A rural Ohio school district, St. Marys City Schools, inadvertently introduced controversial training materials to new teachers earlier this year, mandating the instruction of terms like “pansexual” and encouraging instructors to withhold information about students’ sexual orientation from parents. The training, obtained by The Daily Wire, pushed educators to learn and understand diverse gender identities and instructed them to respect students’ chosen pronouns.
The curriculum obligated teachers to match gender-related terminology with their definitions correctly. Failure to align or agree with certain statements, such as disclosing a student’s sexual orientation to parents, restricted advancement through the training program.
Upon learning about the training content, the school superintendent, Bill Ruane, expressed disagreement with its contents, affirming that the materials did not align with the district’s philosophy. Ruane clarified that the training was mistakenly administered due to a switch in the training provider for mandated bullying education. He emphasized that the district had consistently upheld conservative values, supported parental rights in education, and advocated policies to preserve distinctions in women’s sports and bathrooms.
The community, represented by Rep. Jim Jordan (R-OH), echoed concerns about the training’s contradiction with the district’s values. Russell Dye, a spokesman for Jordan, affirmed that the training did not represent the St. Marys School System’s ethos or the community’s principles.
Ruane attributed the misstep to a change from SafeSchools to Public School Works for state-mandated health and safety training, wherein a module titled “LGBTQI+ Students” intended for bullying prevention inadvertently found its way into the new hire training.
The controversial training encouraged teachers not to inform parents about their children’s sexual orientation without careful consideration and suggested consulting administrators or mental health professionals before doing so. It also directed educators to prioritize students’ preferred names and pronouns in the classroom to promote their well-being.
The training provided politically charged definitions and ideologies, challenging teachers’ beliefs about gender, heterosexism, and homophobia, aligning with a perspective not endorsed by the district. Ruane assured that the district had never supported such policies and emphasized that the training would have been immediately retracted if it had been brought to his attention.
Public School Works, the education company responsible for the training materials, has been linked to encouraging schools to embrace “Pride” celebrations and promote supportive policies for LGBT students, raising concerns among parental groups regarding the potential indoctrination of students into gender ideology. Some of the company’s materials even delve into the process of gender transitioning via various methods, prompting criticism and debate among educators and parents alike across the country.