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Germantown School Board member calls for gender segregation in health class

Rest of Germantown board does not agree

Dec. 18, 2012

Germantown - A Germantown School Board member on Monday asked that high school boys and girls be segregated whenever sexuality is discussed in the classroom.

In light of reviewing the School District's policy on its curriculum in relation to Act 216, board member Diana Kline asked that sex education be cut from the curriculum. At the very least, she asked that the board mandate separation between male and female high school students when sexual education is taught in the human growth and development course.

Act 216 says a School District can separate pupils from members of the opposite sex. It also gives the board the power to separate genders when certain curriculum is discussed in relation to human growth and development.

Before Act 216, certain subjects were required to be included in human growth and development instruction. With Act 216, instruction is "recommended," such as discussing the benefits of abstaining from sexual activity.

"I believe sex education is very private," Kline said. "I think it should be discussed between a parent, their child, their clergy and their pediatrician."

Kline said she was overwhelmingly opposed in the Policy Committee meeting, which was held before the board meeting Monday.

"I'm very saddened that we've become such as sexualized society that the majority of a conservative board believes that we should have sex education in our public schools," Kline said.

Director of Curriculum and Learning Maria Kucharski said there is not one particular lesson in the human growth and development curriculum that focuses on sexuality. The curriculum also discusses peer pressure, alcohol and other drug use, emotional development, finances and sexual education is interwoven throughout the semester.

"I don't know how we would divide that," Kucharski said. "Even within the current change in state law, our health curriculum already was all about abstinence, family/marriage focused and I think that's so embedded in the curriculum."

Board member Michael Loth said in Policy Committee they discussed the difficulty of separating high school boys and girls "because these things don't necessarily come up in the same class or the same day."

After a 15 minute discussion, Kline's motion to separate gender when sexual education is discussed was voted down, 6-1. The board then approved the human and growth and development policy that details the curriculum such as instruction will be presented "with abstinence from sexual activity as the preferred choice of behavior for unmarried students."

The policy is in line with the state statute. It also says the district will provide parents annually with an outline of the human growth and development program used in their child's grade level. Parents have the opportunity to excuse their child from certain instruction.

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