Broward County Agrees to Revise Sex Ed Standards That Could Violate State Law
The Broward County School Board has agreed to modify its Sex Ed curriculum to conform with Florida’s new Parental Rights in Education law.
Broward’s existing curriculum appears to conflict with the segment state law that bans instruction about sexual orientation or gender identity in children in grades K-3 “or in a manner that is not age appropriate or developmentally appropriate for students in accordance with state standards.”
Those segments fall into Broward’s Family Life and Human Sexuality policy, or Policy 5315, which will likely need to be revised.
John Sullivan, chief communications and legislative affairs officer for the district, said at a recent workshop that at least some of Policy 5315 would need revision, according to The Sun Sentinel.
“If the Board decides they want to do a revision, I think we probably have to take a look at it. I think there probably are some areas you probably, arguably have to revise.”
The district had considered axing the entire policy at the workshop but decided to do revisions instead. Officials referenced the K-4 and K-12 sections of the policy as potentially violating state law. They also noted that the national minimum standards for sex ed set by National Sexuality Education Standards could also violate the law.
Despite the board’s willingness to consider revisions, General Council Marylin Batista argued that nothing in Broward’s policy currently violates the Parental Rights in Education Law. “When I read it, it did not strike me that it was anything in violation,” she said. However, she also recommended the district “might want to review standards and come up with a new rule that more aligns with [House Bill] 1557,” which is state law.
The most glaring segment of the curriculum is the section titled “Healthy Relationships,” which suggests teaching students to “identify different kinds of family structures” and “demonstrate ways to show respect for different types of families” for students K-2. This section is likely in violation of state law if it instructs children under grade three in sexual orientation, which is often the origin of differing family structures, as the description seems to imply. Depending on how the term “respect” is taught in individual classrooms, the curriculum may also be breaching the topic of sexual morality and family values, issues the state law always intended to keep in the home.
Veda Hudge, the district’s executive director of student services, had more specific ideas. One section of Broward’s policy tailors sex end to students from kindergarten through fourth grade.
“In grades K-4, the foundational comprehensive sexual health education instruction is comprised of lessons on the following four topic areas specific in the National Sexuality Education Standards: anatomy, physiology, reproduction, healthy relationships and personal safety. All lessons and content will reflect the age and development of students at each grade level.”’
This is likely in violation of state law, as it bans teaching sex ed to children younger than fourth grade outright. Another section of the curriculum that mentions sex Ed for grades K 12 run into the same problem.
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