Central Valley School District introducing new sexual education curriculum

SPOKANE VALLEY, Wash. — 2023 starts with an old controversy for the Central Valley School District in Spokane Valley.

At Monday night’s board meeting, the new sex-ed curriculum will be introduced to the public.

Teaching sex education at school sparked many controversial discussions among parents. The district now wants to update what’s being taught and keep parents in the loop.

The district says the new curriculum is about updating old information and educating students to be more aware of how to keep themselves safe.

“I think what was important to us [is] that our board is making sure that we came out in the transparent process,” Tim Nootenboom, associate superintendent for the Central Valley School District, said.

Nootenboom says this is for clear and effective communication with parents for the months to come.

“I’m most proud of our committee in the process of selecting the committee…we really looked at people who are very much against sexual health… very much forward… and some folks in the middle,” Nootenboom said.

Nootenboom says they are also reviewing the program together and figuring out how to teach sex-ed to students to students in grades 6-12.

“We do get into more condom use, STDs,” Nootenboom said. “We get into sexual violence and exploitation because that is certainly public safety issue for our youth today. So those are some of the key things that a list of things that are new to the curriculum.”

Parents will have an “opt-out” option if they or their students are uncomfortable with the new curriculum.

“We are talking about 5 different units of instructions over the course of K-12,” Laurie Dils, associate director of health and sexual health with the Washington Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction, said.

The district says the sexual health program needs to be updated, aligning with the requirements of “Comprehensive Sexual Health Education” which is law that was passed in the state of Washington in 2020.

“Comprehensive sex ed is [a] really good strategy [for] preventing sexual violence as well as reducing a number of sexual partners, reducing STDs, reducing unplanned pregnancy as well as just generally increasing health behaviors,” Dils said.

The district says the board will have a work session Monday night and update the board again with a written report in late January. They will then seek final approval in February.

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