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Prevention/Epidemiology

Maryland: Montgomery's Sex Education Plan Halted

May 6, 2005

On Thursday, Montgomery County School Superintendent Jerry D. Weast suspended a new sex-education curriculum after a US District judge issued a 10-day restraining order against its implementation. Citizens for a Responsible Curriculum (CRC) and Parents and Friends of Ex-Gays and Gays (PFEG) filed suit to stop the curriculum's launch, alleging one-sidedness and religious bias and that the school board failed to follow required procedures.

Revisions incorporated into the new curriculum included allowing eighth-grade teachers to initiate discussions regarding homosexuality, and a video instructing 10th-graders how to put on a condom.

"Defendants open up the classroom to the subject of homosexuality and specifically, the moral rightness of the homosexual lifestyle," Judge Alexander Williams Jr. wrote in a 22-page opinion. "However, the Revised Curriculum presents only one view on the subject -- that homosexuality is a natural and morally correct lifestyle -- to the exclusion of other perspectives."

"The Revised Curriculum notes that 'Fundamentalists are more likely to have negative attitudes about gay people than those with other religious views,'" Williams wrote. It "also paints certain Christian sects, notably Baptists, which are opposed to homosexuality, as unenlightened and Biblically misguided." "The Court does not understand why it is necessary, in attempting to achieve the goals of advocating tolerance and providing health related information, Defendants must offer up their opinion on such controversial topics as whether AIDS is God's judgment on homosexuals, and whether churches that condemn homosexuality are on theologically sound ground."

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In a statement, Weast said he has ordered a review of the sex-education curriculum -- which was to be piloted in six schools next week -- before deciding its future. PFEG and CRC hope to be involved in the review, said their attorney, John Garza. The curriculum was originally passed by the Board of Education following a review from a 27-member citizens advisory committee, which included PFEG and CRC representatives, said board President Patricia O'Neill.

Back to other news for May 6, 2005

Adapted from:
Washington Post
05.06.2005; Lori Aratani



  
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This article was provided by CDC National Prevention Information Network. It is a part of the publication CDC HIV/Hepatitis/STD/TB Prevention News Update.
 

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