In 2009, the North Carolina General Assembly passed the Healthy Youth Act which instructs schools to teach a more contraception-focused Comprehensive Sex Education program (CSE) to students in grades 7-9. (You can learn more about the bill and new curriculum here.)
CSE replaces the decade-old Abstinence Until Marriage Curriculum (AUM) which includes a few major changes worth pointing out:
1. CSE teaches students about the 18 FDA-approved methods of contraception including: condoms, diaphragms, surgical sterilization, and the abortifacient morning after pill.
2. In Grade 7 students will now learn how HIV is transmitted through IV drug use.
3. Grades 7-9 will learn definitions and examples of tolerance, prejudice and harassment and why tolerance is important within a diverse society.
4. Students in Grade 9 will learn the financial costs of teen pregnancies and be assigned as “teen parents.”
For parents concerned about what their students are being taught in sex ed there are a few options. First, parents can check out their school or county website which should list the new course objectives. For example, students attending public school in Buncombe County can look here for more information on the 5-day curriculum.
Parents should know that they can have their child removed from the sex ed instruction. Be on the look out for schools to send letters home to parents with the option to “remove your child from the sex education week.”
Parents can also look closely at what exactly health instructors will be teaching their children. You can find helpful information about the state-wide changes on the Wake County Public School’s site which includes a list of current and revised changes to the curriculum.
Even though a more contraception focused curriculum is set for the fall, parents still have many options for their student’s sex education. Be sure to stay informed and keep checking back here should more changes occur.