School districts in Grundy County will not be implementing National Sex Education Standards for the 2022-2023 school year.
Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker signed NSES standards into law last year in the hopes that the new standards would keep children safe. However, the standards quickly become a hot-button issue at school board meetings with concerned parents and religious leaders monopolizing the public participation segments, contending the standards are not appropriate, especially at the elementary level.
One parent, Emily McNabb, took her opposition for the bill even further creating the Morris Freedom Rally in response.
“I have started what I call Morris Freedom Rally. With the intention to be active instead of just complaining. To [my] surprise it has formed into a group of like minded people to come together and stand against these issues and create ways to push back. I do feel extremely passionate about what is going on in our world, our country, our state, and my town,” McNabb said.
McNabb is just one of several parents who felt the bill was inappropriate and not the job of the school, but the parents to teach their children.
It teaches them all about...society’s created genders, defunding the police and more. It is completely appalling and shockingly horrific that our teachers, school board members, administrative leaders, etc...were mostly ok in getting this passed through legislation,” she said.
School districts that do not provide comprehensive sexual health education are not required to adopt the standards and parents may choose to opt their children out.
School district that do teach personal health and safety standards to elementary students, as well as comprehensive sex education to middle and high school students, are required to follow NSES curriculum guidelines.
Where do the districts stand?
Morris Community High School. Superintendent Craig Ortiz said the board was not required to take action on comprehensive sex-education standards, because the district does not offer a course that meets the definition.
Morris Elementary District 54. Superintendent Shannon Dudek said the school board voted not to approve changes to the health curriculum, so SB 818 would not be implemented at District 54.
Saratoga Elementary School. Superintendent Ashley Ringler said Saratoga followed suit with the rest of the district and will not implement the new sex education curriculum.
Nettle Creek . Superintendent Marissa Darlington said Nettle Creek has not adopted any new curricula, and will continue to use the existing Health curriculum.
Coal City Community Unit School District #1. Superintendent Christopher Spencer said that Coal City does not have a stand alone sex education course, so they would not be participating in the new sex education course.
Illinois Senate Deputy Minority Leader Sue Rezin state released a statement condemning the new standards stating:
“I have always been an advocate for local control, especially when it comes to controversial topics, such as the new sexual education standards. I strongly spoke against the legislation in Springfield as the law significantly limits local control by forcing schools to teach new and vastly different sex education curriculum without any leeway. It has left our schools in a terrible position: either teach students these unpopular standards, or give them no sex education at all. That’s not a choice any school should be forced to make.
“I’m also extremely concerned that the standards schools are now required to teach were developed by outside advocacy groups that don’t publicly provide their funding sources for interested Illinois parents and residents,” she said.