Parents in Michigan’s Lapeer school district are raising concerns after being confronted by what some parents have deemed a sexually inappropriate display at Zemmer Middle School during parent teacher conferences.

Several parents who attended the middle school conferences last week contacted the Lapeer County Tribune to raise awareness about the display, which featured a numerous cards with terms including gender identity, queer, sexual orientation, gender non-conforming, homophobia, intersectionality and others, along with the definitions.

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“When we saw what was posted on the bulletin board, we were appalled,” parent Tara Hunter told the news site. “I am not against nor do I have a problem with any group of people, my issue is with the lack of parent approval of sexual education of our kids.

“The definitions under some of the words aren’t even correct,” she said. “If the children in public schools are receiving sexual education it should be curriculum based and only with parental permission.”

In Michigan, schools are not required to teach sex education, but they are required to inform students about HIV/AIDS. The curriculum must stress abstinence as a positive lifestyle, and schools are not required to teach about sexual orientation or gender identity. Instruction must also inform students that sex under the age of 16 is a crime, and parents must receive written notice of any sex education class and an opportunity to opt their children out, according to state law.

Many parents, however, have raised issues with educators veering into sexual topics in non sex education classes following a memo last year from the Michigan Department of Education that advised “communications, library holdings, surveys, after-school programs, and student-led non-curricular clubs … would not be subject to the sex education excusal provisions specified in statute,” according to Review magazine.

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The issue, along with efforts to celebrate the LGBTQ+ lifestyle in schools, prompted the nonpartisan nonprofit Great Schools Initiative to better educate parents about their rights to review sex education curriculums and to opt their children out if they don’t like what they see.

GSI has also raised awareness about Michigan Department of Education training videos that advise teachers on how to develop covert LGBT clubs by holding meetings during the school day and using innocuous names like “Diversity Club” or “Social Support Club,” to keep parents in the dark.

“A reasonable person cannot help but conclude that the LGBT agenda in our schools is being driven on purpose by the Michigan Department of Education with help from well-funded national nonprofit organizations,” GSI co-founder Nathan Pawl told Review last year.

“It is evident that teachers and administrators are being taught how to cloak their activities, and, in some cases, actively circumvent the law in order to force their agenda on students,” Pawl said. “This comes at a time when so many parents tell us of the atrocious academic proficiency of their schools.”

In Lapeer Community Schools, less than half of students – 49% – read at grade level, while only 31% are proficient in math, according to Niche.

When Hunter confronted the Zemmer Middle School principal about the sexuality display, Hunter said her concerns were dismissed. Officials told parents the display was posted by a student unity group, and the school has no plans to remove it, pointing to potential legal issues. Officials told Hunter students can post whatever they want, as long as it doesn’t promote or depict violence, the Tribune reports.

Hunter and other parents attempted to take their concerns online, “but our posts were being continuously denied due to them being considered too offensive,” she said.

“We have reached out to other news outlets to spread the word, but the Tribune is the only one who has responded thus far,” Hunter said.

Students who raised issues with the display at school were shouted down and threatened with suspension, she said.

Other parents who spoke with the Tribune defended the display, alleging LGBTQ+ students were more likely to kill themselves if they don’t feel welcomed and supported at school.

“If kids have questions it is much safer for them to be able to find some answers in this form versus searching online,” parent Lisa Meyer argued.

Concerned parents are slated to meet on Monday with Lapeer Community Schools superintendent Matt Wandrie, who didn’t bother to respond to the Tribune’s request for comment about the situation.

The district’s next school board meeting is on April 3.