WOW, I finally read that ‘Don’t Say Gay’ bill (HB 1557) – and man is that nickname misleading. A better one would be ‘Stop Talking to Other People’s Kids about Sex Behind their Back’ bill.
What it does NOT do:
– Prohibit teachers from saying the word ‘gay’ in the classroom. (Sorry. Your favorite celebrities lied to you, that or they can’t read.)
– Prohibit teachers from mentioning their same-sex spouse.
– Prohibits students from talking about their LGBT family members.
What it DOES do:
– Prohibit classroom instruction about sexual orientation or gender identity in grades K-3; discussions in other grades must be age and developmentally appropriate.
– Mandate that schools have to inform parents of a change in their child’s mental or emotional well being. (Like if the child asks to be referred to by a different gender…..)
– Mandates that “…school district[s] shall notify parents of each healthcare service offered at their student’s school and the option to withhold consent or decline any specific service.”
– Outlines what parents can do if their child’s school does not follow the above. (Like file a lawsuit.)
– That’s it.
I worked in schools for twelve years; four of those as a classroom teacher. Let me just tell you…
If a conversation ever turned to sex, I stopped it. Right there. And referred students to the people they should be having their “Birds & the Bees” talk with, their parents.
Because … I understand boundaries.
I taught Health & Sex Ed, but closely followed a specific text, often with another adult present, and only with students who returned a signed permission slip.
Because … I am a professional.
This one might shock you, but I was overly private when it came to my personal life, especially relationships. My students knew the bare minimum.
Because … I understand my role is to teach them, NOT be their BFF.
I am e-x-t-r-e-m-l-e-y religious, but would never, in a million years, think to discuss my personal beliefs with my students.
Because … I understand my beliefs are not shared by others, and it is not my place to project something so controversial, no matter how important it is to me, onto other – people’s – children. (I learned this in ‘Adulting 101’.)
I’ve taught current events, politics and all sorts of controversial issues. And guess what? My students had no clue which side I was on. When they asked, I refused to tell them. I insisted my job was to teach them HOW to think. Not WHAT to think.
Because … that would be an abuse of power.
Let us remember our job, our responsibilities, and our necessary ethics and boundaries we owe to our children.