Lake Havasu City residents who are concerned about what students are taught in sex education classes may want to attend a public meeting Wednesday at 4 p.m.
The governing board of the Lake Havasu Unified School District is convening a work session at the district office to discuss family life education in district schools. “Family life education” is the district’s preferred term, but it can be used interchangeably with “sex education” because of the subject matter.
The topic has been discussed by board members – often heatedly -- at the last two governing board meetings, but no consensus between liberal and conservative viewpoints was reached.
“Our board will be discussing whether to revise our current family life policy to allow — with board review and approval of the curriculum — or not allow sex education to be taught in our district,” said Superintendent Diana Asseier. “While the actual decision will be made at the Aug. 20 board meeting, the rationale for this decision and any relevant background information will be presented and discussed at this work session so as not to prolong the business meeting on Aug. 20. If parents and community members are interested in this discussion, they should attend the work session or watch the video, which will be posted on the web site prior to the board meeting.”
Currently, instruction in sex education is offered in the district to conform with the requirements of Arizona law.
“We’ve had the same policy for 20 years. It’s probably a good idea to take a look at it and see if it needs any revisions,” said governing board President Kathy Cox.
Board member Nicole Cohen is proposing that the district “shall not provide sex education, nor include in any course of study, instruction which promotes, condones or encourages students to engage in any sexual activity or pursue any specific sexual lifestyle.”
Board member John Masden’s proposal was more directed at the biology of sexuality.
“LHUSD instruction shall be limited to reproductive systems, health consequences and disease prevention with a primary emphasis on abstinence,” Masden wrote. “Instruction shall be age appropriate and any student may also receive additional one-on-one support and instruction through the school health/nursing office or a teacher/counselor designated by the district.”
Board member Lisa Roman is more progressive in her position. She would like to see some parts of the policy removed. Her proposal struck out “Promote honor and respect for monogamous heterosexual marriage” in the district’s existing policy. In another section, she suggests removing specific language that states, in part, “Nothing shall be included in the course of study instruction that…promotes a homosexual lifestyle.”
And Roman had this to say via email: “At the work session, I’m looking forward to hearing feedback from the people most impacted by the proposed changes, specifically students and parents. I don’t support banning sex education; giving students access to age-appropriate and medically accurate information is one facet of preparing them to become responsible citizens.”
Wednesday’s work session is at the school district’s administrative offices, 2200 Havasupai Blvd.
Pam Ashley can be reached at 928-453-4237, ext. 230 or firstname.lastname@example.org.