According to a written statement provided to the Jason Rantz Show on KTTH, a school representative revealed that the Olympia School District (OSD) in Washington state is declining requests from students to abstain from LGBT Pride curriculum and activities.
According to the OSD Pride Month Proclamation, the district provides Pride-related lessons in schools as a component of its "journey toward Gender-Inclusive Schools." KTTH reported that an OSD spokesperson stated that these lessons are aligned with educational standards, and there is no option to opt out. Students who choose not to participate will be marked as having an unexcused absence.
“The Olympia School District has no opt out process for Pride-related lessons as they are aligned with the standards that are required to be taught within our schools. OSD is committed to gender-inclusive schools, and we will follow the guidance of our governing agency, the Office of the Superintendent of Public Instruction (OSPI),” a spokesperson told KTTH.
Parents informed KTTH that Pride lessons encompass Pride-themed songs, books featuring transgender characters and gender-neutral pronouns.
“The month of June is an opportunity to celebrate the narratives, identities, and contributions of those within the LGBTQIA+ community,” the Pride Month Proclamation stated. “We recognize the struggle for equal rights continues today and are committed to expanded partnerships, policy reviews and updates, and opportunities to exercise learning courage that further our journey toward Gender-Inclusive Schools.”
In the past, OSD included lessons on puberty blockers and preferred pronouns in their curriculum, which were developed in collaboration with Planned Parenthood. These lessons reportedly featured displays of pubic hair shaped to resemble animals.
KTTH identified Superintendent Patrick Murphy as the individual who stated in a June 2022 meeting that Pride lessons align with the district's obligations to health, social and emotional learning, and non-discrimination standards. He further argued that removing students from these lessons placed a burden on staff and was disrespectful to other students.
“Acknowledging and celebrating the variety of backgrounds and families of our students and staff aligns with state and federal directives to ensure that we have gender inclusive schools and to provide a safe and nondiscriminatory environment,” Murphy stated.
“To ask students, to ask staff to excuse students when those types of activities would occur, it’s not only disruptive to the learning environment and an undue burden, I would say, on staff," he said, adding, "Much more importantly, it’s offensive and demeaning to the very students and staff who are protected."