Parents in some Maryland districts are pushing back against their school boards’ efforts to adopt a state health framework that instructs educators how to teach about gender identity.
The framework broadly outlines how to teach health topics by each grade level; its family life and sexuality guidelines have been the most controversial. Under the guidance, prekindergarten students, for example, are taught to “recognize and respect that people express themselves in different ways.” It further advises school systems to teach kindergartners how to “recognize a range of ways people express their identity and gender.”
Dr. Eva Goldfarb, a Public Health Professor who researches sexuality education, said Maryland’s framework is “developmentally and age appropriate.” The gender identity section teaches students noncontroversial topics, like that there are no jobs appropriate for one gender and not another. Curriculums that start the conversation at a younger age have been proved to prevent sexual abuse, create healthier relationships, decrease intimate partner violence and increase empathy, she said.