Education

Cumberland school board to drop controversial sex ed program

Posted February 6, 2018 4:25 p.m. EST
Updated February 6, 2018 6:40 p.m. EST

Complaints stall Cumberland sex ed program

— A Cumberland County Board of Education committee voted Tuesday to scrap a sex education program on hold for months because of parent complaints.

The full board was expected to ratify the decision next week.

The 10-day "Get Real" program, which was developed by Planned Parenthood, is aimed at sixth-, seventh- and eighth-graders and is designed to reduce risky sexual behavior.

The program was supposed to start at nine Cumberland County middle schools in October when officials decided to delay it and review the curriculum in light of parental concerns. Parents had complained about some of the language and items used to teach the course, such as discussions on sexual preference and demonstrations of how to use a condom.

"One message we have for parents is that parents are the primary educator, and we ae the teacher assistant. We teach content and trust parents to teach the values and beliefs," Shirley Bolden, director of health services for Cumberland County Schools, said Tuesday.

Bolden said last fall that the Get Real curriculum had been modified to target students in the county and that sixth-graders needed parental permission to take the course, while parents of older students could opt them out of it.

The school district will go back to using a sex ed program it has used since 2009 and will increase parental involvement while adding specific scripts for teachers presenting the information.