School board considers radical changes

Last month, the Fairfax County School Board voted 10-1 to become the only school system in Virginia to add "gender identity" to its anti-discrimination policy. The board is now preparing its next step - a vote later this month on broad changes to its Family Life Education Program, including lessons related to gender identity beginning in seventh grade.

"The church," according to "The Truth and Meaning of Human Sexuality" (Pontifical Council for the Family, 1985), "has always affirmed that parents have the duty and the right to be the first and the principal educators of their children. Sex education, which is a basic right and duty of parents, must always be carried out under their attentive guidance" (No. 5).

Residents of Fairfax County or Fairfax City can have critical input into the board's vote. The Virginia Catholic Conference encourages concerned Catholics to consider taking the following two actions:

1) Email the board now to provide input. Go to vacatholic.org and click on "input needed" to send an email to the board. The comment period is open until June 19.

2) Attend the board's vote on the proposed FLE changes June 25 at 7 p.m. at Luther Jackson Middle School, 3020 Gallows Road, Falls Church.

Some of the proposed lesson topics include:

- Grade 8: "Individual identity will … be described as having four parts - biological gender, gender identity (includes transgender), gender role and sexual orientation (includes heterosexual, bisexual, and homosexual). The concept that sexuality is a broader spectrum will be introduced."

- Grade 10: "Emphasis will be placed on an understanding that there is a broader, boundless and fluid spectrum of sexuality that is developed throughout a lifetime."

In addition to gender identity items, other proposed changes to the Family Life Education (FLE) curriculum include:

-Moving many FLE lessons from the FLE curriculum to "Emotional and Social Health," making those lessons mandatory with no opt-out.

-Explaining, within FLE, school health care services and how to access them, as well as "how to obtain various methods" of contraception. It's unclear if parental consent is required.

"In prayer and in public, your voices are urgently needed to bring Gospel values to bear on vital decisions being made by those who represent you," said Jeff Caruso, executive director of the VCC, the public policy agency representing Virginia's Catholic bishops and their two dioceses.

For more on the church's teaching on human sexuality, consult the Catechism of the Catholic Church, which states, "Everyone, man and woman, should acknowledge and accept his sexual identity. Physical, moral and spiritual difference and complementarity are oriented toward the goods of marriage and the flourishing of family life. The harmony of the couple and of society depends in part on the way in which the complementarity, needs and mutual support between the sexes are lived out" (No. 2333).

© Arlington Catholic Herald 2015