Only one step remains before the local public school district can stamp “Case Closed” on the subject of sex education.
But it’s a mighty big step.
The governing board of the Lake Havasu Unified School District must now assemble a curriculum for its Family Life Education instruction. While the birds and the bees are certainly part of the discussion, the board has many other sex ed topics to consider. Sexually transmitted diseases and pregnancy prevention are but two examples.
At its special two-hour meeting Tuesday, the board came up with a draft of the district’s Family Life Education policy. Once that document is formally approved by the board at its Nov. 19 meeting, the policy must then be approved by Arizona’s Board of Education.
Currently, the school district has a moratorium on sex education until the entire program is rebuilt. In addition to deciding what will be taught and to whom, the board did agree that only board-approved instructors will do the teaching. Specifically, no entities outside of the district will teach students. Up until the previous school year, Mohave County Health Department public health nurses did the instructing using materials that were not board-approved.
That discovery was ultimately considered an inadvertent oversight.
Rather than reinventing the wheel, board member John Masden provided his fellow board members with copies of the Family Life Education policy crafted by the Tempe (Arizona) Union School District. All agreed there was a lot to like about the Tempe Union policy with minor revisions.
Highlights of the yet-to-be-formally-approved Havasu district’s policy include:
* The board will draft an ad hoc advisory committee representative of Havasu residents’ values and community standards to develop the curriculum.
* The board will review and approve sex ed lessons. It will conduct at least two hearings to get public input prior to the meeting at which sex education lessons will be considered for approval.
- Lessons won’t include tests, psychological inventories, surveys, or examinations containing any questions about personal beliefs or practices in sex, family life, morality, values, or religion on the part of students or their parents.
- The board shall provide for viewing by the public the total instructional materials to be used in approved sex education lessons within the district.
This point was the subject of much discussion in terms of creating easy access to the materials for parents who may want to review what will be taught. Board member Nichole Cohen favored making the materials available on the district’s website. However, copyright violation issues may arise if the district goes with “canned” instruction materials that cannot legally be posted on its website. If the district creates its own curriculum instead of using an “off the shelf” version, there is little chance of copyright violations.
This riddle is one of many issues the board must solve before bringing sex education back into district classrooms.
Board Vice President Lisa Roman chaired Tuesday’s meeting. Board president Kathy Cox was absent.
The Nov. 19 board meeting is 6 p.m. at the school district’s administrative office, 2200 Havasupai Blvd.