RFSD reworking sex-ed policy | PostIndependent.com

RFSD reworking sex-ed policy

Roaring Fork School District Re-1 is overhauling its policy governing sex education opt-out procedures. The overhaul is part of the school board’s efforts to adjust its policies to comply with federal law. The new policy for opting out of family life, sex, HIV/AIDS and health education requires parents to show that the curriculum in those areas violates “personal beliefs and teachings” of the student or the student’s parents or guardian. Teachers are required to notify parents of controversial issues one month before they will be discussed in class. Parents must submit an exemption request to the school principal at least 10 days in advance. School board members gave the policy a first reading Wednesday night, and it must appear before them again before the policy can be approved. Currently, students receive health, sex and HIV-prevention education at almost every level from the fifth grade through the 10th grade. Glenwood Elementary Principal Sonya Hemmen said her fifth-graders learn about what they can expect when they hit puberty. The school separates girls and boys and brings in a doctor from Glenwood Medical Associates to delve into the details of the changes students will experience in adolescence. Students also watch a video about changes their classmates of the opposite sex will undergo. Hemmen said “almost none” of her students opt out of the sex ed discussions. “It’s a little bit of a relief for a lot of families,” she said, because a doctor is explaining the details of puberty to kids. Health and sex education is not the same at all schools. At Glenwood Middle School, for example, a health education curriculum is being developed to reach all three grades (sixth- through eighth-grades) there for next school year as part of the Exploratory Program, said Assistant Principal Mike Wells. Basalt Middle School teaches its sixth- and seventh-graders HIV prevention using the “Everybody” curriculum as part of a broader coursework about viruses. A health and wellness class is offered as part of the school’s physical education courses. Principal Christian Kingsbury said some students who opt out of the regular HIV prevention class to take a similar course through local churches who use the same curriculum, but separate boys and girls. Both versions of the course, he said, emphasize abstinence as the best way to prevent the spread of HIV.Condoms, sexually transmitted diseases and other details of sexuality are discussed during health class in the 10th grade. “It’s one of the more important classes in high school,” said Glenwood High School junior Samantha Ciani, because the class teaches the basics, including sex, STDs and ways to maintain overall health. Contact Bobby Magill: 945-8515, ext. 520bmagill@postindependent.com

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