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A new state law mandating school districts to provide comprehensive sexual health education has caused a rift between some parents and educators in Santa Clara County. In classrooms, district chat america sex santa clara and school board rooms around the county, the conversation lately has pivoted to one subject: sex. Everyone from parents to educators seems to be talking about it. For some districts, that has meant completely redoing their curriculum, a move that has been met with open arms by some parents and hostility from others.
At the center of the controversy is Health Connected, a Redwood City nonprofit that several districts in the region have contracted to teach a sex education program called Teen Talk. The program was updated following passage of the California Healthy Youth Act, which went into effect in January and requires school districts to provide comprehensive sexual health education and HIV prevention education once in middle school and once chat america sex santa clara high school.
It also requires districts to address such hot-button issues as the transmission of sexually transmitted diseases, gender identities and sexual orientations. A section outlining different sex acts—vaginal, anal and oral—also has drawn the ire of some parents. In response, Health Connected changed the pronoun used in descriptions of the acts from the second to the third person in other words, from you to he or shebut defended the importance of keeping the section in the curriculum.
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Its aim was to address gaps in what students were learning in school and expand and strengthen existing requirements, which were last reformed in Until now, no sex ed was required other than HIV prevention. While many districts did provide sex ed, there is no way to determine to what degree, according to Karlin-Resnick. Saratoga and Los Gatos are both taking their own approaches. Outcry over the Teen Talk curriculum began at a March 14 public hearing before the Cupertino Union School District and peaked two weeks later at a meeting attended by more than people. District parent Sri Sarma told the school board at the March 28 meeting she reviewed the curriculum when it was on display at the teacher resource center from Feb.
The entire approach was all about perform, not about inform.
The entire assumption made by the curriculum that we reviewed was that all our children are already sexually active. A month later, the district is still deciding what to do and waiting for the board to provide direction. Rachel Nolan, a seventh-grade science teacher at Cupertino Middle School, said students will not receive any sex education this school year.
She said that the curriculum was very similar to Teen Talk, except for the teaching approach and the required references to gender identity and homosexual relationships. Nolan also said that in her experience, most seventh-grade students benefit from training, regardless of their background. I think culture has nothing to do with it.
The curriculum is age appropriate and that takes precedence over anything else. All Cupertino district parents contacted for this article refused to speak to this newspaper on the. Chitra Panjabi, president and CEO of the Sexuality Information and Education Council of the United States, said she comes from a South Asian immigrant background and her family faced many of the same issues surrounding sexuality education when she was school-aged.
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But she said even though some parents may be uncomfortable with the idea, students still need to be educated. She said studies have shown that comprehensive sexuality education actually delays sexual activity. But, she said, LGBTQ youth need to learn in settings that are inclusive of their experiences and give them the information necessary to stay safe and healthy. The alternative can lead to public health issues, she said.
In Palo Alto, where the Health Connected curriculum is already being taught, it was about ensuring students would receive consistent information through high school, according to district spokesman Jorge Quintana. This was done, according to Quintana, following a vetting process by school principals and chief academic officers with chat america sex santa clara from parents at interactive education sessions, information nights and parent skill building workshops. Even so, there was an outcry last month among some parents of middle school students who were displeased to learn the new sex-ed program was already being taught.
Citing concerns that the program was inappropriate for their children, they submitted a petition change. They asked the board for a re-do, this time with more involvement from parents. District superintendent Max McGee has tried to allay their concerns by saying his staff would work on improving the curriculum over the summer, and maybe even seek alternative programs.
Like other school districts, Palo Alto also is giving parents the option to opt out their children from parts or the entire program. Karlin-Resnick said she understands.
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The Cambrian School District in San Jose also is facing backlash from parents over its plan to implement Puberty Talk and Teen Talk in fifth- and seventh-grade classes respectively. District spokeswoman Danielle Smith said parents were informed about Teen Talk on March 29 and invited to an information night on April Michelle Garcia, another district parent, said she never received a notice informing parents about the first meeting.
At the second meeting, some of the speakers included students and teachers who supported the proposed curriculum. The district offered a feedback survey on its website, and of the parents who responded, 58 percent said they supported the curriculum in full or in part, according to Smith.
It is a local organization whose curriculum complies with the new law and offers curriculum for both fifth and seventh grades as well as comprehensive training for Cambrian staff, she said. Since the Campbell Chat america sex santa clara High School District—where most Cambrian students go on to high school—uses the same curriculum, it would also ensure continuity in lessons.
A vote was scheduled for Tuesday, and if approved a pilot version of the curriculum may be taught at the end of the month, she said. The Campbell Union School District discussed implementation of the Health Connected curriculum for seventh-grade students on April 20 and May 4, when the board unanimously approved its launch for this month. At a district-hosted preview of the curriculum on May 4, Marci Nishijima, a parent of a seventh-grade student at Campbell Middle School, was the only parent to show up to ask questions about the course.
But the district presentation helped quell her doubts.
Superintendent Eric Andrew said his district has received only a few queries about the curriculum and only one parent has chosen to opt out. Teachers who were tasked with selecting a new sex-ed program overwhelmingly agreed the Teen Talk curriculum was the best option, Andrew said.
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The Sunnyvale School District started using Health Connected for its fifth-graders last year and has been using Planned Parenthood for its eighth-grade students. The district is considering Health Connected for its middle schools but waiting to see what happens in neighboring communities, she said. Mirell Kazos is a teacher at Bishop Elementary School who recently wrapped up teaching sex ed to her fifth-grade students.
Of the 95 students she taught, she said seven chose to opt out. The program, which complies with the new law, was approved by the board in October following a series of community meetings in September, according to district spokesman Peter Allen. Meanwhile, the San Jose Union School District is reviewing its existing curriculum to determine what changes may be needed, according to Andrew Schwab, the associate superintendent of learning and innovation.
It has contracted MarshMedia to teach a human growth and development course in elementary school and sexual health education in middle school. The goal is to implement a new curriculum the following school year. At the Saratoga Union School District, a task force comprised of parents, teachers, administrators, board members and health professionals has partnered with Bay Area Communities for Health Education to study different curricula and find the best one, according to district superintendent Nancy Johnson.
Currently, teachers in the district teach an outdated human growth and development curriculum to fifth- and seventh-graders. It has been holding a of meetings for parents. The first, on April 18, provided an overview of the new state mandate and laid out a plan for how the district would proceed. On May 2, it held a workshop instructing parents on how to have an ongoing dialogue with their children about sexuality and puberty.
Feedback from parents has been positive, said Johnson. One mother of two kids who attended the workshop said she found it useful.
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But while she supports the curriculum changes, Narayanan said she still has questions, such as why boys as young as 12 need to learn how to wear a condom when the average age of boys starting to have intercourse is While many districts in the region are tweaking their sex-ed curricula, districts such as the Loma Prieta t Union School District in Los Gatos realize they need to start from the ground up.
We tend to try and let the bigs go first to see what works. The district is working with a consultant to figure out what to add to its bare-bones curriculum, which covers only AIDS and HIV prevention education in middle school, she said. The Los Gatos Union, Luther Burbank and Moreland school districts did not respond to requests from this newspaper for information on their curriculum implementation plans.
To learn more about the Healthy Youth Act, visit: saratogausd. Further information is also available at: cde.
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