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Local and Community News

Maryland: School Board Amends Sex Ed Curriculum; Course to Be Updated, Taught in Later Grade

February 20, 2003

The Harford County, Md., Board of Education has recently approved a number of changes to the middle school sex education curriculum slated to make its way into classrooms in September next year. These include:
  • That physical/health teachers teach the class, which features some sensitive material, in the eighth grade instead of seventh grade. Superintendent Jacqueline C. Haas made this recommendation.
  • That the Focus Area III curriculum be updated, something that has not happened since 1983.
  • That the school staff and the superintendent prepare a curriculum stating what would be taught in the eighth grade and present it to the school board by March next year.
  • That the school system work with the county Health Department and establish workshops where parents can learn what is being taught in the schools.

Haas and school board President Terry R. Troy stressed in a letter to parents that certain topics would not be taught in the class, including issues relating to sexual orientation, contraception, abortion and techniques of sexual activity. The three-week class would include information about STDs. It would also teach the advantages of abstinence, such as pregnancy prevention, prevention of STDs and preservation of self-esteem. Parents have the right to keep their children from taking the class.

During the school board meeting, Haas said that each child is different and that some seventh graders could handle the study course, while it would be better for others when they were in the eighth grade. Milton Wright High School senior Molly P. Harris, the student representative on the board, advocated teaching the class to seventh graders. "In the eighth grade, it may be too late," said Harris. The board will have to approve the curriculum before it can be taught. Gerald E. Scarborough, assistant superintendent for curriculum and instruction, said that parents contacting the school system supported the sex education program by a margin of five-to-one.

Back to other CDC news for February 20, 2003

Previous Updates

Adapted from:
Baltimore Sun
02.16.03; Ted Shelsby

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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.