WAUWATOSA, Wis. - The Wauwatosa School Board met Tuesday, Sept. 27 to consider a motion to rescind a sex ed curriculum passed in August.
The board approved the curriculum 6-1 Aug. 22. During that meeting, there was hours of public comment both for and against it. It teaches medically accurate terms in elementary school as well as lessons on gender identity. The one no vote was board member Michael Meier. He now claims the board broke open meeting laws during the vote.
"I didn't feel that the current proposal and the opt-out was a true choice," said Meier.
The presentation at the Aug. 22 meeting included data from a survey. The data were organized to only include responses from emails that the district could verify belonged to teachers, parents or students – bringing us to Tuesday.
Meier claimed the board violated Wisconsin's open meeting law when directing the administration to exclude some data, but the motion did not have a second, so there was no discussion and no public comment.
"The board spoke tonight," said Meier.
Meier previously filed two open meeting complaints with the district attorney's office. That is the first step in a potential lawsuit against the district.
The school board's lawyer said she could only comment generally on his claims but did say this: "You have a fractured board. You are going to have to get past this."
The administration now moves forward with the new curriculum, but the conversation continues.
"I think it’d be premature to say that this is over," said Superintendent Demond Means. "I think there has been enough community voice where people have expressed that they have some concerns with the curriculum. I think it’s incumbent on us as a school system to continue to be good listeners."
The first teacher training on the new curriculum is scheduled for Nov. 8.
Below is some information about what's included in the curriculum:
Wauwatosa's new human growth and development curriculum will expect kindergartners to know these body part names: penis, vulva and anus. The committee that created the curriculum says that research shows kids who know the correct names for their genitals are less likely to be sexually abused, are more likely to report sexual abuse if it happens, have a positive body image and have a higher self-esteem. Below is an image found in the resources for the curriculum, which FOX6 blurred.
Kindergartners will also learn about safe and unsafe touches, bullying and abuse.
Wauwatosa's second-grade plan addresses gender stereotypes. Students would be asked if certain toys or jobs are for boys or girls. The lesson plans say, "For example, some people say only girls should play with dolls, but boys can play with dolls, too. But sometimes, we are still told that only boys should play with a certain toy or that only girls should play with a toy. This might happen with clothing, activities or jobs, too."
On the issue of transgender students, a teacher resource attached to the third-grade lesson plan says, "You might feel like you’re a girl even if you have body parts that some people might tell you are ‘boy’ parts. And you might not feel like you’re a boy or a girl, but you’re a little bit of both. No matter how you feel, you’re perfectly normal." Third-graders would also learn about consent and body image.
Sixth-graders would define different types of sexual activity: "vaginal, oral, anal sex and other forms of sexual activity (masturbation)." The same grade would learn about "a range of identities related to sexual orientation (e.g., heterosexual, bisexual, lesbian, gay, queer, twospirit, asexual, pansexual)."
The lessons would "justify abstinence as the safest, most effective method of protection from disease and pregnancy."
Students in high school would learn about warning signs of abusive relationships and contraception.