The Austin Independent School District is planning on revising their Human Sexuality and Responsibility curriculum. AISD Director of Academics Kathy Ryan said the revisions are long overdue.
The elementary curriculum had not been revised in about 12 years.
“As you know times have changed and in 12 years a lot has happened in our culture and in our society and 12 years ago the national sexuality education standards weren't even fully developed yet so they are not incorporated into the current curriculum that we have,” Ryan said.
The district is hosting community meeting and requesting feedback through November. The district will be surveying parents about a variety of topics that will be taught to kids in grades 3rd to 8th grade.
Ryan said some of the objectives will be centered around healthy relationships and correctly identifying body parts by their medically accurate terminology as well as social media and positive body image.
Right now elementary kids have about five days of lessons while middle school kids have about ten. “There’s a lot that you can’t cover in that short amount of time so what we’re looking at revising the curriculum and pick out those key things that kids really need to know and make sure we are explicitly exposing them at a time when it’s age-appropriate and through lessons that are age appropriate,” said Ryan.
Based on state and local policy the district’s curriculum will still have a focus on abstinence.
“We want our students to remain abstinent that is the best, safest way to ensure that you don’t have teen pregnancy they are not transmitting any sexual diseases and or that you’re mentally healthy all the way through,” Ryan said. “We know that’s not what always happens so we want to also give our students the education they need the tools and skills to take care of their bodies and every lesson always or will always come back to abstinence as the first choice.”
Parents can opt out of one lesson or the entire curriculum.
The district plans to implement the revisions by May of 2020.
Next two meetings:
Tuesday, Nov. 13
Lanier Early College High School
1201 Payton Gin Road
Thursday, Nov. 15
Eastside Memorial Early College High School
1012 Arthur Stiles Road