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OPS board to vote on sex ed curriculum

(WOWT)
Published: May. 16, 2016 at 7:20 AM CDT
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On Monday night the OPS board of education is set to vote on changes to a 30-year-old human growth and development curriculum.

Over the past year, the board has introduced plans to change the curriculum, and parents have been vocal with their opinions.

The biggest concern has been over the sexual education portions detailing topics like emergency contraception, abortion and safe dating. For several weeks OPS teachers, nurses and parents have gone through the content and voted on material that should be included.

It's all on the table for adoption with the caveat that parents can opt their children in or out of certain topics or the curriculum as a whole.

However, some parents and community members feel they haven't had enough time to look over the proposed curriculum. and they're worried to board is moving too quickly on the vote.

"This is literally no opportunity to review this curriculum prior to it's approval," said John Dockery at a protest over the weekend "It's totally irresponsible as far as OPS in the way that this has been presented and rolled out. The sad thing about this is there's probably 90 percent of this whole thing that is acceptable to everyone. The controversial part of this is a small portion but they continue to try to hide that."

Dockery agrees that some of the information being presented is necessary. But part of the curriculum details discussion based learning and role playing that makes him uneasy.

Others for the new curriculum have been vocal throughout the year, saying they're glad their children will learn this information from a reliable source.

"I know that it's happening in the schools now," said Sophia Jawed-Wessel. "I don't have to worry about what his other peers are teaching him, the misinformation that's being spread from student to student. They are going to be educated in sexual health and that's wonderful."

OPS has conducted field tests on the updated curriculum. They've posted the pacing guidelines for each grade level, detailing what topics will be taught and when, on their website. They also have research from surveys with parents, votes from teachers and suggestions from nurses.

In a written statement on their FAQ page the board wrote:

"The Omaha Public School District believes that parents should be the primary educators in matters of human growth and development. The school will present information about different topics and encourage students to go home and talk with the parents about family beliefs by using optional discussion assignments that provide opportunities for parent and child dialogue."

You can find all that information

and scroll down to the May 16th meeting notes on Human Growth and Development.

Should the board pass the curriculum it will be implemented in the fall with curriculum days built in for training. Parents would be notified a month in advance before the curriculum starts so they can opt their children in or out with permission slips.