This article brought to you by Informed Carroll County.
The forthcoming school year in Carroll County Public Schools is set to see the introduction of a new “Gender Identity, Gender Expression, and Sexual Orientation” curriculum. The county has been rife with heated debates and mounting concerns among parents and teachers regarding gender ideology in schools.
The Family Life Advisory Council, the 31-member committee made up of 25 parents, students, educators, and health care professionals, is scheduled this week to assess the curriculum developed for grades 6 through 12.
The curriculum is mandated by the Maryland State Department of Education, under the direction of State Superintendent Mohammed Choudhury. While parents in counties like Montgomery are currently embroiled in lawsuits fighting for the right to opt their kids out of the curriculum, Carroll County parents will have the option to choose whether their children participate in this material.
In the curriculum, students are encouraged to explore the concept of gender identity, posing the question, “What does gender mean?” It presents gender as an evolving term that encompasses a broad and fluid spectrum, rather than being strictly bound by the sex assigned at birth. The curriculum includes exercises that encourage students to delve into terms such as gender transition, misgender, and two-spirit, using the NIH style guide as a resource.
One aspect of the curriculum that has drawn considerable attention is its conclusion, which describes the school environment as “unsafe” for certain students. In response, the curriculum encourages students to join LGBTQ+ clubs and seek out classes with LGBTQ+ content as a way to foster inclusivity and support.
While some proponents of the curriculum argue that it is crucial to educate students about gender and LGBTQ+ issues, many Carroll County parents contend that introducing gender ideology in schools could potentially cause confusion and harm to students.
“We can teach kids to be respectful to each other without obfuscating gender,” stated a concerned CCPS parent. “Everyone knows there can be effeminate men and masculine women and everything in between – that doesn’t mean we need to change what it means to be a man and woman. There are people out there that would probably call me transphobic for saying that, but they’re wrong. We need to move past the name-calling and have real dialogue.”
Teachers have also expressed their apprehensions about the curriculum, questioning how to address sensitive questions related to gender identity in the classroom. One teacher from CCPS voiced concerns, asking, “How do you tell the difference between a student that’s truly gender dysphoric vs. someone that’s been influenced by their peers or social media? It puts teachers in situations they aren’t qualified to handle.”
The curriculum is scheduled to start this Fall for high school students and the following 2024-2025 school year for 6th thru 8th grades.
The upcoming review by the Family Life Committee will play a significant role in determining the fate of the curriculum in Carroll County schools. It is a crucial time for all stakeholders to engage in open and respectful dialogue. As the school year approaches, Carroll County awaits the outcome of the committee’s evaluation and the subsequent decisions that will shape the educational experience of its students.
Sampling of gender identity content spanning 6th grade to high school.