Controversial changes to sex education in the Parkway School District have parents divided, and they took their concerns to the school leaders Wednesday night.
The new proposed curriculum would include topics like gender identity- what it means to be a boy or a girl, and also explains different types of sex and their consequences.
It was discussed at Wednesday’s board meeting and some parents believe these changes just go too far.
Paula Hardin says she wants to protect her two autistic sons from too much information.
“I'm concerned about them opening a Pandora's box,” she said.
“It goes too far. It is oversexualizing our children,” said Michelle Butler, another mother who says she’s against the proposal.
These parents are concerned about teachers explaining things like sexual orientation and gender identity to their children.
“We want our students to understand that's acceptable. Regardless of how a student decides to display their interest or desires. Right now in society there are a group of people being marginalized,” said Lisa Meredith.
Meredith is the assistant superintendent in charge of teaching, learning, accountability at Parkway School District.
The goal, district leaders say, is to help students respect and relate to one another.
District leaders say if the program is approved, parents will still have the option of pulling their student out of class if they don't agree with the lesson plan that's to be taught that day. But many parents say there's too much to disagree with, and that's not a solution.
“I think when a teacher is presenting it, they take it as truth. Versus when you see it on television, I don't think they take it as seriously,” said Butler.
“I’m afraid it will have the opposite effect that they desire,” said Hardin.
Others say they want their children to face certain realities, and they trust the district to introduce these sensitive topics.
“As America becomes more egalitarian, people are more comfortable being who they are and that's a fact. I talked to my kids about it already. They don't have a problem. They're not scarred,” said James Deluca, a father of three who supports the curriculum proposal.
The proposal impacts all grade levels and also includes topics like sexting. It will be voted on March 9.
The curriculum in the district hasn't been updated since 2008.