At its June 7 meeting, the Mat-Su School Board is looking to make substantial changes its board policies in order to boost parental rights while restricting the ability of educators to use schools and classroom time to push divisive social activism, controversial library books or leftist gender ideology and sex education. Below are some of the notable changes the board is considering.


A revision of the code of ethics policy removes language that “encourages district employees to accept as guiding principles the codes of ethics published by professional associations to which they may belong.”

Since nearly all teachers belong to the Mat-Su Education Association, a branch of the hard left National Education Association, this proposed change would effectively remove the school board’s broad endorsement of directives teachers may receive from their union leaders.


In an attempt to keep school employees from pushing controversial causes on students, the board is looking amend a policy which would prevent educators and others from improperly using school time, materials or facilities to promote “activist” causes. The board already prohibits employees from “engaging in any activity in the presence of students during performance of the employee’s duties, where the activity is designed or intended to promote, further, or assert a position on any voting issue, board issue, or collective bargaining issue.”


A proposed revision to the board’s parental engagement policy explicitly states, “written permission” must be obtained from a parent “before the name or pronoun that does not conform to the child’s biological sex [is] used by a public school to address or refer to the parent’s child in person, on school identification, or in school records is changed.”


In order to empower parents who may object to certain sex-ed materials, the board is looking to amend its family life and human sexuality policy to require schools to give parents a two-week notification before “any class, or program that includes content involving gender identity, human reproduction, or sexual matter is provided to a child.” In addition, schools must obtain “written” parental permission before a child participates in the “activity, class or program.”


Proposed changes to the school counseling services policy would clarify that counselors are primarily “academic” advisors who must consult “primarily with the parents” when unsure how to respond to a student’s issues. It also removes any suggestions that counselors have authority to advise students about gender issues or personal problems without parental involvement.


A proposed policy for school libraries is also being introduced, which no longer describes libraries as “safe spaces” that provide “equitable” and “inclusive” materials. It also strongly emphases that libraries are to be primarily “academic” resources, rather than places that facilitate ill-defined “ethics and values.”

The proposed library changes emphasize that, “All materials depicting human sexuality will require parental consent before students may access the materials.” Additionally, it removes wording that gives school librarians authority to purchase books and materials without prior committee recommendations or school board approval. The library policy changes are being introduced for the first time, so they will not be up for a vote or public hearing until the meeting in late June.


— The June 7 Mat-Su School Board meeting begins at 6 p.m. in the Mat-Su Borough School District Central Office building located at 501 N. Gulkana Street in Palmer. Click here for more information about the meeting, including how to participate via Zoom.

— Click here to view the school board agenda.

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Mat-Su School Board looks to boost parent rights & curtail activist teachers at June 7 meeting

Joel Davidson
Joel is Editor-in-Chief of the Alaska Watchman. Joel is an award winning journalist and has been reporting for over 24 years, He is a proud father of 8 children, and lives in Palmer, Alaska.