CONTENTIOUS VOTE: Superior School Board votes to keep gender identity curriculum

Superior school board votes to keep gender identity curriculum
Published: Aug. 25, 2022 at 10:47 PM CDT
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SUPERIOR, WI (KBJR) - The Superior School District Education Board voted in favor of keeping gender identity curriculum in 5th grade classes Thursday night.

The board voted 5 to 2 in favor of keeping the curriculum in class after a group of parents sent in a written complaint to the district in April, wanting to make it opt-in for parents and taught in middle or high school.

This comes after several months and meetings between the school board and community members discussing what should be done.

The Superintendent of the district, Dr. Amy Starzecki, said the curriculum should stay in classrooms after the parents filed the initial complaint. After Starzecki made that decision, the parents appealed to the education board, leading to Thursday’s vote.

“Just real parents, our real concerns,” Anna Calore, a parent who submitted the original complaint, said.

That’s what was debated tonight as the education board heard from community members on whether to include gender identity curriculum for 5th graders.

“Asking that we please keep the politics and personal attacks out of this,” Calore said.

Hundreds showed up and around 40 people spoke at Thursday night’s meeting.

Calore submitted the complaint with 20 parents from five of the six elementary schools in the district, advocating to make the gender identity curriculum opt-in for parents.

“Put it back in the hands of families,” she said.

A slideshow and supplemental materials are at the center of the debate, and Alexa Connolly is in support of the curriculum as it is.

“We need to teach this early, so that they feel comfortable and accepted,” she said.

The board’s vote keeps the curriculum as an opt-out for 5th grade parents.

“It doesn’t seem like people can really agree on this issue,” Connolly said.

The board and community are planning to keep the conversation going in the coming months. Members of the board brought up a proposal to allow parents to opt-out of the lesson at the beginning of the school year, starting in 2023.

“It just goes on and on,” Connolly said, “and, in the end, I see a severe decline in mental health with these young children.”

“We love all students and believe all should be supported,” Anna Calore said.

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