North Platte school board: Opposed to proposed sex education standards

The North Platte school board generally agreed Monday that it would not follow the proposed standards on health education that have been drafted by the state board of education.

There was no formal action, but the board was in agreement, members said. Board president Skip Altig said the board has agreed to not adopt the currently proposed draft of health standards, but will monitor changes and updates for further consideration.

Altig also recommend questions or concerns about those standards should be directed to the Nebraska Department of Education at www.education.ne.gov.

The proposed standards have attracted the criticism of Gov. Pete Ricketts and several state senators. If adopted the fundamental components of sexuality would be taught to students as early as kindergarten.

The proposal has also generated opposition from parents across the state.

The state Republican party said recently that, under the standards: 

  • Students would be taught “different kinds of family structures (e.g. single parent, blended, intergenerational, cohabitating, adoptive, foster, same-gender, interracial),” with no mention of two heterosexual parents.
  • First graders would be taught about gender identity.
  • Seventh graders would learn about anal and oral sex.

According to the draft, which is published on the state department of education website, students in third grade would learn to describe the functions of basic reproductive body parts, reproduction and why all living things may have the capacity to reproduce.

Fourth graders would be taught to differentiate between sexual orientation and gender identity.

State Sen. Steve Erdman of Sidney said the proposed standards fail to teach children to accept their own God-given biological sex.

Ricketts has said the standards are comparable to the “sexualization of our kids. The only way to stop it, to fight it is if regular…Nebraskans say, ‘Enough is enough. We are not going to let this happen in our country.’”

The state board has not yet acted on the proposal.

Taxpayers to be notified of increases

In other business, Finance Director Stuart Simpson said the district might have to send postcards to taxpayers, notifying them that their taxes will increase, under a bill in the Nebraska Legislature.

Simpson said the bill, LB 644, is one of the bills he is keeping an eye on that would affect the district. The bill is now in the final stage of debate.

Introduced by Sen. Ben Hansen of Blair, LB 644 says that counties, cities, school districts and community colleges could increase their property tax requests only if they first participate in a joint public hearing, and taxpayers must be notified of the hearing.

School districts, counties, cities, and community colleges would have to notify taxpayers of the joint hearing by a postcard titled, NOTICE OF PROPOSED TAX INCREASE. And, the hearing must be held after 6 p.m., when more people will be able to attend than in the daytime.

The bill is an effort to encourage the taxpayer to weight in at budget hearings.

The requirements of a postcard notice and a joint hearing kick in if the proposed tax increase is more than the allowable growth rate of 2% per year — plus increases due to new construction, annexation of more property, or “any other improvements to real property which increase the value of such property,” the bill says.


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