An elective course offered at Allendale High School is causing outrage among some parents.
Those parents publicly voiced their opinion at a meeting Tuesday night with the district's Sexual Education Advisory Board (SEAB), who is currently reviewing the content in question.
The 'Family and Relationships' course includes a lesson about gender identity, was added several years ago but never properly vetted by the board.
All new content regarding sexual education is required to receive the school board's approval, according to Allendale Superintendent Dr. Garth Cooper.
"There are some lessons that had been included, unfortunately, they did not vet it through the board as they should have," Cooper said.
Cooper said he was not working in the district when the lesson was initially included, so he is not sure why the content did not go through the standard vetting process.
Typically, new content must be vetted by the SEAB, who are required to have two public hearings before making an official recommendation to the school board, who has the final say.
"Some parents are just concerned about having that content taught in our classrooms, and they have the right to have that concern," Cooper said. "But I think there is also a segment of the population who would support giving our students as much information as they can."
"Fluidity? It means there is constant change, but there isn't constant change. Facts are facts and we are male and female," said one parent at the meeting.
Some parents want the lesson to continue.
"I see this as a class that opens up discussion. It doesn't say you are this way or that way, it promotes a healthy discussion of different people that are in this community," said a mother at Tuesday's meeting.
The required sexual education curriculum taught at both the middle and high school has also been in question since last summer, but this was not the point of Tuesday's meeting.
Correction: A previous version of this story said “gender fluidity” instead of “gender identity.” We have fixed this error.
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