January 21, 2009 > Fremont schools and sex education
Fremont schools and sex education
A letter from Ivy Wu, Fremont Unified School District Board
Our Board had our meeting on the Adoption of 7/8th Grade Comprehensive Health and Sex Ed Curriculum last night. The meeting lasted till 2 a.m. in the morning, with 33 speakers on this topic alone. And yes, our Board voted to adopt "7/8 F.L.A.S.H." as the curriculum with some added conditions including having the updated curriculum on our District's website for parental review; making sure that the newly revised opt in/out parental permission slip is properly used and included in the registration packet, and is available in multiple languages; providing alternative science education for students who opt out.....
It was a very difficult decision for me personally, because I understand the concerns of parents and the needs of our students. I kept on asking myself while in preparation for the meeting and all throughout the discussion the following questions:
1. What is the most appropriate curriculum for ALL of our students?
2. How can we make sure that the curriculum complies with the law to avoid the threat of lawsuits for non-compliance?
By law, our school district does not need to provide any comprehensive sex education. By law, if we offer it, we must comply with ALL the requirements and criteria set forth in Education Code Section 51930 - 51939. By law, if we offer it, we must offer it to ALL grade levels from 7 - 12.
Since our school district has adopted comprehensive health and sex education for all 7 - 12 grades for years, we need to continue offering it to our students. Given that many of our students are exposed to the information about sex either through internet and media, or through interaction with other students, we need to make sure that these students get proper "age-appropriate", and "medically correct" information.
After doing much research myself, reading all of your email, listening to all the speakers, staff and my fellow board members last night, I am confident that 7/8 F.L.A.S.H. with the above-mentioned conditions is the most appropriate curriculum FOR NOW.
This curriculum will be under close scrutiny of our Board and staff. This curriculum must comply with ALL CRITERIA on the course content set forth in the Ed Code Section 51933:
1. Age appropriate instruction and materials;
2. Medically accurate and objective factual information;
3. Available on an equal basis to pupils who are English learners;
4. Appropriate for use with students of ALL races, genders, sexual orientations, ethnic and cultural backgrounds, and pupils with disabilities;
5. Accessible to pupils with disabilities;
6. Encourage a pupil to communicate with parents/guardians;
7. Teach respect for marriage and committed relationship;
8. Teach abstinence;
9. Provide information about sexually transmitted diseases;
10. Provide information about the effectiveness and safety of all FDA-approved contraceptive methods in preventing pregnancy;
11. Provide pupils with skills for making and implementing responsible decisions about sexuality;
12. Provide pupils with information on the law on surrendering physical custody of a minor child 72 hours or younger pursuant to California Health and Safety Code and Penal Code
This curriculum must comply with the Parental Notification requirements set forth in Ed Code Sections 51937, 51938. I am happy to see the newly revised Parental Permission Form for Junior High School.
On the Junior High Permission Form, it allows parents to either OPT IN or OPT OUT their kids for the Comprehensive Sex Education Unit; and it provides that the students will be provided alternate science lessons in a supervised classroom. This form will also be in multiple languages.
In closing, I just want to thank all the staff and Health and Sex Education Committee members for the hard work in preparing and presenting the curriculum to the Board. I also want to thank my fellow board members for delving into this topic thoroughly, responsibly and collaboratively. As we are facing many more horrendous challenges including budget, student achievement, student housing, student safety ahead, I trust that our Board, with our newly appointed Superintendent, Dr. Milt Werner, and his staff will be able to continue working together as a team to steer our district ahead safely, strategically and responsibly. I also look forward to your help and support as we weather through the storms together.