Tempe high school district considers new sex-ed program - KLTV.com-Tyler, Longview, Jacksonville, Texas | ETX News

Tempe high school district considers new sex-ed program

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The Tempe Union High School District's Sex Education Curriculum Committee is looking at three new sex-education programs. (Source: CBS 5 News) The Tempe Union High School District's Sex Education Curriculum Committee is looking at three new sex-education programs. (Source: CBS 5 News)

It was a heated debate Tuesday night over sex education and how it will be taught to students in the Tempe Union High School District.

In April 2013, TUHSD adopted a policy that requires a comprehensive, uniform sex-ed curriculum to be taught at all of its high schools.

The district's Sex Education Curriculum Committee is currently looking at three programs.

But it's who they had review them that had so many people riled up at the public meeting.

"My greatest concern is Planned Parenthood will teach sex education," said Tempe resident Ed Douglas. "They know it well - but without moral education."

A former student with the district's McClintock High School, who's now a sophomore studying public policy at George Washington University, disagreed with that line of thought.

"The moral issue, that's a home concept," said Jevin Hodge. "You are raised with morals. And, when you're at school - you're taught to be educated."

The committee said it brought in an expert with more than 20 years of experience in the field of sex education.

Vicki Hadd-Wissler just so happens to work for Arizona's Planned Parenthood as its director of education.

The committee said it chose three sex-ed programs and asked Hadd-Wissler to analyze them and see how they aligned with national sexuality education standards.

"The misinformation that was out there was that Planned Parenthood was coming into Tempe Union high schools to teach sex education, and that is absolutely not true," said Linda Littell with TUHSD. "This person that presented was asked to come and present because of her knowledge of these programs she presented tonight."

Hadd-Wissler told the committee all three programs – Family Life and Sexual Health or FLASH, Our Whole Lives or OWL and It's all One – met national guidelines and were either free or inexpensive.

She also pointed out, each program would need to be supplemented with information about local resources and state law – which requires sex-ed classes to be abstinence-based with preference given to childbirth and adoption over abortion.

The district said the committee will be looking at many different programs and hearing from other experts in the future.

But some people who attended Tuesday's meeting said they don't want Planned Parenthood involved at any level.

"The school board and this committee should be completely in charge, to make a decision on the curriculum," said Christine Accurso, executive director of 1st Way Pregnancy Center. "They should be the ones reviewing it, seeking it out and checking with the parents to make sure it's what they want for their children."

Littell said the committee will eventually recommend a comprehensive sex-education curriculum to the governing board – which will make a decision about whether or not to implement it.           

Parents can also choose to opt their children out of a program with which they're not comfortable.

The TUHSD Sex Education Curriculum Committee will be holding several public meetings in the coming months.

The next meeting is set for Feb. 4 at 4:30 p.m. at the district office.

Copyright 2014 CBS 5 (KPHO Broadcasting Corporation). All rights reserved.

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