introducing instruction that most children cannot comprehend or accept, schools are running the risk of ostracizing those LGBTQ students.

Angelina Newsom is a U.S. Army veteran and an OpsLens contributor. She served 10 years in the military, including a deployment to Afghanistan in support of Operation Enduring Freedom. She studies criminal justice and is still active within the military community. This OpsLens article is used by permission.

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Last Modified: October 16, 2017, 11:14 am

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