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Wauwatosa School District parents continue to speak out after approval of expanded sex-ed curriculum

Some parents say the curriculum is "too much, too soon." Others say it's a long over-due update.
tosa hgd curriculum
Posted at 9:37 PM, Sep 12, 2022
and last updated 2022-09-12 23:23:24-04

WAUWATOSA, Wis. — As a new school year begins in Wauwatosa, a new human growth and development curriculum (commonly known as sex ed) is in place. The school board passed the expanded curriculum 6-1 three weeks ago. The meeting drew an overflow crowd and heard hours of public comment.

On Monday, a group of parents gathered in front of the school administration building to express their concerns.

"We want there to be more of a partnership, we want there to be more of a dialogue," said Michele Hughes, a mom of two kids in the district.

Hughes isn't happy with aspects of the new curriculum. For example, she and others point to kindergartners learning the anatomically correct names for genitalia as "too much, too soon."

"Parents and caregivers should always be the primary educator of their child on matters pertaining to sexuality no matter what the age," Hughes said.

Jon Etter also has two kids in the district. But, unlike Hughes, he said he wants his kids to learn that information and is happy with the updated curriculum.

"Little kids can make their health needs known to us, and also to be safe they can clearly communicate to us if something inappropriate has happened," Etter said.

Parents against the updated curriculum also expressed concerns about some of the books being taught. They specifically raised concerns about "Sparkle Boy" and "My Princess Boy."

When TMJ4 asked Hughes about her and other parents' concerns with "My Princess Boy" she said, "I've never read the book. I don't have a copy of the book. But I think it does lend to there has been this idea in the community that people against this curriculum are against the LGBTQ community and that's just simply false."

Etter, who is also a teacher at Tosa East and the Gender and Sexuality Alliance Adviser, thinks differently.

"Personally, and also my students, do see it as being anti-LGBTQ," Etter said. "These books are not inappropriate and not an immense amount of time is being devoted to these books."

Etter said the curriculum is important at all grade levels when it comes to affirming students' identities.

"From grade school, their identities are acknowledged and affirmed and their health needs are finally being addressed in the curriculum," Etter said.

The school board previously said parents can ask for their child to be excused from certain lessons in the curriculum.

A full overview of the updated curriculum is available on the school district's website.

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