Neenah School District reviews sexual education curriculum

The Neenah School District is voting on changes to their sexual education curriculum, November 30, 2017. (WLUK)

NEENAH (WLUK) -- The Neenah School District voted Thursday on what some consider controversial changes to its sexual education curriculum.

It has some concerned, while others say it's time to make a change.

It's been a decade since the Neenah School District updated its Human Growth and Development, or Sex Ed curriculum.

Curriculum Director Susan Hull told FOX 11 so much has changed in society over those ten years, the lesson plans need to keep up.

"One of the biggest changes, I would say, that's happened that's being updated is the infusion of technology," she explained.

The school board discussed and approved some of the new curriculum outline Thursday. It had already approved much of the curriculum at a previous meeting.

That's after 40 citizens spoke to the board, 30 of whom supported the changes, 10 of whom did not.

Areas of concern included the addition of teaching proper condom use in 8th grade and discussing gender identity.

"Really addressing and delineating between gender identity, gender expression, sexual orientation and biological sex," explained Hull.

One person who spoke out against the changes was Jim Dickson.

"Much of what's being taught, what's being proposed to be taught in the schools could be taught by the parents, could be taught through the parents," Dickson told FOX 11 News.

Dickson told us he's concerned that educators teaching about these subjects will lead students to make the wrong decisions for themselves.

"The schools can't teach right and wrong, or they don't teach right and wrong. They'll give you the facts and you decide," he said.

But Hull said this kind of education is necessary.

Neenah teaches an abstinence-first curriculum, with some discussion on contraceptives. However, the district recently polled high school students and 25% said they are sexually active.

"About 10% of those who reported this said that they don't use condoms and so it's a concern that we have that they would engage in that behavior and not protect themselves," Hull told us.

So, she said, that's why the updates, like teaching condom use, for example, are necessary.

What was decided on Thursday is an outline of the future curriculum. The district will go back and fill in all the details about what exactly will be taught and when. Then the school board will have to eventually discuss and vote on that again.

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