Richard Woods, State School Superintendent sent a message to Gwinnett County Public School Superintendent about the Sex Ed Curriculum after some parents expressed concerns.
Superintendent Woods sent the following.
Here is what we sent to the Gwinnett School System:
March 14, 2023
Superintendent Dr. Calvin Watts and Members of the Gwinnett County Board of Education:
Recently, Gwinnett County Public Schools (GCPS) announced that the district was exploring the option of adopting a new health education curriculum, including an embedded new sex education program.
In district communications with the public, it was stated that this move was designed to better align with the new Health Education standards adopted by the Georgia Department of Education (GaDOE). This public statement coupled with concerns expressed to me by local citizens encouraged the engagement of my office in this process.
I greatly appreciate the willingness of your school district to provide GaDOE with both your current sex education program and the proposed curriculum. Upon review, the following has been determined:
1. A comprehensive crosswalk has not been provided for all lessons/topics in the proposed curriculum aligned with the state-approved standards. Upon an initial review, there is content in the proposed curriculum that is not included in our state standards.
2. The proposed curriculum expands instruction within grades K-5. State law only requires age-appropriate sexual abuse and assault awareness and prevention in these grades. The proposed curriculum seems to go above this requirement, and it appears local public feedback does not support expansion into this grade band.
3. The proposed curriculum does contain content specifically labeled to CASEL standards, which are not recognized or adopted by the Georgia Department of Education or State Board of Education and are not part of the state- approved standards for health education in Georgia.
4. Regarding the instruction of sex education, Gwinnett’s current curriculum presents itself to be better aligned with the emphasis on abstinence in accordance with state standards and law, as well as State Board of Education board rule.
I understand that the Gwinnett County Board of Education is scheduled to discuss the proposed adoption at its board meeting on Thursday. I respectfully request that the board delay adoption to give the district time to ensure compliance in the proposed curriculum with state law, standards, and board rule.
I share your commitment to the health and wellness of our children. In that pursuit, it is essential that state standards and guidelines are adhered to and that public institutions are responsive to public feedback and input they receive. Overwhelming local input supports my call to pause and re-evaluate adoption. Simply stating “parents can always opt out” needlessly puts Gwinnett families and parents in a zero-sum situation.
I appreciate your attention to this matter and your support for the children and families of Gwinnett County.
Richard Woods, State School Superintendent
More Reasons Why Sex Education Is Important In Schools
Sex education is a crucial aspect of education that provides young people with the necessary knowledge, skills, and attitudes to make informed decisions about their sexual and reproductive health. Sex education in schools has been a topic of debate for many years, with some people arguing that it is unnecessary and inappropriate, while others believe that it is crucial for young people to learn about sexual health and relationships.
The importance of sex education in schools cannot be overstated. Firstly, it provides young people with accurate information about sexual health, including contraception, sexually transmitted infections (STIs), and pregnancy. This information is essential for young people to make informed decisions about their sexual behavior and to protect themselves from potential harm. Sex education can also help to dispel myths and misconceptions about sex and sexuality that may be perpetuated by peers or popular culture.
Secondly, sex education helps young people to develop the skills they need to form healthy relationships. Learning about communication, consent, and boundaries can help young people to build respectful and positive relationships with their peers, family members, and romantic partners. This is particularly important in a world where social media and technology can make it difficult for young people to navigate relationships and communication.
Thirdly, sex education can promote positive attitudes towards sex and sexuality. By teaching young people about the diversity of sexual orientations and gender identities, sex education can help to reduce stigma and discrimination towards LGBTQ+ individuals. This can create a more inclusive and accepting society for all people, regardless of their sexual orientation or gender identity.
Moreover, sex education can empower young people to make informed decisions about their sexual and reproductive health. By learning about the risks and benefits of different types of contraception, for example, young people can make decisions that are right for them and their partners. This can lead to better sexual and reproductive health outcomes and can help to prevent unintended pregnancies and STIs.
Finally, sex education can help to address gender inequality and promote gender equity. By teaching young people about the importance of respect, consent, and gender equality, sex education can help to challenge harmful gender stereotypes and promote more positive and equitable relationships between men and women. This is particularly important in a world where gender-based violence is a pervasive issue.
In conclusion, sex education is a vital component of education that can have a positive impact on young people’s sexual and reproductive health, relationships, attitudes towards sex and sexuality, and gender equity. By providing young people with accurate information, essential skills, and positive attitudes, sex education can help them to navigate the complex world of relationships and sexuality and make informed decisions that are right for them and their partners. It is therefore essential that sex education is included in school curriculums and taught in a comprehensive and age-appropriate manner.