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Archive for Monday, May 13, 2013

School board to review human sexuality curriculum

May 13, 2013

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The Lawrence school board will be asked Monday to begin a complete review of the district's human sexuality curriculum in order to align its courses and material with new national standards.

The Lawrence schools' sex-education courses and materials currently are designed to meet the Kansas state Department of Education standards, which were adopted in 2006. The school board, however, has adopted a policy goal of incorporating additional material to align with national standards that the American Association for Health Education released in 2012.

Health and sexuality teachers in the district met last month to review the current course materials and to identify areas that would need to be updated in order to meet the national guidelines. That group is now recommending that the board start the process of writing new curriculum policies for the district that could be adopted this summer.

Currently, the district teaches basic health topics in kindergarten through fifth grade. There also is a required nine-week health course for sixth grade students, and a required semester class for ninth grade students.

Among the recommended changes:

• More professional development for teachers to learn about the national standards as they relate to sexual orientation.

• Add a two-day lesson in ninth grade to teach about contraception methods other than abstinence.

• Review and update the district's "opt-out" policy for parents who do not want their students taking part in certain lessons.

• Consider incorporating human sexuality material into health courses for seventh and eighth grade students.

• Publish information provided by the Health Department through health classes and the district's website.

Discussion of the human sexuality curriculum is one part of a busy agenda for the board, which meets at 7 p.m. Monday at the district office, 110 McDonald Drive.

The board also will hold a closed-door executive session at 6 p.m. to discuss the progress of contract negotiations with the Lawrence Education Association.

In other business, the board will hear an update about implementation of the new Common Core standards in reading and math. It also will hear a presentation about the district's employee health insurance plan for the 2013-14 plan year.

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Contact Journal-World education reporter Elliot Hughes: ehughes@ljworld.com

Comments

RDE87 1 year, 6 months ago

I'm so glad they are having lessons about contraception methods other than abstinence!!!! Abstinence should be recommended but it is unrealistic to expect all the young women and men to practice that method until marriage. Teens should be taught all their contraception options if they decide they want to have sex. We don't want MTV scouting for '16 and Pregnant' in Lawrence.

Adrienne Sanders 1 year, 6 months ago

You are ahead of yourself... they are considering recommendations that they have lessons about contraception. Who knows if they'll go ahead with it or not.

KSManimal 1 year, 6 months ago

The whole "abstinence only" thing is silly. Folks who push that must also think we shouldn't teach teens about voting - since they aren't old enough for that. Nor should we teach about the right to bear arms - because teens aren't old enough to own guns. No reason to teach them about responsible drinking, either, since they can't legally drink until age 21. Blah, blah, blah....

Guess what, folks: your personal beliefs about teens and sex are no excuse for not providing a comprehensive sex education. Education is for life, not just for right now.

jhawkinsf 1 year, 6 months ago

If the schools are as successful at teaching human sexuality as they are at teaching the basics of math, history, literature, etc., then we're all in trouble.

And while that might sound like a condemnation of schools, that's not really what I mean. Education, whether it's history, math or human sexuality, was always intended to be a partnership between schools and the home. And the home is failing far more often than the schools. Far more often.

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