Tempe Union School Board to adopt a Bible based "abstinence" policy on teaching teenagers about sex.
Let's not tell the kiddies about contraceptives and other tools that prevent pregnancies and the spread of sexually transmitted illness because the kiddies might actually use them.
I suspect the school board could care less about the students that will get pregnant or get a sexually transmitted illness because of them not giving the kids the full range of options that are available to prevent pregnancies and sexually transmitted illnesses.
Tempe school board moves on new sex-ed curriculum
Luci Scott, The Republic | azcentral.com 5:28 p.m. MST May 8, 2014
The board voted, 3-2, Wednesday to adopt a curriculum used in Seattle as a framework for district staff to tailor a curriculum.
After listening to about two hours of opinions from the audience, the governing board of Tempe Union High School District took a major step toward establishing a districtwide curriculum in sexuality education.
The board voted, 3-2, Wednesday to adopt a curriculum used in Seattle as a framework for district staff to tailor a curriculum that adheres to Arizona law and to policies of the state Board of Education and the TUHSD board.
Sexuality education is currently taught for two weeks in a required health class, but the lessons are not consistent across the district.
Board members voting for the motion by David Schapira to use the program Family Life and Sexual Health, or FLASH, as a framework were Sandy Lowe and board President Mary Lou Taylor. Moses Sanchez and Michelle Helm voted against it, preferring instead a curriculum called Choosing the Best.
The sex-ed curriculum committee had recommended FLASH, saying it met all national sexuality-education standards, and its one-year startup cost was $1,102, compared with $18,700 for Choosing the Best.
Before the vote, a parade of supporters and opponents from the audience aired their views.
"As a parent, I want my children to have access to sexuality education," said Rosalie Hirano. "High-school students today are capable of handling a comprehensive approach."
She said that as a parent, she can provide a moral context to what her children learn.
Diane Hughes, the mother of five, grandmother of 13 and great-grandmother of eight, said schools should provide facts and information, "and sex education is no exception. They need to know about potential risks, and they need to know how to protect themselves. ... As parents we set values."
Anna Chalmers said that too many children get "zero information from parents, church and community" even though many are sexually active.
"Someone's missing the boat," she said.
Among those voicing reservations about FLASH was Ann Martineau, who had researched the national standards as well as FLASH, and said there are discrepancies.
"FLASH is flawed," she said. "I can see areas in FLASH that may be in conflict with the requirements. ... The youth of Tempe deserve better than this. ... This is not the right one. Please vote no."
Peggy McClain contended that FLASH was influenced by Planned Parenthood, saying, "This is only to boost Planned Parenthood."
Later, Schapira countered by saying FLASH is not a Planned Parenthood curriculum although Planned Parenthood is mentioned in the materials among many resources.
State law requires an emphasis on abstinence, and Schapira added that FLASH mentions abstinence several times and says that it is the only 100 percent-effective method of birth control and of protecting against sexually transmitted diseases.
District Superintendent Kenneth Baca said in an interview before the meeting that Planned Parenthood will not play a part.
"No other organization (other than the district) will be involved in the development of the curriculum and selection of materials," he said.
Among the speakers was John King, a member of the governing board of Kyrene School District, who said he was at the meeting as a parent.
"There's obviously a lot of concern and discussion around this," he said in an interview. "I'm not really sure what the urgency is to do it now. ... They should step back, do their homework and understand what they're doing before they make a rushed vote."
Whatever the final curriculum is, parents must give permission in writing for their children to participate, and parents may keep their child out of specific lessons, such as the one on HIV and AIDS.
Schapira sought to allay concerns by reminding the audience that the district's curriculum will not be FLASH as such. The district's will be one tailored to conform to Arizona law.
Once district professionals create a custom-made curriculum, there are sure to be more discussions in governing-board meetings.
"We as a board have to look at every lesson," board President Taylor said. "And we all understand state law."
State sex-education requirements
Arizona law and board policy say a sex-ed curriculum must:
• Emphasize the power of the individual to control one's own behavior.
• Instruct students on how to say no to unwanted advances and peer pressure.
• Teach them about the prevention of dating abuse.
• Stress that sexually transmitted diseases have severe consequences.
• Discuss the consequences of pregnancy.
• Promote respect.
• Stress abstinence until the students are mature adults.
• Promote childbirth and adoption over abortion.
Instructional materials may not:
• Promote a homosexual lifestyle.
• Portray homosexuality as a positive alternative lifestyle.
• Include tests with questions about students' or their parents' beliefs regarding sex, family life, morals, values or religion.