Deadline Looms for Input on New Sex Ed and Gender ID Education in California - NBC Southern California

Deadline Looms for Input on New Sex Ed and Gender ID Education in California

The new curricula stems from the California Healthy Youth Act, a law passed by the state Department of Education in 2016.

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    NEWSLETTERS

    Deadline Looms for Input on Sex Ed, Gender ID Education

    This Friday marks a deadline for parents to weigh in on the state's newest education code law involving sex ed and gender identity education. Vikki Vargas reports for NBC4 News at 5 p.m. on Jan. 9, 2019. (Published Wednesday, Jan. 9, 2019)

    This Friday marks a deadline for parents to weigh in on the state's newest education code law involving sex ed and gender identity education.

    It stems from the California Healthy Youth Act, a law passed by the state Department of Education in 2016.

    Some parents say it's necessary. Some say it goes too far.

    "Babies can't talk, so grown ups make a guess by looking at their bodies," read teacher Brenda Lebsack from a book she says could be used to teach students as young as kindergarten about gender identity.

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    As a teacher she questions why this curriculum would be in the classroom at such a young age.

    "I was a kid who was a tomboy, played boy stuff, pirates not barbies," she said. "This would have really confused me."

    She says this is a discussion that should take place at home.

    "Parents don't have to be notified and there's no opt-out if it's not considered sex ed and this book go into that category," she said.

    The state Department of Education is still figuring out the guidelines that will result in new textbooks and new instruction in California classrooms.

    A recent Orange County study estimates there are 2,400 transgender youth in middle and high schools in the county and another 13,000 who identify as gay lesbian or bisexual.

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    "Children should see themselves reflected in curriculum and environmental, regardless of age or gender identity," said Michele McNutt who works with Youth First OC. She says the new law is designed to affirm children and educate others.

    But Lebsack, who is also a school board member, says parents need to educate the educators. A state spokesperson says they are not requiring schools to teach gender identity in kindergarten but are encouraging teachers to recreate a safe and positive learning environment.

    In March there will be a public hearing in Sacramento for more input.

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