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Ricketts: Sex education portion of proposed Nebraska health standards should be scrapped
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Ricketts: Sex education portion of proposed Nebraska health standards should be scrapped

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Gov. Pete Ricketts on Thursday called the sex education portions of the Nebraska Department of Education’s proposed health education standards "politicized," saying they should be scrapped.

“The new standards from the department would not only teach young children age-inappropriate content starting in kindergarten, but also inject non-scientific, political ideas into curriculum standards,” he said in a prepared statement.

He said they represent a "significant shift" in the approach to health education, and that many of the themes should be left to parents to discuss with children at home.

The department on Wednesday released a draft of the health standards that address a wide range of issues including social, emotional and mental health, substance abuse prevention, environmental and community health, nutrition and exercise and disease prevention.

Ricketts takes issue with the human growth and development section, which includes teaching about gender identity, gender expression, sexual orientation and gender stereotypes.

It also includes instruction in sexual development and activity, including learning about puberty, reproduction, abstinence, birth control and preventing sexually transmitted diseases.

Ricketts said the draft standards were developed with the help of “political activists” and without the input of “mainstream organizations,” though he didn’t say what organizations.

Education department officials said the proposed standards were created by a team of educators from around the state, which relied on an advisory committee of doctors, psychologists and other experts in behavioral and mental health.

Reach the writer at 402-473-7226 or mreist@journalstar.com.

On Twitter @LJSreist

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