Hillsboro School Board Allows Sex Education Classes After Opposition
Teachers in Hillsboro County can resume classes on human sexuality despite being asked to remove detailed depictions of the human body.
Social conservatives, backed by longtime activist Terry Kemple, opposed precepts that district leaders said were developed in accordance with state law and emphasized abstinence to prevent pregnancy and disease.
“This is a curriculum that we feel strongly about,” superintendent Addison Davis said at a school board meeting Tuesday. The vote was necessary because state law requires annual approval for 7th, 8th, and 9th grade reproductive health and illness classes.
School board member Lynn Gray said the curriculum was reviewed by community members and lawyers. He said he wanted to see me learn.
But speakers in the audience said students were given information about sex at too young an age, and that the parent opt-out form wasn’t clear enough as to why they wanted their children out of class.
In an email campaign leading up to the conference, critics objected to links to Planned Parenthood documents within the materials. They said children should be able to use phrases such as “private parts” in place of specific terms referring to genitalia, even when reporting instances of sexual abuse.
A widely shared email from Kemple questioned the text of the material reminding teachers that a student’s gender identity does not necessarily equate to sexual anatomy. I interpreted it to mean that there are more than two genders.
Speakers at Tuesday’s conference included Pastor Travis Smith of Hillsdale Baptist Church, who told the school board: And neither should you.
Proponents of the curriculum included gynecologist Tracy Miller.
“I understand that talking about gender and body parts can be very uncomfortable, but the reality is that most of these kids have learned what they need to know to keep themselves fit. I don’t,” she said.
Debate continued as the board debated whether to approve the lessons learned or postpone the vote until the next meeting.
Board members Melissa Snively and Stacey Hahn have also tried to put it off, taking the side of parents who want greater control over library books.
I snuck in that the opt-out material wasn’t clear enough. “Warning, warning, warning, parents,” she said. “There are many things that may make you uncomfortable and may make your child uncomfortable.”
Hahn expressed concern about the links to materials describing condoms and the morning after pill.
Board member Karen Perez refutes data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, which shows that 1 in 4 girls and 1 in 13 boys are sexually abused. Member Jessica Vaughn cites research showing that students become more sexually responsible after class, and believes most students are right on a detailed level.
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Chairman Nadia Combs said, “We cannot live in the 1950s. This is the reality.”
The board approved the curriculum 5-2, but Hahn and Snively disagreed.