WCSD Meeting Vulva Penis 7.25.23

WCSD Sex Ed

School District Trustees Approve Curriculums

On Tuesday, July 25, the WCSD Board of Trustees met to discuss approval of the 4th and 5th Grades Sexual Health and Responsibility Education (SHARE) curriculums. Approximately 100 members of the public attended, many being seated in overflow rooms during the almost 7-hour long meeting. Supporters and those not supporting the curriculum were about equal in in-person attendance.

The curriculums were approved in a 5-2 vote with Trustees Jeff Church and Colleen Westlake opposing the motion. Church opposed the curriculum stating that topics not mandated were included, specifically content based on social and gender topics. Westlake rejected the medical accuracy of the content with its focus on the terms “person with a vulva” and “person with a penis,” stating that all persons with a vulva cannot reproduce, and all persons with a penis do not produce sperm. She also noted that accompanying videos in the lessons did not use terminology uniformly.

Students will begin receiving the curriculums in the upcoming 2023-24 academic year.

The meeting was heated at times with attendees upset with Board President Beth Smith’s management of the meeting. Her refusal to allow applause between public speakers, repeated gavel banging (see here) condescending scoldings of attendees, and consistent interruptions countering Trustee Church’s comments and questions continued throughout the meeting. Supporters of the curriculum defaced the entrance to the school district administration building with graffiti. Public commenters also questioned why Board President Smith placed the SHARE  item at the very end of the agenda when it was obvious that the large number of attendees wanting to give their input to trustees would be required to wait several hours to do so.

Parents can refuse the SHARE curriculum for their children by not signing the “Opt-In Consent” form in the online registration documents that must be completed each school year. Parents can also deliver a signed and dated document to the school site administrator and the child’s teacher to confirm that their child is not to be subjected to the curriculum at any time.

Democrat Socialists of America Enforcer 7.25.23An individual associated with the Democrat Socialists of America attended the meeting and identified himself as the “enforcer.” He stood behind speakers at the podium where district security are usually positioned. Trustee Smith allowed him to remain there for many speakers. He was seen hand-signaling supporters of the curriculum. Asked why he was at this meeting, his response was, “To protect you,” (those who spoke against the sex education lesson content).

The SHARE agenda item was preceded by the following:

  • Local Native American tribal representatives spoke about the new Land Acknowledgement language (see below) that Trustee Smith said will be read before each WCSD board meeting going forward. The tribal representatives and elders were treated with great respect and deference by all attendees — in contrast to the heckling that Trustee Smith allowed during later “non-tribal elders’” comments opposing the curriculums.

Every community owes its existence and vitality and to generations from around the world who contributed their hopes, dreams, and energy to making the history that led to this moment. Some were brought here against their will. Some were drawn to leave their distant homes in the hope of a better life, and some have lived on this land for more generations than can be counted. Truth and acknowledgment are critical to building mutual respect and connections across all barriers of heritage and difference. We begin this effort to acknowledge what has been buried by honoring the truth. We acknowledge that some of our current structures are situated in the traditional homelands of the Washoe, Numu Northern Paiute, Newe Western Shoshone, Nuwu Southern Paiute peoples. We pay respect to their elders, past and present. These lands continue to be a gathering place for indigenous peoples, and we recognize their deep connections to these places. We extend our appreciation for the opportunity to live and learn in their territory.

  • WEA President Calen Evans reminded the board that past district spending on items such as new software, new programs, or staff training have contributed to many of the issues and difficulties the district faces today. He said, “We have prioritized these solutions over adequately valuing our staff.”
  • The meeting was also extended for almost an hour for the superintendent and each trustee to recognize their own accomplishments.

by Staff

(The views expressed in this commentary are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official position of the Nevada Signal.)