Fairfax School Board approves changes

Before a packed auditorium June 25, the Fairfax County School Board voted to add sections on sexual orientation and gender identification to its family life curriculum. The vote came on the heels of a vote last month which added "gender identity" to its non-discrimination policy, a decision some say came too quickly.

"Parents have very little trust in the school system now," said Mychele Brickner, a former school board member and parishioner of St. Raymond of Penafort Church in Springfield. "These are perfect areas for them to insert their views (on sexual orientation), and as it is now teachers are already comfortable with discussing sexual orientation issues with kindergarteners."

Brickner was part of a parent group that led a campaign against the measure. In the weeks leading up to the vote, Brickner's group joined others to send thousands of emails to school board members, urging them to vote against the measure. Local churches joined the cause by encouraging their parishioners to contact the school board.

"I was very happy that the Catholic Church found a voice with this issue," said Brickner.

Beginning in fall 2016, the revised curriculum will be taught to students as young as the seventh grade. While disappointed about the decision, Brickner was happy the curriculum changed from being mandatory to optional. Parents can choose to have their child opt-out, and the board promised that opt-out forms would be included in all the orientation packets.

"I think people who support this kind of thing want to push it even farther from tolerance to acceptance and they are starting on the children in elementary school," said Brickner.

Buyers can be reached at abuyers@catholicherald.com.

Concerned individuals can voice their opinions to all board members at the following email:

fairfaxcountyschoolboard@fcps.edu

© Arlington Catholic Herald 2015