Gwinnett School District considers new sex education curriculum

One metro Atlanta school district has proposed curriculum changes that could alter what and how children learn about sex.
Published: Feb. 28, 2023 at 6:29 PM EST
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ATLANTA, Ga. (Atlanta News First) - One metro Atlanta school district has proposed curriculum changes that could alter what and how your child learns about sex. The Gwinnett County School District wants to update lesson plans, but there is some resistance. Holly Terei has children in the school district and is highly opposed to the idea.

“Based on what I’ve learned from this curriculum, this is not the best content. This is not something I want them exposed to,” Terei said.

The district is considering switching to a comprehensive sex education curriculum called Health Smart. Some of those parents have raised concerns about the new curriculum and its illustrations and lessons on gender identity and sexuality.

“I opt my children out of most of this type of curriculum, but I certainly don’t want them anywhere near comprehensive sex education,” Terei said.

The district has used abstinence centered Choosing the Best curriculum for sex education for 22 years. However, a teacher review committee recently submitted recommendations that the district move toward a more inclusive curriculum to better align with state standards.

“Choosing the Best was not aligned compared to other resources that have been submitted. It was not free of bias or inclusive of our current population of students that we’re providing instruction to,” Gwinnett County Director of Health and Physical Education Dr. Tasha Guadalupe said.

The new curriculum has garnered mixed reviews on the Board of Education which will most likely vote on the issue next month.

“Remember our student needs have changed over the past twenty years. We have a very different population that is reflected today,” Gwinnett County School Board Member Karen Watkins said.

Parents opposed to the new curriculum point to data which shows declines in teen pregnancy in the county during the past 20-years.

“It’s not for all the students, but I want to choose what’s best for my student,” Terei said.

Parents can opt their children of sex education courses at any time, according to the district. A scheduled vote on the changes is set for next month’s board of education meeting.

Gwinnett County Public Schools released the following statement:

“Parents have always had the right to have their student “skip” or “opt out” of the sex-ed portion of the district’s health curriculum and that is still true today. In addition, as was discussed during the February Gwinnett County Board of Education (BOE) work session, (which you can go back and view), GCPS formed a committee of teachers and principals that were charged with evaluating comprehensive health curriculum options to see which ones met the new state requirements and aligned with the district’s Academic Knowledge and Skills (AKS). Those teachers and principals, the experts, determined that Choosing the Best did not meet the state requirements for a more comprehensive health curriculum, nor did it align with GCPS’ AKS.

GCPS has always valued the opinion of parents and routinely seeks parental input on numerous school matters. The district also values the opinion of the experts, the teachers and principals, that have the knowledge, skill, and experience to evaluate and provide an opinion on what comprehensive health curriculum option is the best for GCPS students.

Both parents and teachers provide important and valued feedback which is used to make recommendations to the Gwinnett BOE. Ultimately the BOE will make the determination on how the district proceeds.”