SAN ANTONIO – School board members of the Northeast Independent School District voted Monday evening to change sex education curriculum for middle school students.
Even before the meeting some parents were upset the program teaches anything other than abstinence.
“So many great programs NEISD has in saying 'no drinking and driving, no drugs, no alcohol, no bullying, no texting and driving,' All these complete avoidance programs,” said Patrick Dohlen, and NEISD parent. “Yet here when it comes to sex ed, they’re going to take exception to that and be inconsistent in teaching the children 'well, if you’re going to do it, do it this way.’"
“Are you OK with them teaching 'If you’re going to drink alcohol, make sure it’s in a brown paper bag,’” he adds.
The same group of parents expressed concerns about the effectiveness of the proposed program.
“We're concerned that their own evidence shows it helps boys to some extent, changing their behavior, but it does nothing to help girls,” said Gerald Ripley.
Aubrey Chancellor, NEISD executive director of communications, said the lessons in the curriculum for middle-schoolers are no different than the current curriculum.
The changes, she says, reflect updates to address topics like sexting and social media.
“We absolutely preach that abstinence is the only 100 percent effective option. So we do stress that,” Chancellor said. “However, we have always talked about other options and information in the event that not every student goes down the path of abstinence.’
The new curriculum was proposed by the district’s 50 member Student Health Advisory Council, or SHAC, which is made up of district employees, health officials, a pastor, and other community members.
If sixth, seventh, and eighth-grade parents don't want their children to take the course, they are not required to sign them up.
“It’s important to know that we're an “opt-in” school district,” Chancellor said. “So if a parent doesn’t feel comfortable with all of these lessons - or one of these lessons - they can easily not have their child sit through those lessons and there are no consequences. It’s always been that way.”
The NEISD SHAC has been studying the proposed curriculum over the last year.
According to Chancellor, 98 percent of NEISD middle school parents have opted in over the last three years - meaning they signed their children up for sex ed.
The new curriculum will be implemented this fall.