January 22, 2016 — The Omaha Public Schools Board on Wednesday approved an update to elementary, middle and high school sexuality education standards, the AP/Sacramento Bee reports (AP/Sacramento Bee, 1/21).
The updates affect the district's curriculum on human growth and development. The new curriculum will include discussion of gender identity and gender roles beginning in sixth grade; discussion of sexual orientation and gender identity beginning in the seventh grade; and discussion of abortion and emergency contraception in a 10th-grade curriculum on birth control.
After several public discussions, the board on Monday removed standards referencing abortion and EC -- a decision which multiple school board members questioned. At the time, the board agreed to reassess the standards and possibly include them in the final proposal.
The school district affected by the curriculum changes includes 52,000 students. Parents can opt their children out from some or all of the classes that use the curriculum (Women's Health Policy Report, 1/14).
The board voted unanimously to approve the new standards for elementary and middle school sexuality education, and all but one board member voted in favor of the new high school sexuality education standards.
The changes are the first update to the curriculum in about 30 years. According to the AP/Bee, standards discussing abortion and emergency contraception were included in the final proposal. However, the curriculum retained language emphasizing abstinence as the best method for preventing pregnancy and sexually-transmitted infections. Lessons on social media, bullying and harassment also were added (AP/Sacramento Bee, 1/21).