Maine: Proposed Cut Renews Sex Education Debate
January 6, 2009
Budget tightening has once again put sex education in the cross hairs in Portland Public Schools, where the program faced proposed cuts for eight consecutive years. To date, the efforts failed.
"We're not losing the whole program," Whynot-Vickers said. "We're certainly not losing the majority of the content."
In 2006, Portland's School Committee surveyed elementary teachers about their comfort with possibly teaching sex education, said Amanda Rowe, the district's head nurse. The response then was negative, and Rowe doubted many teachers, lacking training and comfort, would follow through on delivering a curriculum about puberty and the reproductive system.
"I don't want someone talking to my fourth-grader [about sex] when they haven't had thorough training," said Sarah Thompson, a committee member. The committee made national headlines last year by allowing King Middle School students to access prescription contraceptives at the school's city-run clinic, she noted. Cutting sex education now might send the wrong message, she said.
The proposal is up for a vote on Jan. 21.
Portland Press Herald
01.02.09; Elbert Aull