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Governing board takes first steps to create sex education policy, curriculum

Sex education in Lake Havasu City schools is suspended until the school board comes up with a new curriculum.

Resolving the sex education issue in Havasu schools drew one step closer Wednesday night. Yet there are many steps ahead before the contentious subject is put to rest with a newly-created policy and curriculum.

What will be taught and to which age groups has yet to be decided.

In the meantime, the district’s existing sex education instruction has been suspended. Historically, sex ed classes are offered to students in the spring months. Previously, middle school students were taught about hygiene, puberty and the many changes students can expect as their bodies mature.

At the high school level since 2008, district students are exposed to deeper discussions on sexually transmitted diseases, contraception and taught that total abstinence is the only 100% effective way to prevent unwanted pregnancies and STDs.

During Wednesday night’s meeting, after conferring for an hour in a closed session with attorney Tosca Henry of the Ledbetter Law Firm, the governing board of the Lake Havasu Unified School District spent the next 50 minutes in a public meeting to hammer out a course of action.

The board mapped out a timeline for information gathering, scheduled a special meeting and considered conducting a survey, all in hopes of ultimately developing a sex ed policy.

A special meeting is scheduled for Oct. 1. At that meeting, board members will have reviewed shared information such as assessments from medical professionals and inspected policies of other school districts. Board members also will have produced their individual interpretations of sex education.

“As a district, we need to define what we mean by ‘sex ed,’” said district Superintendent Diana Asseier.

“I think we should also have a list of things we’re not covering (in sex education),” said board President Kathy Cox.

 

The survey

Based on the standing-room-only attendance at the school board’s Aug. 14 work session to discuss sex ed, interest in the community is high. A cross-section of parents, teens, teachers, pastors, medical providers and other community members shared their opinions with the board during the three-and-a-half-hour meeting.

Based on the response, Asseier suggested that the board conduct a survey of parents.

Board member John Masden agreed.

“I’m in favor of surveying parents, but I also think we should survey the whole community. Havasu spends $40 million a year to support the school district,” he said, meaning the opinions of taxpayers should be included. “We can talk about this until we’re blue in the face, but I think we should see what the community wants. We have to be sensitive to the community as a whole.”

Cox expressed concern about how to distribute the survey. An online method was suggested.

“We have to do it so people can only vote once and can’t come back again (to fill out the survey multiple times),” she said.

The next scheduled regular governing board meeting is at 6 p.m. on Sept. 17.

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Pam Ashley, Today's News-Herald
Aug 29, 2019

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