GRANDVIEW Sex education is off the table after more than 50 people showed up at Tuesday night’s School Board meeting to protest a proposed new curriculum.
Although scheduled to be heard later in the meeting’s agenda, the board moved to change its order of business to table the proposed Planned Parenthood “Get Real” Curriculum adoption.
Chairman Dale Burgeson read a prepared statement prior to taking public comment Tuesday night announcing the board’s decision to table the middle school sex education adoption.
As the disgruntled school patrons waited for their turns to speak, Burgeson said “It’s tabled, finished.”
Before he could start asking for public comment, parents began calling out questions voicing objections to the middle school sex education course to the way in which parents received limited notification of its discussion.
Some the parents complained they hadn’t heard about the board’s pending decision until just before the meeting.
“Many of us only recently found out about this (proposal) via social media,” Alicia Fajardo said.
Others voiced strong objections to the use of Planned Parenthood materials in the school, fearing children would be learning about abortion as an acceptable way to handle unplanned pregnancies.
“I’m sure many parents found out (about this meeting) by social media,” said Teresa Amador, a parent of three girls. She thanked the board for not accepting the curriculum.
“We need to let kids be kids. I fear that changing to this curriculum would be a direct line from sex to abortion,” she said.
“We need to look at curriculum that teaches children to respect their bodies and that to have abortion, as an option is wrong,” Amador said.
Her worries about Planned Parenthood and abortion was echoed by most of the 25 people were signed up to address the school board.
Others rejected the program, saying it went against the moral code of the community, which was based on abstinence.
The middle school currently uses a combination of sex health programs including speakers from Life Options, The Great Body Shop, Flash and Know curriculums.
Strom said the curriculum was scheduled to be implemented this year following the board’s approval. That approval was denied when the board tabled the proposed adoption.
Several called the national women’s health agency ‘evil’ and referred to the $25,000 grant as blood money, because of its stance on abortion.
Other patrons spoke against the curriculum, objecting to the district acceptance of a $25,000 from the Planned Parenthood, which some said was a bribe to implement the curriculum.
“I’m opposed to any program associated with Planned Parenthood,” Jim Davison said.
Saying he is a retired health care provider, he doesn’t believe the agency is an appropriate fit for “…our children.”
Davidson said he felt like the district had been bribed with the acceptance of the funding, echoing other patrons who said the money should be returned
Superintendent Henry Strom said the money was not connected to the curriculum. “It was never a requirement in our decision to adopt this curriculum,” he said.
The $25,000 is from the Office of Adolescent Health, the arm of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services that manages teen pregnancy prevention grants among other things. The money is available to districts using evidence-based sexual health programs in their schools. Planned Parenthood is one of the agencies chosen by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services to distribute grant funding to other organizations.
Strom said Thursday that since the Grandview School District has opted to not accept the money, the funds will be sent back to Planned Parenthood, then they will send them back to the federal government.
Previously he said the money was being used for computers at the high school.
The sex education curriculum currently being taught at Grandview Middle School is a combination of three different curriculums — The Great Body Shop, FLASH and KNOW.
Prior to Tuesday’s board meeting a parent night to explain the “Get Real’ program was to be held as part of several educational program at a meeting at the Middle School set for Jan. 24.
That meeting is still scheduled at 5:15 at the middle school.
Notifications regarding the parent night were sent home with students in English and in Spanish, as well as posted on the middle school website. A school spokesperson said the parent night event will be held as previously scheduled.