Leon County Schools moves forward with proposed changes to sex education

New sex education curriculum for Leon County Schools
Published: Mar. 29, 2023 at 10:11 PM EDT
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TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WCTV) - The Leon County School Board will consider moving forward with proposed changes to the district’s sex education curriculum after parents voiced concerns about the current lessons during a public hearing Tuesday night.

Parents criticized the instruction material, saying some lessons are not age-appropriate. They also specifically expressed concern about lectures on different types of sex. Leon County School Board member Laurie Lawson-Cox also has questions about those studies.

She said the lessons for middle schoolers raise flags for her. According to Lawson-Cox, curriculum in seventh-grade classes covers types of sexual activity and the risk of contracting sexually transmitted infections or diseases. The school board member said she believes those classes “probably were not age-appropriate for seventh grade.”

“My main focus was on the curriculum for sixth through eighth grade, just making sure it met the state statute,” Lawson-Cox said.

The state statute for middle school sex education requires covering “disease prevention.” However, Lawson-Cox said it does not specify if that means the prevention of sexually-transmitted diseases.

The statute for middle school grade levels also requires teaching abstinence as the expected standard when it comes to sexual behavior. It also requires discussions on teenage pregnancy, dating violence and sexual abuse.

Sexual education in Leon County Schools is taught by science teachers. If lessons are adopted by the school board, these educators will be expected to deliver the new curriculum this spring.

The Department of Education approached the school district about prioritizing curriculum on preventing sexually transmitted diseases and infection prevention because Leon County has high transmission rates and case numbers, Lawson-Cox said.

The commissioner said the measure that moved forward Tuesday night will come before the board at their next meeting on April 11. She said it is important to get the curriculum passed urgently so the lessons can be taught this year.