Duval County School Board reviews refurbished sex education curriculum after pulling materials midyear

Board will likely vote on new lesson plans during next board meeting

News4Jax | By Joe McLean | October 18, 2022

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to use — obtained through third-party companies HealthSmartDraw the Line/Respect the Line, and Reducing the Risk — was rescinded because of concerns they may not meet the requirements of new state law.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.

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

Lesson 9 – Making SMART Choices

Lesson 10 – Health-Enhancing Skills

Lesson 11 – Being Smart; Staying Safe Online

Lesson 12 – Understanding Differences

8th grade

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

9th-12th grades

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

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