8th grade gender workshops ignite furor

One of the most contentious issues of the meeting was a page of specific definitions of LGBTQ [lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and questioning] that was handed out to the students. One parent commented that she didn’t even know the meaning of “pansexual.” Another pointed out that including the name of the organization ALLY in the title could mean that the school district had an agenda.

Parents appeared split on support for the definition sheet, however.

“Nothing they heard was new, even though we want to think it was new,” said a parent.

Another mother said she did not want her children to know such words, and added, “I’m just choosing what they’re exposed to.”

Questions also arose over the Bard students’ inclusion of their school email addresses at the bottom of the flyer—something parents on both sides, and the principal, agreed should not have happened. Zahedi said she knew it was an error as soon as she saw the sheet.

It was also debated whether the Bard students were qualified lead such exercises. Zahedi said that they had “extensive training,” including in the Date Safe program. The students were also trained in peer counseling, Zahedi added, which one parent pointed out was likely meant to apply to college-aged students.

Zahedi also said the Bard students were told before the sessions to “keep it age-appropriate,” and not speak explicitly about sex.

The Observer is withholding the names of the authors of the Facebook group posts in order not to identify their kids.

UPDATE: The original version of this story online and in print mis-identified a speaker at the meeting as Tina Goldman. We regret the error.

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