Fairfax County Votes to Change Sex Ed References to Sex, Gender - NBC4 Washington

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Fairfax County Votes to Change Sex Ed References to Sex, Gender

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    Fairfax County Votes to Change Sex Ed References to Sex

    The school board voted 10 to 1 Thursday night to change the dress code to gender-neutral language and adopt a more inclusive sex education curriculum. (Published Friday, June 15, 2018)

    Students in Fairfax County will soon learn sex education in a new way.

    The school board voted 10 to 1 Thursday night to change the dress code to gender-neutral language and adopt a more inclusive sex education curriculum. 

    Currently, Fairfax County Public Schools students in eighth, ninth and 10th grades are taught that "the development of individual identity occurs over a lifetime and includes the component of sexual orientation and gender identity." The current curriculum says "biological sex" is one of four parts of individual identity.

    The change to the Family Life Education Curriculum would replace "biological sex" with "sex assigned at birth." The new curriculum will go into effect for the 2018-2019 school year. 

    Sex and Gender Changes Weighed in FCPS Curriculum

    Sex and Gender Changes Weighed in FCPS Curriculum

    Fairfax County school officials are weighing changes to the sex ed curriculum related to descriptions of sex and gender. News4's Julie Carey reports. 

     

    (Published Thursday, June 14, 2018)

    English teacher Mary Mathewson said she supports the change in the curriculum because it makes the distinction clearer between the sex one is assigned and their gender identity. The updated lesson would create space for transgender students, she said.

    "I saw one too many kids struggle with not being accepted for who they are," Matthewson said.

    Groups ranging from the Catholic Diocese of Arlington to the Fairfax County Republican Committee opposed the change in terminology. 

    "A lot of the people who are opposed to the change are making the point that what we want the kids to learn is biology, not ideology," Father Thomas P. Ferguson of the Arlington diocese said.

    Religious groups also objected to the proposed removal of the word "clergy" from a list of adults students are recommended to go to with questions about sexual orientation or identity.

    "To narrow rather than expand for young people who they might turn to as trusted adults is unfortunate," Ferguson said.

    School Dress Code Unfairly Targets Girls, Va. Official Says

    School Dress Code Unfairly Targets Girls, Va. Official Says

    A school board member in Fairfax County is expected to seek changes to the dress code to avoid body-shaming girls. News4's Erika Gonzalez has the story.

    (Published Wednesday, June 13, 2018)

    Mathewson took a different view. She said she liked the proposed new language of "parent or trusted adult."

    "I think that 'parent or trusted adult' gives kids a broad range of choices for who to go to when they're questioning things," she said.

    School district records show that between May 10 and June 8, the district received 192 emails in support of replacing "biological sex" with "sex assigned at birth." A far greater number of emails, 941, were received relaying opposition to the change.

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