Sex-Ed Guidelines Add Homosexuality; D.C. Panel Votes in December

The Washington Times (Washington, DC), October 20, 2007 | Go to article overview

Sex-Ed Guidelines Add Homosexuality; D.C. Panel Votes in December


Byline: Gary Emerling, THE WASHINGTON TIMES

The D.C. State Board of Education has scheduled a December vote on proposed guidelines for sex-education classes that call for teaching students about homosexuality.

School officials have said they will hold a Nov. 28 hearing for members of the public to give their input on the proposed guidelines. The board is expected to vote on them Dec. 19 after a public comment period expires Nov. 30.

"You want the standards to also take into account the opinions, the expectations and the sound facts from the community," said John A. Stokes, a spokesman for the Office of the State Superintendent of Education.

The guidelines were initially contained in a 43-page draft document dated July 2 and titled "Health Learning Standards."

The guidelines say eighth-grade students should be taught the definition of sexual orientation "using correct terminology" and learn that some people "may begin to feel romantically and/or sexually attracted to people of a different gender and/or to people of the same gender."

They also say sixth-grade students should be taught that "people, regardless of biological sex, gender, ability, sexualorientation, gender identity and culture, have sexual feelings and the need for love, affection and physical intimacy."

Ninth-graders should be taught to "analyze trends in ... contraceptive practices and the availability of abortion," the guidelines stated

School officials said the guidelines had to be revised because

there were two separate versions of them

One draft was finished by D.C. Public Schools staff members and another involved staff collaboration with a contracted consultant company called StandardsWork.

Staff members have worked to merge the two documents, and the revised guidelines will be posted on Oct. 30 at www.osse.dc.gov.

No significant changes in the guidelines' content are expected. Mr. Stokes said any revisions would be largely technical.

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