OMAHA, Neb. (WOWT) -- A day after votes to approve changes in the OPS sex education curriculum, the plan continues to play to mixed reviews among parents of students.
Board members voted 9-0 to approve curriculum changes for 4th grade, 5th grade and middle school students. The vote was 8-1 to approve 10th grade curriculum changes.
OPS board members and other district officials spent hours going over the entire curriculum and made changes to the proposed material.
Board members asked to add two controversial topics - abortion and emergency contraception information - back into the proposed curriculum for high school student. These subjects were on the original proposal but then removed after a public, online survey revealed that there was not enough of a majority in favor of teaching the topics.
The proposal board members voted on Wednesday included both topics. Changes also include teaching younger students about laws covering consent, drugs, alcohol and abortion.
Gwen Easter, a mother who opposes the new curriculum, says OPS ignored parents' concerns.
“I don't think they spoke for 52,000 kids or their parents,” she said. “I don't. I think that they had their minds made up all along to what they were going to decide to do and it doesn't matter whether parents like it or not because that is what they are telling parents: it doesn't matter what they think. And that is why parents have a hard time with dealing with OPS."
Not everyone feels the board made a bad decision. Sophia Jawed-Wessel has two kids in the Omaha school system and she said the decision has her feeling relieved.
“I am happy I don't have to waste the three hours I have with them between school pick-up and bedtime teaching them about sexual education,” she said. “I know that it's happening in the schools now. I don't have to worry about what his peers are teaching him - the misinformation that's being spread from student to student.”
OPS officials said they understand that not all parents will approve of their curriculum, that’s why the proposal includes opt-in and opt-out options so that parents will still have control over what sex ed curriculum their children learn. You can find a complete outline of how those options will work on the link provided.
The approved curriculum will be field tested this spring semester and full implementation is scheduled next fall.