JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – After abruptly postponing the legally required presentation of the district’s supplemental health curriculum in September, the Duval County School Board reviewed the new proposed plan for how the district will teach students about reproductive health and disease prevention.
The original curriculum that Duval County Public Schools had planned to use — obtained through third-party companies HealthSmart, Draw the Line/Respect the Line, and Reducing the Risk — was rescinded because of concerns they may not meet the requirements of new state law.
Board members reviewed and discussed the new curriculum on Tuesday, and they will take a vote on whether to approve the plan during a future board meeting.
The supplementary health curriculum is required by state law, therefore, the district must approve lesson plans that meet those requirements and teach the curriculum to this year’s students before the end of the school year, or the district will have failed to uphold state law.
One of the main discussions among the board members dealt with the terms “may” or “will” with respect to a classroom teacher using tangible, medically-accurate equipment — or “props” — to teach the proper use of condoms. Also, there was some disagreement as to how early a condom demonstration should happen.
Board members Charlotte Joyce and Cindy Pearson said middle school was too early to teach students about proper condom use, while other members said information about safe sex should be introduced before.
Melissa Bernhardt’s children attend private school, but she was at Tuesday’s meeting representing County Citizens Defending Freedom, a Christian conservative political organization.
“I’m optimistic that the school is really focused on serving the community with age-appropriate content, and they’re still servicing all the students — so all-inclusive. I like that there are two different programs — one for the middle school, one for the high school. As a person of faith, maybe it’s not what I would want, but it does serve the community,” Bernhardt said.
Also at the meeting was Dr. Jennifer Cowart, an internal medicine specialist at Mayo Clinic. The physician said the pushback on this curriculum is not coming from the medical community.
“So the controversy is really, in my opinion, a very small number of folks, and the vast majority of parents just believe this is already happening in the school and do not believe this controversial, and in the medical community, it’s not controversial,” Cowart said.
The full grade level breakdown of the lesson plans under the district’s Proposal for Reproductive Health & Disease Prevention can be viewed below.
Lesson 1 - Changes During Puberty
Lesson 2 - Practicing Communication Skills
Lesson 3 - Family Relationships
Lesson 4 - Peer Relationships
Lesson 5 - Beginning to Date
Lesson 6 - Healthy and UnHealthy Dating Relationships
Lesson 7 - Abstinence and Saying No
Lesson 8 - Analyzing & Interpreting Media
Lesson 9 - Preventing and Coping with Abuse
Lesson 10 - Understanding and Setting Boundaries
Lesson 11 - Consequences and Concerns
Lesson 12 - Understanding and Setting Boundaries
Lesson 1 - Male Reproductive System
Lesson 2 - Female Reproductive System
Lesson 3 - Reproductive Basics
Lesson 4 - Signs and Symptoms of Pregnancy
Lesson 5 - Protect your Health: Sexuality Transmitted Diseases; HIV/AIDS
Lesson 6 - Consent
Lesson 7 - More Than Friends
Lesson 8 - Liking and Loving: Now and When I’m Older
Lesson 9 - Making SMART Choices
Lesson 10 - Health-Enhancing Skills
Lesson 11 - Being Smart; Staying Safe Online
Lesson 12 - Understanding Differences
Lesson 1 - Changes During the Teen Years & Your Changing Body
Lesson 2 - Your Relationships
Lesson 3 - The Female Reproductive System
Lesson 4 - The Male Reproductive System
Lesson 5 - Responsible Relationships
Lesson 6 - Diversity in Relationships
Lesson 7 - Family Life
Lesson 8 - Pregnancy and Childbirth
Lesson 9 - STDs and HIV/AIDS
Lesson 10 - Birth Control Basics
Lesson 11 - Using Condoms Effectively
Lesson 12 - Social Media Safety & Responsibility
Lesson 1 - Family Life & Structure, Healthy Children & Adolescents
Lesson 2 - Setting and Respecting Boundaries
Lesson 3 - Effective Communication
Lesson 4 - Healthy and Unhealthy Relationships
Lesson 5 - Consent & Safety
Lesson 6 - Sexuality, Sexual Orientation, and Gender Roles
Lesson 7 - STDs and HIV/AIDS Basics
Lesson 8 - Preventing STIs& HIV/AIDS
Lesson 9 - Unintended Pregnancy
Lesson 10 - Preventing Pregnancy
Lesson 11 - Media & Technology
Lesson 12 - Making Healthy Decisions & Skills for Healthy Living