LAS VEGAS – Parents in the Clark County school system sent a very strong and clear message to the school board Tuesday: Don’t change the sex education curriculum.
The Clark County School Board spent about seven hours on a special public forum on the district’s sex education curriculum, primarily about whether to go to an “opt-out” format with “comprehensive” sex education – rather than the current “opt-in” abstinence-focused approach, the Las Vegas Review-Journal reports.
The question about “opt out” – which would provide sex ed to all students except those whose parents request otherwise – is irrelevant because state law requires parental consent for the lessons. The Tuesday meeting was called in part to gauge parental interest in lobbying lawmakers to shift to a “opt-out” system.
A total of 122 people signed up to speak at the special meeting, and The Review-Journal reports a “wide majority” of parents at the meeting urged board members not to support the proposed change.
“Nobody is a better advocate for my kid than me,” another parent said, according to KLAS-TV 8.
The board eventually voted to not recommend that the district’s sex education advisory committee pursue the opt-in idea. They also decided on a few other minor changes to the sex education curriculum, like discussions about cyberbullying and sexting for fifth graders, as well as talks on contraception, statutory rape, and age of consent for eighth grade students.
The town hall meeting took place almost exactly a year after district officials attempted to solicit input from parents on the idea to “expose students to a lot more a lot earlier.” Examples included teaching 5 year olds about homosexuality and that “touching and rubbing one’s genitals to feel good is called masturbation,” the Review-Journal reported last September.
District officials attempted to vet the new materials with selectively invited parents, but other quickly found out and stormed school board meetings to air their objections
“You want to teach my 5-year-old how to masturbate?” parent Julie Butler questioned.
“We certainly should not be teaching 5-year-olds that masturbation and pleasuring one’s body is good and that a 12-year-old should know about the very details of anal and oral sex,” another parent complained, according to KTNV.
The Review Journal notes that only three state have opt in policies for sex education: Nevada, Mississippi and Utah. Those who want Nevada to join the majority point to teen birth rates per 1,000 females between the ages of 15 and 19, which is 30.3 in Nevada. The national average is 26.5, according to U.S. Department of Health and Human Services data.
Proponents of “opt out” argue the high teen birth rate – number 7 in the U.S. – is evidence the system doesn’t work, but the Review Journal highlights the fact that the rate has dropped 58 percent since 1991.
The Clark County school board is planning more meetings to discuss sex education, but have not yet set dates, Fox 5 reports.