ACLU of Florida Lauds School Board's Vote to Revise Sex Education Curriculum

Affiliate: ACLU of Florida
August 15, 2007 12:00 am

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Model Could Pave Way for Other Counties That Want Students to Receive Accurate Information

MELBOURNE, FL- The American Civil Liberties Union of Florida today praised the efforts of Brevard County Superintendent Richard A. DiPatri whose recommended sex education curriculum revisions were approved by a 3-2 vote at last night’s school board meeting. The Superintendent’s revisions were supported by the votes of school board members Barbara Murray, Larry E. Hughes, and Chairman Robert Jordan.

“This vote represents a huge victory for parents and students in Brevard County,” said Kevin Aplin, Vice President of the ACLU of Florida’s Brevard Chapter. “It is critical that students receive medically and factually accurate information. Many parents, students, medical professionals and educators who were opposed to the imperfect abstinence-only policy stood up and made their voices heard-and this is the result.”

After being contacted by concerned parents the ACLU of Florida, along with volunteers from NOW and Planned Parenthood reviewed Brevard’s sexuality curriculum and determined that it contained inaccurate information and gender bias which was found to be contrary to fact-based sexuality education. As part of a multi-faceted campaign to draw attention to the flawed curriculum and reasonable solutions, the ACLU organized meetings with School Board representatives, letter-to-editor campaigns and also advised the District’s Curriculum Committee.

Included in the modifications, with an overall goal to implement an abstinence-based rather than an abstinence-only curriculum teaching accurate information, were to: purchase and use a supplement entitled Sexuality and Responsibility for 9-12th grade students and teachers; revise portions of the existing Human Sexuality High Schools Curriculum Guides to reflect more complete and updated information; and other recommendations generated by the research and discussions spearheaded by parents and community members and assisted by the ACLU of Florida, NOW, Planned Parenthood and Space Coast Progressive Alliance volunteers, in supporting the more comprehensive curriculum.

“This is the first domino to fall in what we expect to be statewide grassroots change to sex education policies in Florida and across the country,” said Susan Derwin, Director of the ACLU of Florida’s Reproductive Freedom Project. “Parents and students are fed up with a legislature that is not willing to tackle this important issue – and so they are taking their education into their own hands.”

The next step in Brevard County is to review the 10-12 lesson plans that will be developed in anticipation for the District’s September 17 training session on the revised curriculum. Volunteers will also attend the training to ensure that the curriculum is accurately represented.

The ACLU of Florida is also evaluating curricula in other parts of the state in hopes that through similar grassroots organizing, positive change will be realized.

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