ICYMI: Washoe Schools Say No To LGBTQ-Inclusive Sex Ed

Jun 13, 2019

The Washoe County School District Board of Trustees made their decision on a revised sexual education high school curriculum. In a 5-2 vote, the board amended and passed multiple lesson plans. However, board members said no to Lesson 1, which would have included education on sexual orientation and gender identity. KUNR’s Stephanie Serrano breaks down what happened.

Attendance at the district’s Board of Trustees meeting was through the roof and staff members quickly had to guide community members to five overflow rooms. The committee in charge provided a presentation on the revised high school lesson plans for the district's sexual education program, or S.H.A.R.E. The program hasn’t been updated since 2003. 

Some of those changes include conversations around the importance of receiving consent and monitoring your digital footprint, which everyone seemed to agree on.

But the divide was apparent on Lesson 1, a conversation on gender identity that was inclusive to the LGBTQ community and sexual orientation.

“Lesson one is about gender and gender identity, I feel like that lesson is very exclusive of all religious groups,” Lilyquist said. “For us in our home, it is a religiously held belief that gender is a core part of who you are. So for my children to go to school and be taught that, that [our teachings] are not true, is actually infringing on my rights as a parent.”

Mindy Lilyquist has four children enrolled in Washoe schools. Multiple Christian organizations backed Lilyquist, but others felt differently. One of them was YeVonne Allen, an open and self-described "super gay fabulous woman."

“This is one thing that our society is already technically moved passed. Now, actually have to be educating it, it's in our books it’s in our laws, why aren't we teaching it in the classroom?” Allen said. “As soon as they hit college, they are going to be hearing about this. They are going to be learning about it. Even if they don't do the college route and they're in the workforce, in Nevada there are protection for these folks. No matter what, if they're not being taught in K-12, it’s going to hurt them as an adult.”

In regards to Lesson 1 the committee has to go back to the drawing board to provide a revised proposal and provide the lesson plans in Spanish in order to complete the new high school curriculum.