New curriculum for sex education at DCPS to be voted on Tuesday

DUVAL COUNTY; Fla. – A vote is expected to happen on Tuesday night for how sexual education will be taught in Duval County Public Schools.

The original curriculum was tossed out because of concerns it didn’t meet new state laws.

State standards require schools to provide what’s considered a “supplemental curriculum” that covers health education. With no plan currently in place, this leaves DCPS with only five months to get lesson plans and materials vetted, approved and executed.

Back in September, a planned discussion of the material Duval County Public Schools uses to teach students about reproductive health was pulled from a school board meeting agenda.

The district had planned to discuss the approval of a slate of curriculum materials from third parties including HealthSmart, Draw the Line/Respect the Line, and Reducing the Risk.

“Instead of adopting materials from any publishing company, the district will create its own supplemental materials to meet educational requirements defined in Florida statutes,” the district’s communication team wrote in a blog post.

District leaders voted to revise lesson plans per grade instead of using pre-packaged teaching material from third parties.

This reevaluation of the curriculum is due to a 2021 revision to state law which requires each of Florida’s 67 school boards to annually approve all supplemental materials for sex ed.

Part of the new state law requires students be taught “the benefits of monogamous heterosexual marriage.”

One of the main discussions is how to use terms like “may” or “will” with respect to a classroom teacher using tangible medically accurate equipment or props to teach the proper use of condoms.

Board members could not agree on what was considered an appropriate grade level to show condom demonstrations.

The full grade level breakdown of the lesson plans under the district’s Proposal for Reproductive Health & Disease Prevention can be viewed below.

6th grade

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

7th grade

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

State education standards also require students get this supplemental curriculum before the end of the school year, meaning there would not be much time left to meet state law if the curriculum is not approved Tuesday night.

Tuesday night’s meeting is set to begin at 6 p.m.

About the Authors:

This native of the Big Apple joined the News4Jax team in July 2021.

Brie Isom joined the News4JAX team in January 2021 after spending three years covering news in South Bend, Indiana.