Local and Community News
Harford County, Md., School Board Eyes Sex Ed Changes
January 17, 2003
Maryland's Harford County Board of Education is scheduled to vote Feb. 24 on proposed changes in the middle school sex education curriculum -- to include material on STDs and teen pregnancy -- that would bring the school system in line with most others in the state.Adapted from:
The school board last year asked the family life committee to research what other counties were teaching in middle schools. The group talked with 22 of the state's jurisdictions and found that "Harford County is the only county ... that has not included information about STDs -- except for HIV/AIDS -- or teen pregnancy in the middle school curriculum," said Joan Hayden, a committee member who teaches at Bel Air High School. The committee recommended the changes in the fall after finding that Harford lagged behind most other systems in its curriculum. The HIV/AIDS curriculum has not been updated since 1983, said committee member Sue Garrett.
School spokesperson Don Morrison said the administration office has received about a dozen e-mails since early last month on the issue. And at a public meeting last month, all but one citizen spoke in favor of change.
Teachers have had to address a range of situations, some sexually based, in an "around-the-barn kind of manner," Hayden said, because they cannot discuss pregnancy and STDs as potential consequences of poor decision-making. "We've really had our hands tied," Hayden said. "We haven't been able to find any written documents that said this wouldn't be taught," she said. "It just never has been."
Parents can comment on the curriculum plans at board meetings on Jan. 27 and Feb. 10. The Harford public schools' Web site also includes curriculum information and a link for comments at www.co.ha.md.us/harford_schools.
01.14.03; Lane Harvey Brown
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.