Archive for Monday, May 13, 2013

School board moves forward on sex ed curriculum

May 13, 2013


A representative speaking for Lawrence's gay student community expressed full support Monday for the Lawrence school board's plan to update the district's sex education curriculum.

"Sex education is a huge priority for our organization," said Rachel Gadd-Nelson, of Lawrence Queer Youth Voice, a group that represents gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender youths in Lawrence.

Gadd-Nelson, a Kansas University graduate and an adult organizer for the group, said one of the group's main activities in recent months has been conducting student-led sex education workshops, "because they're not getting access to it in schools."

Her comments came after the school board heard a presentation about steps it would need to take to incorporate new national guidelines into the district's current human sexuality curriculum.

Updating the Lawrence district's curriculum by incorporating the national standards is listed as one of the "action steps" the board approved last year as part of its goal of improving curriculum and instruction throughout the district.

The current curriculum is built around standards that the Kansas State Board of Education adopted in 2006.

The national standards would require additional material to be taught. Among other things, it would add more information about forms of birth control other than contraception, and specific material about sexual orientation.

The standards would also include more human sexuality content in the seventh- and eighth-grade health curriculum.

Board President Vanessa Sanburn said the state standards do not mandate an "abstinence-only" curriculum when teaching about birth control — the state guidelines leave that decision up to local districts — but many school officials mistakenly believe that they are abstinence-only standards.

"Over the last several years I've spoken with teachers, social welfare workers and nurses who want to provide more comprehensive information to students but are sometimes unclear about what information they can share without putting their jobs in jeopardy," Sanburn said.

"With these new standards, I expect our district will provide clear, consistent and straightforward guidance and professional development focused on delivering sexuality education at all grade levels that is planned, simple and short, and part of a comprehensive school health approach," she said.

Sanburn said the district will continue working on an updated curriculum document in hopes of having a final document ready for the board to vote on by June.

Ag classes now count as natural science credits

In other business, the board approved allowing students to earn natural science credit for certain agricultural classes.

Until now, courses in plant science and animal science have been part of the district's career and technical education program.

But the Kansas Board of Regents recently voted to allow those courses to count as natural science credits that could count toward the state's "qualified admissions standards," a set of requirements that qualifies students for automatic admission to any of the state's six Regents universities.

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  • Comments

    seventeen 11 months, 1 week ago

    Regardless of gun rights or media...we want our kids informed and safe. Repetition is they key to learning. Maybe they will get something at school they don't get at home - or at least reinforcement of safety. The schools and teachers have a lot of responsibility and have my utmost respect. If possible, I would love to see facts shared with the kids from a school setting. As for driver's ed, now they let them test ahead so they're done in like two weeks (or private lessons done in a weekend). I agree on dragging that out a bit for more exposure. My son didn't even come away with how to put air in the tire!


    Imnotafan 11 months, 1 week ago

    Dear sheep raise your head above the grass so you can look for the wolf your lambs are at stake!


    workinghard 11 months, 1 week ago

    They need to bring back drivers ed class as part of the curriculum. I think the kids would be better drivers if they could take it over a semester.


    PFC 11 months, 1 week ago

    It is now, and will certainly remain, opt out.


    workinghard 11 months, 1 week ago

    There use to be an opt out option for sex ed in Lawrence public schools some years back. There could still be, worth checking out if you don't want your child to participate.


    SFFMassSt 11 months, 1 week ago

    Sex education makes a lot of sense since there is so much about. It's too bad gun education is not a part of the school education. Just about every argument for sex education, can be made for gun education. The flat earthers on this sex and gun issues, really need to evolve. Did you know, that gun education was at one time part of the school curriculum and sex education was not?

    I had gun education in 6th grade. No sex education tho.


    Agnostick 11 months, 1 week ago

    Whenever sex education is brought up, there will always be those suggesting that if a child can't get sexual education at home, they'd be better off not having any sexual education at all.

    Yes, it is the responsibility of the parent(s). And what happens to both the individual child, and the larger community, when parents neglect their responsibility? Fall down on their job? Can't find time in their schedules? Feel uncomfortable talking about sex with their children?

    The converse is also true: Those "family moral values and religious beliefs" also stretch their fingers out into society at large, and have a lasting impact on things like teenage pregnancy rates... STD infection rates... date rape statistics... the list goes on.

    I say opt out is the better way to go. If parents are that centered around their faith, morals etc. they will certainly be involved.

    Our daughter has had this type of education every year that she's been in school. At the beginning of every school year, we go to the school one evening and meet the teacher. The teacher outlines her philosophy, what she'll focus on in the coming year, homework, supplies, all of it. Somewhere during the evening, there's a sheet of paper that parents are directed to, that outlines this "Health & Sexual Education Curriculum" for the year. Parents are expected to look it over, decide if they want their child to participate or go to the library during that time, and sign the form.

    This is a public school curriculum. For self-appointed moral and religious leaders to inject themselves without invitation in these matters is highly inappropriate. Morals, religious instruction etc. can be addressed in the home, or in church, synagogue etc. at various times of the year to ensure that there is opt in and valuable class time is not wasted on it rather than the basic education we all want for our children.

    I don't expect a science teacher to give instruction on religious issues any more than I expect a Sunday sermon on thermonuclear dynamics. Stick to your specialties.


    optimist 11 months, 1 week ago

    Sex ed is a sensitive subject that has not only social impact but impacts family moral values and religious beliefs. The local school district should require opt in for these classes before they influence children in ways that contradict the parents objectives for raising their children. For the state or local government to inject itself without invitation in these matters is inappropriate. These classes can be addressed after hours at various times of the year to ensure that there is opt in and valuable class time is not wasted on it rather than the basic education we all want for our children.


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