Teachers and Students Cannot Be Compelled To Participate in LGBTQ Curriculum

Mar 29, 2024

MAPLE GROVE, MN – As a result of Liberty Counsel’s demand letter to the superintendent of Osseo Area School District 279 in Minnesota, the school district has confirmed that teachers and students are free to exercise their legal rights to opt out of participating in the “LGBTQIA+ History and Culture Lesson” scheduled to be implemented in the high school curriculum next week. 

In a March 28 email, school officials stated that “teacher opt-out religious accommodations will be approved” and “students may choose to leave prior to or during the lesson.” 

According to the school district, “High schoolers will hear a 40-minute lesson in one of their ‘advisory/foundation times’ the first week of April. The skills, abilities and knowledge that scholars will attain include: Students will gain a deeper understanding of LGBTQIA+ histories and identities; Students will gain an understanding of the importance of using correct pronouns and respecting diverse identities; Students will help create a brave space that is respectful of all members of our community.” This pro-LGBTQ lesson is scheduled to be included in the high school curriculum beginning on April 2.

The lesson includes references to several pop culture figures who identify as homosexual or “transgender;” several global cultures purported to meet criteria for inclusion in “LGBTQIA+ culture,” and numerous instances of encouragement of students to accept and affirm false pronouns and identities.

For example, students will be encouraged to use false pronouns that are not consistent with biological gender and improper plurals like “they them theirs” and other nonsensical permutations. Otherwise, they risk being labeled “wrong” or “incorrect.” 

The lesson document includes slides, each one accompanied by a script, that teachers (unless opting out) must read verbatim to the students. 

The lesson asks students if they are “confused” about; “curious about” and “questioning” their sexuality, fitting within at least one of the “Q” categories in its lengthy acronym: “LGBTQIA+ (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer & Questioning, Intersex, & Asexual).” The students are instructed to answer questions that are listed on a “Closure Reflection Sheet” and turned in as an exercise. 

On March 8, 2024, less than 30 days from the teaching of the lesson, teachers were provided an advance copy of the district’s parent opt-out email. However, parents were not provided with the lesson content. So in order to review the material and consider excusing their children, parents must complete an online form to schedule a time and physically go to the school district for the review. The “Review LGBTQIA+ Learning Materials” page informed parents that “an identification card will be required to enter the Educational Service Center” and “only those that submit a form and receive confirmation will be allowed to view the learning materials” onsite. Buried at the end of paragraph five of the email was the actual “opt-out form.” 

The Osseo Area School District 279 is presenting a pro-LGBTQ curriculum that clearly conflicts with the religious viewpoints of many employees. The First Amendment protects the right to free speech and the school district cannot force “compelled speech” by requiring teachers to violate their sincerely held religious beliefs by teaching this pro-LGBTQ material. In addition, teachers may request a religious accommodation under Title VII to the Civil Rights Act of 1964 without fear of punishment. 

Regarding parents, the First Amendment and the Fourteenth Amendment protect parents’ ability to direct their children’s religious upbringing and protects parental rights from government interference. 

Liberty Counsel Founder and Chairman Mat Staver said, “Teachers and students cannot be forced to participate in speech that conflicts with their sincerely held religious beliefs. Parents must also be given adequate opportunity to review any instructional material in order to excuse their children.” 

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