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U.S. News

Florida: St. Lucie's Sex Education Forum Draws Crowd

December 11, 2007

On Saturday in Fort Pierce, more than 300 people turned out for the St. Lucie County School Board's public hearing on "Get Real About AIDS," the new sex education curriculum proposed for the district. More than 70 people spoke during the three-hour-plus meeting.

Selected after a year of research by a panel of community leaders, the curriculum was previously offered for review then withdrawn after some parents found it too graphic. A revision process that removed some sections deemed objectionable did little to calm the fears of opponents, some of whom have picketed schools and demanded the resignation of Superintendent Michael Lannon.

The program calls for parents to be notified in writing four weeks before any lesson is presented. Parents can opt their children out of any lessons by contacting the school at least two weeks prior to the instruction.

Among facts to be presented to various student groups are the following:

  • Elementary students would learn about germs, HIV/AIDS (beginning in fourth grade), refusal skills to fight peer pressure, and how to behave around someone who has AIDS.
  • Middle school students would hear a story about a young couple contemplating sex, and they would discuss the advantages of abstinence. They would hear that AIDS is an epidemic and learn how HIV is transmitted. Refusal skills would be taught. Eighth-graders would learn about condoms and see a video, not yet produced, on condom use. Condoms would not be brought to the classroom.
  • High school students would learn about other STDs as well as HIV; discuss the impact of having sex and reasons to delay sexual debut; learn refusal skills and practice them in various settings; and learn how to educate others about HIV. Condom-use instruction would be the same as that provided to eighth-graders.

The board is set to vote on the curriculum Tuesday.

Back to other news for December 2007

Adapted from:
Palm Beach Post
12.09.2007; Cara Fitzpatrick

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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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