Sidney School Board signs resolution opposing proposed health standards

SIDNEY, NE — Sidney's School Board has taken a stance against health standards proposed by the state board of education.

The board voted 6-0 in favor of a resolution opposing the health standards. The standards have faced plenty of criticism since being public. That was no different at Monday's meeting of Sidney's school board. 

"We need to teach kids how to do math, reading and science," board member Brenda Smith said. "But when it comes to, you know, since we threw religion out of education, we shouldn't indoctrinate them with the opposite"

Other board members said they completely agree with Smith during the meeting. Smith also said, "the fact they even proposed these is concerning."

The proposed Nebraska Health Education Standards would set the framework for how K-12 health is taught in public schools. The standards make suggestions on when schools should teach students about health-related topics. While some are the usual aspects like mental and emotional health education and injury prevention, others, such as gender identity and sexual orientation have proven to be more controversial. 

Plenty of others, including Governor Pete Ricketts have said they are opposed to the proposed standards. Recently, 30 state senators signed a letter opposing them. 

Sidney superintendent Jay Ehler said the state board of education is reviewing public comments made on the standards and are working on a second draft of them. Ehler said once the standards are passed, districts across the state will be encouraged to employ them, but not required. Currently, public schools in Nebraska are only required to follow the state standards for history, science and math. 

A full version of the resolution approved and signed by the Sidney board of education is below:


Section 1. The Board of Education hereby makes the following findings and determinations:

a). Parents and guardians are the primary educators of their own children, especially in matters of faith and morals, including sex education; and

b). The school district is to support and assist the education of children, not to replace the parent or guardian; and

c). The Nebraska Department of Education has proposed Health Education Standards which could infringe on parent's and guardian's role as primary educators of their own children; and

d). Parents and guardians in this district have voiced their concerns over some of the proposed Standards, making it clear that they do not intend to relinquish their role as primary educators their own children; and

e). Parents and guardians who support some or all of the proposed Health Education Standards have every right and every opportunity to avail themselves of any and all educational material necessary to educate their own children in a manner consistent with the proposed Health Education Standards from the Nebraska Department of Education, and their right and ability to do so is not adversely affected by this District's decision to decline the adoption of the proposed Health Education Standards

Section 2. The Board hereby directs and determines that the District will not adopt or utilize the Health Education Standards proposed by the Nebraska Department of Education. The District will make tis own determinations regarding the content of its health education curriculum. 

Section 3. At such time as the Nebraska Department of Education removes all content which promotes ideological positions on human sexuality, the District will consider the adoption of new Health Education Standards. 

RESOLVED on this 12th day of July 2021.