‘If one thing is taught teach the other’: Parents speak out about OSSD controversial curriculum

Published: Sep. 29, 2021 at 5:47 PM CDT
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OCEAN SPRINGS, Miss. (WLOX) - Parents in the Ocean Springs School District took a deeper look into what their children are being taught and why. This was all unveiled at Wednesday’s special board meeting held at the district office.

“Every opportunity that they have to insert some political type of agenda, they do and it’s never a conservative view,” said Ocean Springs School District board member Kacee Waters.

Waters and many parents believe the school district’s curriculum software that’s being purchased is just too political for school-aged children.

“If it was reversed. If it was a conservative point of view, it would have been pulled immediately, but because it’s the liberal side, it’s accepted, and we can’t go against it,” said parent Kayla Walker. “If one thing is taught, teach the other also or don’t teach any of it.”

Ocean Springs School District board members discussed Wednesday what should and should not be taught within the school district’s classrooms. The software programs like Nearpod include more than just regular math and English lessons. They also include social and emotional learning lessons.

“We put a lot of trust in Ocean Springs educators, and I love the teachers that we have in this district and I know they really try to pick a fair curriculum,” said parent Ann LaSalle. “But what they have to choose from is very slanted.”

“There are videos on gender,” Waters said. “Titles of some of those videos are, ‘There is more to gender than just boy and girl,’ ‘Pronouns and what do they mean,’ and ‘This is not in the ELA section, this is in the other section.’”

Despite the concern expressed, the board approved in a 3-2 vote to fund all three curricula programs: Nearpod, Moby Max, and Brain Pop. Superintendent Bonita Coleman said sections of the software like the social and emotional learning lessons can be censored and had already been turned off in the district’s trials over the summer.

“It was truly eye-opening,” said parent Mele Larson. “I’m not going to lie, it even made me emotional. Things were talked about that I don’t even agree with, but how it was handled and how well it was thought, researched, I appreciate it. I had to go up and shake their hands. I just appreciate it.”

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