Be careful what you wish for.
After Omaha Public Schools asked parents for feedback on updates to their 30-year-old sexual education curriculum, over a thousand parents flooded the school board room to hiss, boo and demand answers from school administrators as to what exactly their kids would be learning, the Oklahoma World-Herald reports.
The auditorium — which is actually located on Cuming Street — became the site of vented frustration as attendees pushed, shoved and shouted in each other's faces.
Officials, expecting a crowd of 400, ended the meeting early due to the staggering number of attendees.
Though there were protesters outside holding anti-comprehensive sex education signs, career education supervisor Karen Spencer-May told KETV that the school district already has comprehensive sex education — including lessons on safe sex and birth control. What's angering the parents is a suggestion to update the curriculum to include lessons on emergency contraception, abortion sexual orientation and gender identity. The World-Herald uploaded the document showing the changes.
Some are open to the changes. In an interview with KETV, attendee Jordan Delmundo said, "There's been a lot of news about the increased STD rates. We're seeing HIV in young people. They're not being well-prepared, and isn't it our responsibility as citizens and the school's responsibility to prepare them to be healthy adults?"
School officials handed out an FAQ to attendees pushing back against some of the rumors that were being spread about the sexual education program, which the World-Herald uploaded. The document noted the program begins in fourth grade, not kindergarten. It also said that Omaha schools would continue to encourage abstinence and would not distribute contraception or accompany students to get abortions.
And the district made explicit that Planned Parenthood was not involved in the design of the curriculum, a major gripe among parents.
"Planned Parenthood has came [sic] in," Amber Parker, an abstinence-only supporter, told KETV. "There is a big ring here. We are fighting this on the state level, as well."
The benefits of comprehensive sex education are well known, as are the public health ramifications of shielding children from knowledge about their sexuality.
Other countries, like the Netherlands, have seen success with starting sexual education in kindergarten, the very policy that many parents in Omaha opposed — even though the policy never existed.
Some parents at Omaha Public Schools, however, do believe that they are better equipped to teach their children than the school district. Local mother Deanna Rabuck shouted, "I have five daughters. Five daughters. Who's gonna keep them pure? Nobody. I am!"
The school board is moving forward with its plans to update the curriculum, while still trying to lend an ear to parents' voices, as long as they don't shout.
"Yes, it is a taboo subject and a very hot topic for a lot of people, but again, you've got to educate your kids, and teaching with an outdated curriculum is not a good thing," school board representative Matt Scanlan told the Oklahoma World-Herald.
You can watch a news report of the incident below.