Saline Area Schools Holds Two Public Hearings on Changes to Sex Education

 05/05/2017 - 13:42

A plan to have high school peers teach Planned Parenthood-designed sex education units at Saline High School will be vetted by the general public at two forums held by Saline Area Schools.

The forums will be at 6 p.m., May 15 and May 30 at the Liberty School Media Center.

State law requires that schools offering sex education classes put new curriculum in front of the public at two hearings.

“It’s a community discussion. There is no predetermined result. We want to have a discussion with the community to find out what direction people want to go. Are people in the district supportive or not supportive of this curriculum? Are there compromises that can be reached? What are people’s concerns?” said Steve Laatsch, assistant superintendent for instruction at Saline Area Schools. “We want people to come and share their opinions and listen to each other.”

The sex education advisory council is recommending two major changes to the curriculum at Saline High School.

The first change is that high school-aged students will help deliver part of the curriculum, provided by Planned Parenthood. Students who teach these lessons would receive 50 of training.

Laatsch explained that Planned Parenthood provides sex education curriculum at Dexter and Ann Arbor schools. He said he understands that using Planned Parenthood, a women’s health organization that provides abortions, will raise red flags with some parents. When asked, he emphasized that the curriculum wasn’t going to encourage students to have abortions.

In fact, Laatsch said, one thing that hasn’t changed about the sex education curriculum is that it’s abstinence-based.

“On day one of the class, it’s taught that abstinence is the only way to be 100 percent safe – the only sure way to avoid sexually transmitted diseases or to avoid pregnancy,” Laatsch said.

Planned Parenthood would also train students who will teach alongside the health teachers at Saline High School.

“We’re always looking for ways to improve the way we deliver curriculum. Research suggests peer-to-peer delivery results in students who are more engaged and more tuned in,” Laatsch said.

Another new proposal is an LGBTQ+ presentation. One day of the curriculum will be devoted to issues about gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgendered students.

“We have students in the high school that are gay, lesbian and transgender. This population of students feels that when we talk about reproductive health, we’re not supportive of them. So we’re trying to be more inclusive,” Laatsch said.

Sex education is part of a compulsory health class. Saline Area Schools does give parents the ability to remove their children from the sex education classes.

Sex education begins in fourth grade at Saline Area Schools.

 

Content Comparison Between Peer-to-Peer Presentation and Current Saline High School Health Curriculum
     
Abstinence Presentation
Core Messages: Peer Presentation Current Health Curriculum.
Abstinence is defined by an individual and means different things to different people. It's important to know what abstinence means to you. x x
It's the only method of birth control, HIV and STD prevention that is 100% effective. x x
It is important to discuss one's definitions of sex and abstinence with partners and parents. x x
Included in presentation:
Reasons teens have sex x + x
Reasons teens wait x + x
Defining Abstinence Activity - Students personal definition (on paper) alternatives to sex. Discussion about communication and personal definitions. x + x
     
     
HIV/AIDS Presentation
Core messages Peer Presentation Current Health Curriculum.
HIV is spread through oral, vaginal or anal intercourse, blood sharing and mother to baby. x x
Many people do not show the symptoms of HIV/AIDS and don't know they are infected with HIV. As a result, it is not possible to tell by looking as someone whether or not they have HIV/AIDS. x x
There are many ways to prevent getting HIV. x x
Community resources are available for HIV testing. x x
Included in presentation:
Difference between HIV & AIDS x x
Transmission fluids x x
Identifying No Risk, Low Risk & High Risk Behaviors - It's not who you are but what you do that puts you at risk. x x
HIV Testing Information - Types of testing and what it entails, where one can get tested, how often. x x
     
     
Healthy Relationships & Consent Presentation
Core messages Peer Presentation Current Health Curriculum.
Define and discuss consent; participants will gain a better understanding of what consent is and how to practice it x x
Breakdown healthy relationships so that participants are able to identify what constitutes a health relationships; this includes a discussion regarding abuse and unhealthy relationship x x
Included in presentation:
What is consent, what isn't consent x x
Laws of consent in Michigan x x
Consent Scenarios x x
Healthy Relationship Bill of Rights - Qualities of a relationship we all have a right to (fairness, negotiation, respect, honesty, trust, care) x x
Unhealthy Relationships - Teen Power & Control Wheel x x
Unhealthy Relationships in the media x FPL
"Survivor" vs. "Victim" - The power of language x  
     
Contraceptive Methods Presentation
Core messages Peer Presentation Current Health Curriculum.
Identifies the key advantages, possible problems and effectiveness rates (when used correctly and consistently) of different contraceptive methods x x
Identifies which contraceptives protect against STDs and which have no protection against STDs x x
Included in presentation:
The Contraceptive Chart with above information (SAME CHART CURRENTLY USED IN HEALTH CLASS) x x
Visual of contraceptives x FPL/Parenting
     
Anatomy Presentation
Core messages Peer Presentation Current Health Curriculum.
Know your normal – every person's body is different, it's important to be familiar with your reproductive anatomy to gain comfort and understanding of one's sexual body. x  
Whether you're a man or a woman, your body is MADE to create pregnancies, regardless of how much you may/may not want to be pregnant (or get someone pregnant). x  
Don't be afraid to say it! – as a society, we've created TONS of slang words to talk about our reproductive anatomy. It’s time we all started using proper, medically-accurate terms. x  
Included in presentation:
Female and male anatomy terms and definitions x  
Charts/PPT displaying F&M anatomy & physiology x  
     
     
LGBTQ+ Presentation
Core messages Peer Presentation Current Health Curriculum.
Identify and define the various identity-terms used by members of the LGBTQ community. x  
Breakdown the concept of "sexual orientation" into attraction, behavior, identity; be able to differentiate between them. x  
Relate the health disparities faced by most LGBTQ youth to the broader movement for LGBTQ equality and justice. x  
Included in presentation:
LGBTQ terms and definitions matching activity x  
Genderbread Person - Gender identity, gender expression, biological sex, sexual orientation x  
3 concepts related to secual orientation: Attraction, Behavior & Identity (Also part of Genderbread Person) x  
Self reflection to above information x  
Michigan Youth Risk Behavior Survey Statistics x  
What it's like to be LGBTQ in schools (statistics on the safety & mental health of LGBTQ youth) x  
Pair-Share-Reflection - Student's responses to the above data x  
LGBTQ Facts Walk-around activity: Students observe the statistics on posters around the room and reflect x  
     
Key: x covered by presenter FPL = Covered in Family & Personal Living Class (elective)    
x+ covered to greater extent P = Covered in Parenting Class (elective)    

 

Tran Longmoore
Tran Longmoore is owner of The Saline Post. Email him at tran@thesalinepost.com or call him at 734-272-6294

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