We Need Better Sex Education
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Last night, the school board approved a new sex education curriculum to be used in the junior highs and high school.
On January 1, 2016, California put into effect new sexual education standards. The curriculum is now required to include, “discussions of sexual orientation, gender identity and sex trafficking, as well as information about contraception and HIV treatment.” Currently, the sex education program at Orcutt Academy does not address any of these topics. While California is making excellent strides with this bill, Orcutt Academy is falling behind. We need to upgrade our sexual education programs at Orcutt Academy. For this to happen, the Orcutt Union School District would need to decide to make it a factor in their charter review.
While it is expected that schools may take some time to completely catch up with these new requirements, Orcutt Academy has taken more time than others. Orcutt Academy’s Sexuality and Gender Acceptance Club members were upset by the news that our school is delaying the initiation of conversations of sexual orientation and gender identity. President Kelsey Namba and Vice President Derek Sportsman expressed their concerns to the board. Due to their efforts, Queer Education was on the school board’s agenda for the meeting on Wednesday, February 15th and the board has now voted to approve new curriculum. This is a positive step towards implementing these new topics.
Every charter school has to write their charter, which contain what their goals and assessments will be. Similar to public schools, charter schools do have to participate in state testing and stay in alignment with Common Core State Standards. However, if charter schools fail to meet their goals, there is less of a chance that they will lose their funds, or be taken over, due to the fact that there is less federal accountability. According to The Annenberg Institute for School Reform, “rapid expansion of the charter sector has left authorizers in many states woefully understaffed and unable to appropriately monitor the schools they have chartered.” While the design of a charter is meant to help foster a specific learning environment, it means that they can bypass, delay, or ignore some state standards, such as the ones outlined in the new sexual education bill.
Learning about contraception, HIV treatment, sex trafficking, and LGBTQ+ should be a requirement for every student. As Staci Tilley, Treasurer of the Sexuality and Gender Acceptance Club says, “Queer education offers insight to all students who are questioning their own sexuality and gender expressions. Being queer should no longer be such a taboo in society and including queer education into our health curriculum will solve this.”
Equally important to this is learning how to protect against sexually transmitted diseases, and not just by practicing abstinence. If the Orcutt Union School District progresses with implementing these discussions, they will be creating a more well rounded and better prepared student. Everyone at Orcutt Academy should put pressure on the District to make sure they follow through with the new sexual education.