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Archive for Thursday, June 29, 1995

WILL BE REVIEWED

June 29, 1995

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A controversial human sexuality curriculum in Baldwin will be re-examined in the wake of legislation making a sexual education mandate unenforceable.

Gus Wegner, curriculum director for the Baldwin school district, said district officials were checking into the legislation's possible effect on junior high sex education course work that debuted during the 1994-'95 school year.

A faculty curriculum committee will discuss the course work later this year, Wegner said. Although it's too early to tell whether changes are coming, Wegner said, it seems unlikely that the sex education curriculum will be jettisoned.

"What we're hearing from parents and polling is, 'This is important to us,'" he said.

Not all parents agree. The curriculum has drawn criticism from some district patrons, who argue that sex education should be taught in the home. Critics also have complained that the course promotes promiscuity.

District officials and faculty have defended the program, saying it promotes abstinence but provides facts about birth control and sexually transmitted diseases, such as AIDS.

The curriculum was developed in response to a 1987 state mandate requiring schools to teach students human sexuality. After Saturday, however, that mandate no longer will be enforceable.

The mandate was negated by a legislative proposal revamping the state Board of Education's accreditation program. The proposal, which will become law Saturday, eliminates the state's ability to tie the human sexuality mandate to funding. That funding has given the board leverage to make schools teach sexual education.

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