NDE releases new draft of health education standards

CORRECTION: A previous version of this story incorrectly indicated that language around certain topics had been removed entirely. The story has been rewritten to properly reflect the changes made to the latest draft by NDE.

LINCOLN, Neb. -- After hearing from hundreds of angry citizens and getting pushback from dozens of school boards and even Gov. Pete Ricketts himself, the Nebraska Department of Education is scaling back sex education topics in their newest draft proposal.

The second draft was released Thursday.

Among the major revision is the removal of many of the previous guidelines pertaining to gender identity and sexual stereotypes, but some of the standards are still there.

For instance, the suggestions are for students to be taught in seventh grade to “recognize that biological sex and gender may or may not differ.”

The standards also define gender identity as “internal, deeply held thoughts and feelings about gender."

Recommendations also still exist for fifth graders to “describe how puberty prepares human bodies for the potential to reproduce” and to “explain how external factors influence perceptions about body image, gender roles, and attractiveness.”

At the high school level, the guidelines include sexually transmitted diseases, the stages of pregnancy, and different types of preventative exams.

The second draft did away with most references to same-gender families and specifying different sexual identities.

The Department of Edudcation also pushed for increased parent, guardian, and family involvement in teaching children health-related knowledge.

They also reiterated that ultimately, the decision on which pieces of the framework each district incorporates into their curriculum lies with each individual district, as it has since this process began.

The full second draft can be found here.